The Donkey Sanctuary | Sidmouth | Best Devon Days Out 2022

The Donkey Sanctuary

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No trip to Devon is complete without visiting The Donkey Sanctuary. 

There’s a tranquil corner of the Jurassic Coast near Sidmouth that hundreds of friendly donkeys call home, and they’re all waiting to meet you. 

This free-to-visit, awardwining attraction has something special to offer, whether you’re looking for quality time with the kids, or somewhere calming to kick back with coffee and cake. 

Explore everything the sanctuary has to offer, from scenic walks and award-winning gardens, to a new play area, hedge maze and engaging exhibits. With activities, trails and talks there’s so much to explore with your own herd, whatever the weather. Friendly dogs on leads are welcome too! 

Take sanctuary in the Taste of the West award-winning restaurant and enjoy fresh, local, seasonal produce while soaking in the unparalleled coast and country views.  Or adopt your own donkey in the Gift Shop, where you’ll also find quality donkey design products on every shelf. What’s more, every penny of profit goes towards helping millions of donkeys and mules around the world.   

From humble beginnings as a UK rescue mission over 50 years ago, The Donkey Sanctuary has grown into the world’s largest equine welfare charities.  

Open 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Admission and parking is free, though donations are welcome to help many more donkeys with troubled pasts live a life of total sanctuary. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is it to get into the Donkey Sanctuary?

It is free admission to the Donkey Sanctuary but you can give a donation online

Are dogs allowed in the Donkey Sanctuary?

Dogs are welcome in the sanctuary but they must be kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are also welcome in The Kitchen restaurant but please keep them under your table and out of the walkway at all times

Is there a cafe in the Donkey Sanctuary?

The Kitchen is our award-winning restaurant open daily from 9am to 4pm serving breakfast from 9am to 11am and lunch from 11.30am to 3pm. Drinks, snacks and cakes are available all day every day. We offer the option of dining in the restaurant or you can purchase a takeaway to enjoy in the outdoor picnic areas

Tripadvisor Logo

Free to enter and free to park, with a lovely restaurant and countryside. Informative and relaxing with knowledgeable and helpful staff, plus a lot of fluffy sweet donkeys. There’s a play area for kids, a maze and activity trails to follow. There’s also a great walk down to the beach, although would be challenging on the way back for small children I think.


The sanctuary is beautiful – really well kept and a lovely place for the donkeys. There is a play area and maze as well as a cafe which serves good food and cake. A walk of a mile takes you down to a secluded beach from the sanctuary. Worth taking some durable shoes – we walked it with a buggy not realising and it was a bit tricky with the fences/steps down to the beach but thankfully had many hands. Lovely to do though and back to the cafe after for cake. There is a nice gift shop and as it is free to get in either buying sponsorship of a donkey or some bits in the gift shop for the kids is easy and helps them keep going. Very impressed and would return.


The Donkey Sanctuary might be the epitome of good animal care. I visited with family whilst on holiday, finding the sanctuary to be very lovely, the animals were well cared for, and the scenery was beautiful. Despite the hot weather, we have a great day out, and not enough praise can be heaped on the staff and volunteers for the amount of care they give to the donkeys and the facilities. One volunteer gave us the low-down on the type of care they give, the donkeys they take in, and the sanctuary’s lengthy history. The sanctuary also had a good restaurant with great food. By far, the highest praise has to be to the customer service, who provided a mobility scooter to one of my relatives, making the experience much more easier and enjoyable for him. In a slight con — the hedge maze was near-inescapable!


An amazing place that cares for donkeys, fun and free day out – donations to be made at visitors discretion. Good fun for all the family, really good facilities, it is such a large place! Lovely donkeys and staff. Would recommend, please sponsor a donkey!


How To Find Us

The nearest motorway to The Donkey Sanctuary is the M5 which serves the West Country. Leave Junction 30 at Exeter and follow the A3052 for 13 miles until you reach the sanctuary. The A35 and A30 also serve East Devon and the Jurassic Coast.

The car park includes ample coach parking to welcome groups, although group visits need to be booked in advance by calling: 01395 573156.

There are a number of disabled parking spaces to allow access for wheelchair users.

Local bus routes serving The Donkey Sanctuary include the 899 Axe Valley Mini Travel and the 9A Stagecoach (Exeter – Seaton).

The Sidmouth Hopper Bus also serves the sanctuary from 26 May to 2 September, excluding 3 – 10 August (Sidmouth Folk Week).

The Donkey Sanctuary is bike friendly and sits on Route 2 of the National Cycle Network. The route between Sidmouth and Lyme Regis passes Trow Farm on Dunscombe Lane. Continue on Dunscombe Lane, crossing over the roundabout, until you reach the sanctuary’s main visitor entrance.

The sanctuary is located along the South West Coast Path between Sidmouth and Branscombe. At Weston Mouth, follow the steps north towards the sanctuary where you will see the National Trust’s interpretation of the Weston Potato Plats. The footpath will take you past the Field of Dreams and the Nature Centre, towards the heart of the sanctuary.

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