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If you’re planning a family outing, consider visiting The Donkey Sanctuary in the charming coastal town of Sidmouth.

This family-friendly destination is a safe haven for hundreds of rescued donkeys and offers a fantastic option for a day out for kids, adults and friendly dogs on leads!

Keep reading to learn all about this award-winning charity and the variety of activities it has to offer…

Visitor Experience – What to expect

Image of a little child petting a Donkey at the sanctuary

Open year-round with free admission, The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth is set on a picturesque 100 acre-site and has something for everyone. Here’s a glimpse of what you can look forward to:

Meet the Residents: Discover the sanctuary, where friendly donkeys, mules, and miniature donkeys live in comfortable on-site accommodation. Get a close look at these amazing animals and learn about the charity’s commitment to their well-being.

Knowledgeable Staff Onsite: Why not talk to knowledgeable volunteers and staff, who are happy to answer any questions. They provide valuable insights into The Donkey Sanctuary’s mission and dedicated work involved in caring for the animals.

Family-Friendly Activities: The site has plenty on offer to keep the children entertained, from interactive play areas and mazes to an engaging exhibitor barn, offering numerous opportunities for both learning and fun.

On-Site Facilities: Enjoy a meal at the restaurant serving local foods, explore accessible paths for visitors with mobility issues, and don’t forget to pop into the gift shop.

How can you support The Donkey Sanctuary?

The Lyme Bay Holidays team participating in a volunteering day at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth

As a charity, The Donkey Sanctuary relies entirely on good-willed donations and legacy from the public. You can support them by visiting their support page.

Adopt a Donkey: Check out the Adopt a Donkey scheme. It’s a super popular and wonderful way to make a difference. Not only do you get to choose your very own Donkey to support, you’ll help cover the costs of their care and receive regular updates and photos of your resident Donkey.

Lyme Bay Holidays is proud to share the news of our latest initiative: the adoption of Drizzle, a charming donkey residing at the sanctuary in Sidmouth. During our recent visit, we had the opportunity to personally witness firsthand the positive impact of our contribution. We look forward to continuing our involvement and making a positive difference.

Volunteer Opportunities: The Donkey Sanctuary is always on the lookout for more enthusiastic helpers to assist with the daily donkey care, visitor services and educational programmes. Plus, you’ll get plenty of hands-on involvement with the Donkeys themselves.

The Lyme Bay Holidays team recently had the pleasure of participating in a volunteer day at the sanctuary. The day was filled with fulfilling moments, including cutting hazel branches for the donkey’s food, creating enriching activities, and enjoying some well-deserved grooming time with the donkeys.

Planning your Visit

An image of the barn at the Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth

Just a short drive from Sidmouth, The Donkey Sanctuary is easily accessible and offers plenty of parking. Whether you’re a local resident or visiting Devon for the first time, a trip to The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth is a must.

Opening Hours: The free to enter sanctuary is open from 9am – 5pm, with last entry to the car park at 4.30pm.


Getting to The Donkey Sanctuary

A map of the Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth, highlighting the key attractions and locations

By car, take the M5 and exit at Junction 30 in Exeter. Follow the A3052 for 13 miles to reach the sanctuary (Satnav: EX10 0NU). There is ample parking to accommodate over 800 cars on either stone chippings or grass, 14 disabled spaces and 2 free electric car charging points.

If you’re visiting by bus, you can use the 899 Axe Valley Mini Travel or Stagecoach 9A route between Exeter and Seaton.

For cyclists, The Donkey Sanctuary is on Route 2 of the National Cycle Network.

For those on foot, the Sanctuary is located along the South West Coast Path between Sidmouth and Branscombe.

For further inspiration in Devon, see the best family friendly days out in the area.

Are you planning to visit the Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth? Book a stay in one of these holiday cottages in Sidmouth and enjoy the stunning region of East Dorset.