The Donkey Sanctuary

Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU

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TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 3087 reviews3087 reviews

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  • The Donkey Sanctuary's Visitor Centre
  • Family enjoys meeting donkey
  • Poitou donkey bounds over to meet visitors at The Donkey Sanctuary
  • Family enjoys a delicious Devon cream tea at The Kitchen restaurant
  • Climb aboard a mobile unit, where teams travel to remote locations to help improve donkey welfare.
  • Meet lots of friendly donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary
  • Try on some theatre scrubs and lab coats in the Understanding Donkeys Zone - you'll really look the part!
  • Family enjoy scenic trails at The Donkey Sanctuary
  • Come and meet the friendly residents at The Donkey Sanctuary
  • Product Image
  • Experience blissful happiness at The Donkey Sanctuary
  • Enjoy freshly-prepared, seasonal dishes at The Kitchen restaurant.
  • The Donkey Sanctuary
  • The Donkey Sanctuary
  • The Donkey Sanctuary
  • The Donkey Sanctuary

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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

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

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

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Map & 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.  

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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.

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TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars
  • Certificate of Excellence 2019
  • Excellent
    2476
  • Very Good
    457
  • Average
    107
  • Poor
    30
  • Terrible
    18

Recent Reviews:

  • Cymryyncrwydro
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    A great charity
    5 of 5 stars
    11th July 2019
    This is surprisingly large housing a great number of donkeys. Suitable for families, it is easy to walk around to see all the groups and find out information about them. A good shop and large cafe... Read full review
  • Peter G
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    A wonderful place to visit
    5 of 5 stars
    15th July 2019
    My wife and I visited yesterday for the first time. What a truly wonderful place this is, the work that they do here to help donkeys all over the world is outstanding. The entry and car parking is... Read full review
  • Markleo12
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    Weekend Camping
    5 of 5 stars
    16th July 2019
    The Donkey Sanctuary is well worth a visit, and it's FREE. new restaurant and shop has been done really well. Read full review

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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