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Weymouth & Around
Every May some 600 free-flying swans choose to nest at this swannery, which shelters in the Fleet lagoon, protected by the ridge of Chesil Beach. It was founded by local monks about 600 years ago, and feathers from the Abbotsbury swans are still used in the helmets of the Gentlemen at Arms (the Queen's official bodyguard).
This is Dorset's must-see stately home. Looking every inch the setting for a period drama, it overflows with rich decor, most famously in the Spanish Room, which is smothered with gold and gilt. Other highlights are the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian Room and the elegant marble staircase and loggia.