We recently visited Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire. Its really well signed from the M4 and in the local area.
Longleat can be very expensive so its worth booking online to get it cheaper and looking out for offers. In the past we have used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to get in and this time we used the boys Blue Peter badges, but however you decide to pay for it you are guaranteed a full day worth of fun.
The all in one ticket is the best value as you can visit every single part of the estate using it with no extra charges.
As you enter the estate you pass by Longleat House which is one of the most impressive Elizabethan houses in England. It had a massive Lion sculpture in front of it when we visited which the boys were very impressed by.
You follow signs for the Safari Adventure and this takes you up to what is called the African Village. Here you park up and explore the first part of the safari park on foot. First you come to an area you can walk through with free roaming lemurs, there is also a walk through area with wallabies.
There are lots of shops and cafes in this area and an aerial walkway. There is also the giraffe and zebra viewing area. This includes a pier that you can walk along and you can feed the Giraffes from here, which we did and it was a great experience !! They have incredibly strong tongues and you really have to hold on tight !!
After you have seen everything in the African village, you then go back to your car to start the Drive Thru Safari. When you enter Longleat they give you a free CD to listen to in the car as you go through the Drive-thru area of the park giving you information about all the animals that you see.
The drive through part of the park takes you past lions, rhinos, cheetahs, tigers, wolves, flamingos, camels, vultures, and various other animals including the infamous Longleat monkeys. There is an option to avoid this area if you wish as they are well known for taking parts off peoples vehicles. We were very lucky but we saw them taking parking sensors and rubber trim off of other peoples cars. There is also an enclosure with deer which you can hand feed.
Once you have finished the drive thru part of the safari you come to the main car park where you park up and then head for the Jungle Kingdom. In this area you have walk through areas with monkeys, lorikeets, meerkats, skunks etc and you can see various other animals such as otters, porcupines, anteaters, coatis etc.
Behind this area is Stingray Bay which includes a walk through with penguins and a stingray touch pool.
Close by is the Batcave, which as you walk through it has free flying bats that fly around your head and you can see really close up.
There are lots of other farm and domestic animals in this area such as rabbit, chickens and guinea pigs and they often have parrot shows at various times during the day. There is also a green house with free flying butterflies which you pass through which gets you to the hands-on centre where you can hold snakes and spiders etc. This brings you out into the main store.
Whilst you are at this end of the park the gardens are worth a visit and the house too if you are interested.
There is a jungle cruise which is a boat which takes you along the lake to Gorilla Island where you can see a silverback and some lowland gorillas. You get a full commentary and in the lake itself you also have two hippos and a group of sea lions that you have the options to feed. I did it and I'd highly recommend it. The boys weren't so keen as you had to feed them sardines and they didn't like the smell of it !!
One of the things that impresses me about Longleat is just how close you can get to so many of the animals and there are so many feeding and walk through areas that its a really hands on experience.
In the adventure park there are lots of shops, cafes and restaurants and there are small ride on type activities for the children. This leads you towards the adventure playground fort which is a massive structure and has slides, scramble nets, roundabouts, trampolines, climbing frames etc. They also have an indoor soft play area and a splash park which are worth checking out.There is also a small railway which is worth a ride for younger visitors.
There is also a Deadly 60 attraction which is like a challenge where you have to answer questions and do different physical challenges to get to the end. I would recommend this for children aged about 4 and up rather than toddlers but it was very good.
Longleat also has a world famous maze. It is very challenging but one of the better mazes we have done.
Longleat is a full day out and needs that time in order to see all that it has to offer and we would highly recommend it to all ages.