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The Donkey Sanctuary

Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU

Tel: 01395 578222

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 2500 reviews2500 reviews
The Donkey Sanctuary


Blissful happiness at The Donkey Sanctuary

Located just 30 minutes from Exeter and nestled in the tranquil East Devon countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Donkey Sanctuary’s working farm is home to donkeys, mules and hinnies, large and small. At the heart of the sanctuary near Sidmouth, visitors can come and say hello to some of the hundreds of donkeys waiting to meet them - completely free of charge. The resident donkeys love to meet new people and their unique characters and stories are ready to be discovered.

Explore the sanctuary’s new indoor attractions including Visitor Centre, Understanding Donkeys Zone and Dr Svendsen’s Hut, and find out just why donkeys are so special. Embark on a fun, interactive journey into the far reaching work of The Donkey Sanctuary and the vital lifeline donkeys provide for communities around the world. Try on some theatre scrubs and lab coats in the Understanding Donkeys Zone; the place to learn everything about the sanctuary’s wonderful residents. No visit is complete without visiting Dr Svendsen’s Hut to learn the story of the sanctuary’s much-loved founder.

There are also guided walks, scenic trails, meet the groom sessions twice daily, the Nature Centre and a Maze to lose yourself in, as well as regular events held throughout the year and activities during school holidays.

When it’s time to take a well-earned break, relax in the sanctuary’s new family-friendly restaurant, The Kitchen, where you can enjoy local and ethically sourced food alongside spectacular views over the donkeys paddocks down to the sea. Hearty breakfasts, delicious lunches and tempting afternoon treats are served daily between 9am and 5pm*. And before heading home, don’t forget to pop into the new Gift Shop for a selection of quality gifts and donkey-design items to suit every pocket.

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded as a charity in 1969, by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE. They currently have an incredible 6,300 donkeys in their care worldwide. Admission and parking is free (donations welcome) and the sanctuary is open from 9am – dusk, 365 days a year. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead, and many of the farm trails are access and bike-friendly.

* 4pm from November to February.

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Donations WelcomeFree
Donations WelcomeFree

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.


  • Certificate of Excellence 2017

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

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Recent Reviews:

  • jodel2018
    Dorchester, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    An amazing place where donkeys are treated with care and respect.
    5 of 5 stars
    Tuesday, 20th March 2018
    This place is well worth visit.I think many of the staff are volunteers. All seemed to have smile on their faces and were helpful even when the queue for breakfast was very long! Food excellent, if... Read full review
  • James H
    Trip Type:
    Donkey heaven
    4 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 18th March 2018
    I had never been to the sanctuary before even though I'd driven past lots of times and had sponsored a donkey. Firstly, it's free and they do great work rescuing donkeys that have been malreated. We... Read full review
  • nbennett480
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Still a fantastic place to come
    4 of 5 stars
    Friday, 16th March 2018
    We have been coming here for the past 7 years. And have noticed that the sanctuary has made vast improvements. It is now a fantastic place to visit. The donkeys are well looked after, you can see... Read full review


Road Directions

The Sanctuary is situated just 30 minutes from the M5 Junction on the A3052 between Sidford and Seaton. On leaving Sidford follow the brown tourist sign at the top of the hill.

Public Transport Directions

Bus stops are located within easy walking distance for the following services: Axe Valley Mini Travel 899, Stagecoach 52a and the Coastlinx 53/54 Jurassic Coast. If you are on foot, access to the Sanctuary can be found via Weston Mouth on the South West Coast Path whilst cyclists will find us on National Cycle Network route 2.


Event Facilities

  • Free Entry

Key Features

  • In countryside
  • Outdoor Attraction


  • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
  • Ramp/Level Access
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors

Parking & Transport

  • Coach Parking
  • On site parking
  • Parking (free)


  • On-Site café/restaurant - Seating 200 inside, 40 outside.
  • Picnic Site

Payment Methods

  • American Express accepted
  • Delta accepted
  • Maestro accepted
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Solo accepted
  • Visa accepted

Establishment Features

  • Dog Friendly
  • Dogs Accepted - Dogs on leads welcome
  • On-site coach parking
  • On-site parking or valet parking
  • On-site Restaurant/Cafe
  • Picnic Area
  • Shop
  • Tea / Coffee Shop
  • Toilets

Specialist Features

  • Family Fun

Tours and Demonstrations

  • Demonstrations Given
  • Educational Visits Accepted
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups - Prior Bookings

Opening Times

Open Christmas
Open New Year
The Donkey Sanctuary (1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2018)
Monday - Sunday09:00 - 17:00*

* Open 9am - Dusk

Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change


  • Devon TourismDevon's Top Attractions Quality Stamp Devon's Top Attractions Quality Stamp 2017

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  • The Donkey Sanctuary's Visitor Centre

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Sunday, 27th May 2018 - Sunday, 27th May 2018

Spring Family Fun Day and Dog Show at The Donkey Sanctuary
more info

Friday, 23rd March 2018 - Sunday, 15th April 2018

Easter Holiday Hunt at The Donkey Sanctuary
more info

Sunday, 1st July 2018 - Sunday, 1st July 2018

The Donkey Sanctuary Car Show
more info

Saturday, 31st March 2018 - Saturday, 31st March 2018

Family enjoy Devon cream tea in donkey paddockTea in the Paddock
more info