Wiltshire certainly has a wild side, as it boasts a number of fascination wildlife parks and attractions that you and the whole family can enjoy.
The wildlife parks are great to visit all year round, no matter what the weather, so if you and your family are heading on a Wiltshire cottage holiday this year then here are some of the top parks and attractions you can visit during your stay.
Wild attractions and parks
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
One of the UK’s best and most iconic safari parks, Longleat is located in the heart of Wiltshire.
This safari drive through takes you closer to wild animals than ever before as you pass through a lion paddock, hunt down the resident wolf pack, see the enormity of the white rhino and elephant and get an up-close look at friendly deer and cheeky monkeys.
You can also feed giraffes and meet zebras as well as go on a jungle cruise on the lake to visit Gorilla Island, watch playful sea lions and hand feed lorikeets. If you want even more animal encounters then the bat cave and Ray Bay are well worth a visit too.
Children can spend hours exploring Longleat’s Adventure Castle as different areas of the playground have been designed for different age groups. There’s a giant ball pool, softball cannons, a splash pad, a lion heart castle and an interactive art wall to name just a few.
You can also explore the famous house and work your way through the hedge maze.
There’s just something spectacular about seeing stunning birds of prey spread their wings and glide through the air.
At Forest Falconry, near Landford in Wiltshire, you can explore 12 acres of woodland and meet 50 species of birds of prey, including eagles, owls, hawks and falcons. During your visit you will help train and fly these majestic birds.
Bush Farm Bison Centre
It is pretty special to see bison in the UK and at Bush Farm Bison Centre you can learn all about this mammoth animal and get within touching distance of them.
The farm is tucked away in the woods at the southern tip of West Knoyle, but it offers a great day out for you and the family as there are other animals like raccoons, elk, rhea, chipmunks, praire dogs and guanaco you can see.
There are lots of lakes on the site that you can walk to and a 30-acre ancient woodland you can explore as well as a museum room and a gallery. The gallery is full of Native American artefacts such as buffalo robes and paintings.
Opened in 1987 as a refuge for confiscated chimpanzees that were stolen from the wild, Monkey World now homes the largest group of chimpanzees outside of Africa with more than 250 primates of 20 different species living at the centre.
You can walk around the beautiful woodland and watch the primates playing in their families just like you would in the wild.
You will be blown away by the orangutan crèche, which is the only one in Europe and offers a home to orangutans from around the world.
The centre combines conservation with education as it runs half-hourly talks about man’s closest living relatives. There are also picnic sites, cafes and a large children’s play area boasting slides, swings and climbing frames.
If you want to see a traditional British farm with a twist, then Roves Farm is a must-visit.
The attraction is a great family day out offering you free tractor rides around the 166-hectare site, and a large variety of farm animals like sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, donkeys and Shetland ponies. You can also handle chicks, rabbits and guinea pigs in the pet’s corner.
The attraction is great to visit all-year round as it is home to indoor attractions like an indoor heated play barn and kids craft sessions as well as outdoor attractions like an outdoor play area, den building activities, walks and animal races.
Wild animals you can see in Wiltshire
Wiltshire has a rich diversity of habitats and as a result, you may come across a number of species during your stay in one of our rural Wiltshire holiday cottages.
There are a number of different birds that you can see across Wiltshire’s farmlands.
Common sightings include grey partridge, yellow wagtails, quails and tree sparrows, but if you decide to go for a walk in the evening you could see a barn owl on the lookout for some food.
If you are staying in Salisbury then the Salisbury Plains are home to a variety of birds including endangered species like the skylark, linnet and stone curlew.
According to the Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre butterfly fauna in the county is one of the richest in the UK as over 40 species of butterfly have been known to breed in Wiltshire.
There are even species that are only found in the county such as the silver-spotted skipper, silver-studded blue, grayling and pearl-bordered fritillary.
There is a large population of different mammals living in Wiltshire.
Some are seen all across the country as well-known mammals like hedgehogs, badgers, moles and foxes are commonly seen all over Wiltshire.
However, the county is also home to a number of protected mammals such as the dormouse and the brown hare.
There are even 13 different species of bats and they can be found at old working mines such as Box Mines.
If you are walking along Wiltshire’s rivers then keep your eye open for otters and water voles, while a stroll through a wooded area could see you come across roe and red deer and grey squirrel.