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Wiltshire brings the savannah to the UK at Longleat

Posted on 15th November 2013

Recognised as the UK’s number one safari park, Longleat combines history, animals and adventure in one thoroughly entertaining place.

Longleat is perhaps not somewhere to take the BMW, as its monkeys tend to be on the mischievous side, but if you do drive your vehicle through the park’s grounds you will find yourself in the midst of the savannah, with a whole host of amazing animals there to greet you. Get up close and personal with the lions and hand feed giraffes; a day out at Longleat Safari Park is surely one of the best of things to do in Wiltshire.

The animals

With over 500 animals across the Longleat grounds, there is so much to see here, which makes for a great day out for those enjoying stays at Wiltshire holiday cottages. As the world’s first safari park outside of Africa, Longleat first opened in 1966, going from strength to strength ever since with increasing popularity amongst adults and children alike.

There are over 100 species to discover at Longleat, and their Moneky ‘Drive-Thru’ has become famous through word of mouth and the three BBC TV series that have been filmed here: Animal Park, hosted by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle, as well as Roar and Andy’s Wild Adventures. Should you be a bit wary about your car, the park wouldn’t blame you, and has made a special bypass route for this reason. You can always show the kids why you’re taking the short cut by playing this video!

The park is not all monkey business, however – there are plenty of other animals to discover, from fearless vultures to shy deer. With flamingos, wolves, elephants and lions all calling Longleat home, you are bound to come across yours, or your child’s, favourite here.

Image Credit: Karl Watts (flickr.com)

Longleat House

Away from the wild fun, Longleat House is the stately home that sits at the heart of Longleat’s 9,000 acre estate and is set within parkland that was landscaped by Capability Brown. Making for an atmospheric contrast to the rest of the park, you may feel slightly puzzled stood outside its grand entrance with the roars and howls in the background.

Built in 1580 and residence of the 7th Marquess of Bath, Longleat House is home to the most extraordinary antiques and historic artefacts, such as a bloodstained silk waistcoat worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649.

Image Credit: Karl Watts (flickr.com)

Events

Christmas at Longleat is a magical time, when you can see tigers stroll across snow laden paths next to Father Christmas on the Santa Express – there is nothing else quite like it. Their real ice rink is a must during winter Wiltshire cottage holidays in the area, especially as children get to skate for free there during the morning. Pantomime characters stalk the grand house and the Christmas Fayre provides a welcome pit stop for warming food and drink.

New Year’s Eve also makes for an unforgettable experience; the whole family will be able to enjoy the dramatic firework display that is put on set to a lively soundtrack, with the imposing silhouette of Longleat House visible in the background.

Attractions

There are a number of great attractions at Longleat besides its wide range of animals, and many are suitable for all ages, so parents can join in the fun too.

The Postman Pat Village brings to life one of our favourite childhood characters, allowing you to stroll down the streets of Greendale and even to try being a postman yourself.

There are more than one hand feeding experiences available to the public at Longleat, including deer feeding at Deer Valley, Rainbow Lorikeets that will happily sit on your shoulder like you were a pirate, and the famed giraffe feeding, where the purpose built platform means you can get up close to your favourite long necked friend.

These are just a few of the great experiences to be had at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Should you want to find out more and start planning your next holiday to Wiltshire, visit the Longleat website by clicking here.

Image Credit: Karl Watts (flickr.com