The Donkey Sanctuary

Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU

Tel: 01395 578222

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 2923 reviews2923 reviews
Family enjoys meeting donkey

About

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, is The Donkey Sanctuary; an award-winning visitor attraction home to donkeys, mules and hinnies - large and small. At the heart of the sanctuary near Sidmouth, visitors can meet some of the hundreds of donkeys waiting to say hello - 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 and discover just why donkeys are so special through fun, interactive exhibits in the new Exhibition Barn, Understanding Donkeys Zone and Dr Svendsen’s Hut. Embark on an 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. And no visit is complete without visiting Dr Svendsen’s Hut to learn the story of the sanctuary’s much-loved founder.

Besides the residents, enjoy the scenic farm trails, get lost in the hedge maze, discover the Nature Centre and venture further afield to the South West Coast Path. During school holidays there are also activities to keep the family entertained, from Easter hunts to pumpkin carving, which are always a big hit with families and combine exercise, brainpower and fun. Plus there is a programme of things to do and see updated regularly with daily talks, demonstrations and tours provided by the visitor team. 

Enjoy stunning coast and country views from the Taste of the West award-winning restaurant, The Kitchen, where you’ll find freshly-prepared dishes using local, ethically sourced produce. Hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches and tempting afternoon treats are served daily from 9am. And for a souvenir to remember your day by, the new Gift Shop is the perfect place to a pick up quality donkey-design items or gifts.

The Donkey Sanctuary celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, after being founded as a charity in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE. It has grown from a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to an international animal welfare organisation transforming the lives of millions of donkeys and mules, and the people who depend on them for their livelihood. Admission and parking is free (donations welcome) and the sanctuary is open from 9am, 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.

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Donations WelcomeFree
Donations WelcomeFree

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

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor
  • Certificate of Excellence 2018

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

  • Excellent
    2340
  • Very Good
    440
  • Average
    100
  • Poor
    26
  • Terrible
    18

Recent Reviews:

  • Jamielills22
    Bournemouth, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    Happy donkeys looked after by dedicated volunteers
    5 of 5 stars
    Tuesday, 19th March 2019
    Lovely ladies on the front desk welcoming and informative. The donkeys had lots of space to choose from in the barn, paddock and field. They were totally free to go up to people to say hello or not... Read full review
  • John R
    Axminster, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    Save at least half a day for your visit.
    5 of 5 stars
    Tuesday, 19th March 2019
    The donkey sanctuary is a must visit place if you are in the area especially if you have children with you. The good work they do is well explained and you are free to roam around the sanctuary and... Read full review
  • tomatohunter
    Bridgwater, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Family
    I feel mean, but it’s not that fun
    3 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 20th March 2019
    I hate that I didn’t really enjoy this place as I have massive love for the charity aspect and how well intended this place is. It’s nicely done and well presented with a great nod to the founder... Read full review

Directions

Road Directions

The sanctuary is situated just 30 minutes from M5 Junction 30 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 9A (Exeter - Seaton). 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.

Facilities

Other

  • Gift Shop

Accessibility

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

Attraction Facilities

  • Shop
  • Tea Rooms

Catering

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

Children & Infants

  • Facilities for children

Establishment Features

  • Coach drop-off point
  • Conference facilities
  • Dog Friendly
  • Dogs Accepted - Dogs on leads welcome
  • Event venue
  • Event Venue
  • Free car parking
  • On-site coach parking
  • On-site parking or valet parking
  • On-site Restaurant/Cafe
  • Open All Year
  • Picnic Area
  • Shop
  • Tea / Coffee Shop
  • Toilets
  • Wedding Venue

Event Facilities

  • Free Entry

Key Features

  • Families
  • Groups
  • In countryside
  • Outdoor Attraction
  • Weddings

Parking & Transport

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

Payment Methods

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Delta accepted
  • Maestro accepted
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Solo accepted
  • Special group rates
  • Visa accepted

Specialist Features

  • Family Fun
  • Marketed towards families

Tours and Demonstrations

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

Travel & Trade

  • Group discounts available
  • Wi-fi available

Venue Facilities

  • Groups Accepted

Opening Times

Open Christmas
Open New Year
The Donkey Sanctuary (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday09:00 - 17:00*

* Open 9am - 5pm March - October and 9am - 4pm November - February.
The Kitchen restaurant, Visitor Centre and Gift Shop are closed Christmas Day, but the sanctuary remains open.

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

Awards

  • Visit EnglandQuality Assured Visitor Attraction Quality Assured Visitor Attraction 2019
  • Regional and MiscellaneousVisit Devon Awards – Gold – 2018 Visit Devon Awards – Gold – 2018 2018
  • Regional and MiscellaneousSouth West Tourism Excellence Award 2018- 2019 – Bronze South West Tourism Excellence Award 2018- 2019 – Bronze 2019
  • Regional and MiscellaneousPrimary Times Family (Half Day) Attraction Winner – Devon – 2018 Primary Times Family (Half Day) Attraction Winner – Devon – 2018 2018
  • TripAdvisor AwardsTripAdvisor Certification of Excellence – Hall of Fame – 2018 TripAdvisor Certification of Excellence – Hall of Fame – 2018 2018
  • Regional and MiscellaneousMuddy Stilettos – Winner – 2018 Muddy Stilettos – Winner – 2018 2018
  • Regional and MiscellaneousTaste of the West – Gold – 2018/2019 Taste of the West – Gold – 2018/2019 2018
  • Devon TourismDevon's Top Attractions Quality Stamp 2019 Devon's Top Attractions Quality Stamp 2019 2019

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  • The Donkey Sanctuary's Visitor Centre

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