The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth

The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, Devon, UK
The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, Devon, UK

The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth was founded in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE. She dedicated her life to champion donkeys, and it is through her devotion that the Sanctuary grew to be the international charity it is today.

Over the last 45 years, they have made a difference to the lives of donkeys all over the world. This is down to the drive and belief of their Founder and all of their supporters.

There are 500 donkeys, mules and hinnies at Sidmouth in various barns and field enclosures. They hold twice-daily Meet the Groom sessions, when you can here all the latest stories.

Beside the donkeys, the sanctuary also has an outdoor farm-themed play area with vintage red tractor and a Maze opposite the sanctuary. 

The sanctuary’s Hayloft Restaurant serves freshly-prepared meals daily from 9am, including hearty breakfasts, delicious lunches and Devonshire cream tea. The Visitors’ Centre and Gift Shop is open every day from 9am.

The sanctuary also offers a registered wedding venue if you fancy getting married somewhere different.

There are several walks leading out from the centre of the Sanctuary, one of which takes you down to a little beach. There are many more donkeys to be found than those in the heart of the Sanctuary. You may also find our Nature Centre, the Field of Dreams, or head down into the mystical Hermitage Woods.

The sanctuary is open 365 days a year from 9am until dusk. Admission and parking are free.

We spent a very enjoyable day here exploring the sanctuary and following the walk to Weston Mouth. Dogs are welcome, and there is ample parking. Definitely recommend this for a day out.