Longleat was high on our family’s wish-list so we were delighted to be invited to the safari park and estate so we could share our Longleat review and tips here.
In this article we share what you can expect to find at Longleat, different ways you can visit the safari park, plus our top tips and money saving ideas for visiting as a family.
WHAT TO DO AT LONGLEAT?
Longleat Estate includes an impressive stately home, a large Safari Park and various other attractions. We started with a walking safari which gave us all some fresh air after the journey.
SAFARI ON FOOT
Our first port of call was the East African Reserve where you leave the car and get up close to the animals.
The giraffes were very friendly!
And the tortoises gigantic!
We walked inside the lemurs’ enclosure and enjoyed their acrobatic antics.
They looked adorable and sensible, snuggling up to keep warm …
… unlike my boys who were coat-less, even in January. Brrrrrr!
This section is great for toddlers as they get a clear view of the animals – the lemurs seemed fascinated by our children too!
After a journey, we thought the walking section was a great way for children to get outside and let off steam.
SAFARI BY CAR
As we drove in we were given a CD guide – a new feature for me and we thought it was an excellent idea.
Audible alerts remind you when to switch the guide on and off.
The monkey enclosure was one of our day’s highlights. Warnings describe how to bypass this section and avoid potential damage to your car – but wouldn’t that be like going to a football match and not watching the goals?
We felt somewhat smug as my husband had remembered to remove our aerial!
It’s fascinating to see what damage the animals wreak on other people’s vehicles – until you realise there are blind spots on your own car!
I thought we came out unscathed….
…not for lack of trying on this little fellow’s part.
Turns out the monkeys were the winning team though, as I did spot some minor damage to the back of the car after we were home!
Maybe we were lucky, but we benefited from great views, with some animals just feet from our car.
That’s close enough fellas!!
The wolf really did look like he’d make a lovely pet – OK not my best idea . . .
. . Moving swiftly on to the majestic big cats.
Despite constant reminders to keep windows and doors shut, the zoo keepers seemed blasé as they ushered a couple of leopards away from the exit.
Of course they were well armed – with a stick!
Brave? Experienced? Or just slightly bonkers?
And of course Longleat wouldn’t be Longleat without the lions – and they didn’t disappoint.
SAFARI BY BOAT
After the car safari, we decided to explore by boat.
We got a glimpse of the gorilla colony. . .
. . .and a chance to feed the friendly and apparently permanently hungry sea-lions – another major highlight of the day.
It cost £1 for a pot of fish and I consider this money very well spent. The sea-lions followed us alongside the boat, barking and jumping for the fish.
We didn’t see the hippos, but we were assured they were there.
LONGLEAT INDOOR ZOO
After the boat trip we rapidly admired more animals and then dashed into the heated butterfly enclosure to defrost!
The butterflies were feeding so we had a great close-up view.
At the handling area I was hoping for some fluffy bunnies or maybe a guinea pig, but the boys were delighted to get their hands on a big snake.
I blame this trait on my husband because they definitely DO NOT get that from me!
LONGLEAT BY TRAIN
A pleasant trundle in a miniature train offered a different perspective of parts of the estate.
CHRISTMAS AT LONGLEAT
As we visited to do our Longleat review in early January, the Christmas theme was still in place and how impressive it was . . .
Our family voted Longleat a fabulous, fun-packed day out and we would thoroughly recommend it!
We’ve shared our thoughts and a few tips below, based on our visit.
TIPS FOR VISITING LONGLEAT
There is so much to see and do at Longleat we struggled to fit everything into one short day. There’s a large play area and the maze is great fun and challenging, but some attractions closed by about 4pm so we couldn’t take advantage of them. If like us you’re visiting in Winter, an early start is advisable.
BUT NOT TOO EARLY
If your children are very young, you may find the safari animals are too distant to be of great interest. A city farm may be a cheaper (or free) and more attractive alternative
My photographs were taken using a Canon Powershot SX200, which I’ve been very pleased with over the last couple of years, but during the car safari I really hankered after a longer lens. If you have one, remember to pack it!
The journey from Portishead to Warminster involves winding roads. In our case this resulted in a car sick child. If this is likely to be a problem for you, you might like to learn from our mistake and take the longer, more comfortable, motorway route.
COST VS VALUE
Christmas entry for a family of 5 not cheap but we felt it compared well to other attractions and was worth the ticket price. Everything was included except optional extras like animal feeding, ice-skating and our travel and food. After entry costs, we only spent £1 feeding the sea-lions at the attraction.
MONEY SAVING TIPS
We came prepared with lunch which we ate during the car safari and this worked perfectly.
Deals on the entrance price are often available if you do your homework. At the time of writing, their website is currently offering up to 15% discount for on-line bookings. Check out Longleat’s website for current prices.
If you’ve enjoyed our Longleat review, you may like to read about Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, just outside Bristol.
DISCLOSURE: We received a 2+2 family ticket for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our own.