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About Minsmere

Little tern on nest, Yarmouth

Image: Chris Gomersall

There's so much to see and hear at Minsmere: splendid woodland, wetland and coastal scenery, rare birds breeding and calling in on their migrations, shy wildlife like otters, the booming call of bitterns in spring, beautiful bugs and colourful wild flowers in summer.

Whenever you visit, you'll find plenty to enjoy. Choose an idyllic walk or head to the coastal lagoons to see and impressive variety of birds. Be sure to keep an eye on the reedbeds too. Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of a shy otter?

Stop to chat to our friendly staff and volunteers. They're here to help you. Find out more in our visitor centre, treat yourself in the RSPB shop or enjoy a meal cooked using local Suffolk produce in the café. There's an exciting Discovery Centre and Wild Zone for families, and guided walks throughout the year.

Opening times

The car park, hides and countryside walks are open from dawn to dusk every day, except 25 and 26 December.

The visitor centre and shop are open daily 9 am-5 pm from February-October, and 9 am-4 pm between November-January. The café is open 9.30 am-4.45 pm from February-October, and 10 am-3.30 pm from November-January.

Entrance charges

Entry to the visitor centre is free for all. To visit the countryside walks, Wild Zone and hides is free for RSPB members and RSPB Wildlife Explorers. Non-member adults £9, children (under 19) £5, Under 5s free, students £6, family offer: one child free with two paying adults.

If you are new to birdwatching...

Our volunteer guides are often on hand to help visitors to spot some of Minsmere's special wildlife. The birdwatching hides provide excellent opportunities to see wildlife at close range throughout the year. There are guided walks available throughout the year.

Information for families

Bring the family and discover nature together in our Wild Zone and Wild Wood Adventure area. The Wild Zone has many fun activities including a play tree and the chance to be a bittern or a sand martin in our child-sized nests. In the Wild Wood, you can build a den or look for minibeasts. Don’t forget the Wildlife Lookout either, where you can see some of Minsmere’s special birds. Drop in at the Nature Discover Centre to take part in family-friendly activities, or enjoy one of our many self-guided activities. You can even hire a Wildlife Explorer backpack with binoculars, bug box, spotter guides and more. Need sustenance or a rest? Our child-friendly cafe can oblige!

Information for dog owners

We are sorry, but no dogs are allowed on the nature trails or in hides, except assistance dogs. There are a limited number of shaded car parking places available for dog owners on a first come, first served basis - please ask at reception on arrival. Dogs are allowed around the visitor centre and car park only. Dogs cannot be taken on guided walks. Dogs are, however, welcome on public rights of way that cross the reserve, including a 5 mile circuit around the reserve perimeter, but these are not accessible from the main car park. Dogs are also welcome on Open Access land on Westleton Heath, if kept on a lead.

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.24746,1.61705
  • Postcode: IP17 3BY
  • Grid reference: TM473672
  • Nearest town: Saxmundham, Suffolk
  • County: Suffolk
  • Country: England

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School visits