Lots of animals, plus a big house and attractions to visit, we’ve found Longleat a great day out.
We visited Longleat Safari & Adventure Park whilst staying at Botany Camping, which is just around the corner from one of the park’s entrances (plus, you can save 30% on entrance tickets if you stay at Botany Camping).
Longleat Safari & Adventure Park was packed full of things to do – too much for us to fit into one day – but we covered as much as we could to bring you this guide.
It is actually split into two: Longleat Adventure Park and Longleat Safari Park.
When you arrive you can either park up for the Longleat Adventure Park or carry on driving to the Safari Park. Last entry for Safari Park is at 5 pm.
Longleat Adventure Park
The Longleat Adventure Park is a day out all by itself. In fact, with good weather, this is probably a two-day visit, allowing plenty of times for picnic and exploring the house.
In addition to many picnic spots, there’s plenty of places to eat and get refreshments (we liked the stone-baked pizza in Pizza Plazza).
Here are some of the things you’ll find in Longleat Adventure Park.
Hunters of the Sky
This is an amazing show containing many different types of birds of prey and a must-see. We’ve seen lots of birds-of-prey shows, but this one was excellent.
They encourage the birds to fly over you, and they fly very low, and they don’t just use the arena: they come into the stands to fly the birds.
Each act was pretty amazing, but at the end of the show they released nearly all the birds together, and this is a sight that must be seen: lots of giant birds flying around above your head.
We all voted this as the best show.
This show is actually run by the Hawk Conservancy Trust, and they certainly know their stuff.
Rockin Rhino is a new ride at Longleat Adventure and Safari Park. It opened just a few hours before we went on and still smelt of wet paint!
A gentle ride for kids, but small children will need accompanying.
You may be one of the lucky ones and find the centre quickly, but there’s a high chance you’ll be like most people and go around and around, never quite finding the right route.
This maze is massive. If you don’t have a lot of time then you might want to miss this, as once you’re in, you may not come out for some time 😉
This wasn’t open when we visited.
It’s essentially a small field with deer, where you can buy food to feed them.
The Adventure Castle is a massive adventure play park. It’s an excellent place for a picnic and let kids burn off some energy.
There are lots of towers, slides, bridges, and also a few different things that you don’t often see in play parks.
Not all equipment is suitable for all ages, so Longleat has labelled items with different animals. You may need to tell your child that they can only go on things that have a ‘monkey’ sign for example.
Don’t underestimate the size of this place. It’s a massive area enclosed by a large wooden wall – about the size of a real walled castle.
This was a new ‘Steve Backshall‘ activity, based on the great Deadly 60 programmes, but probably for copyright/licensing reasons, they’ve slightly modified the logo (the 6 has been changed in the skull), and just called it ‘Deadly’….but branding aside, this is an interactive Deadly 60 game. Deadly 60 has been great at getting kids interested in the wildlife, so good to see it here.
You can play the Deadly Challenge as a family team or individually. (We chose the family option).
There are challenges that Steve Backshall sets you, where you have to find different animals in different zones, such as the agility or venom zone. The animals aren’t real; instead, you swipe a barcode at kiosks scattered around the challenge area. There may be additional tasks that Steve sets you, such as climbing a wall or moving quickly through a large spider web.
The game is played under a time limit. With the zones scattered around a wide area on the side of the hill, it’s not easy to get all 10 challenges completed.
We started off at a leisurely pace but ended up rushing as the time started to run out.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get top marks but were very pleased with our score. 😀
Postman Pat Village
The Postman Pat village is aimed at the younger visitor, and at times of the day, Pat comes walking around for photographs.
There are a little mini-village and activities for little ones to explore and do.
This is the animal handling area and also where you can find the parrot show.
You’ll find a mix of animals here, from rabbits to creepy crawlies – some of which your kids can hold!
The Monkey Temple
This area is just off the Animal Adventure, and you’ll find some little monkeys here. Some are in the trees as you walk around. It’s great to see them without the normal bars or glass in the way.
This is another new attraction, where you can walk through the penguin enclosure and get up and close to them.
There’s both an indoor and outdoor part to this.
Stingray Bay is right next to Penguin Island, where there’s a large pool of stingrays.
Some of them come up to the surface to say ‘hello’. You can gently touch a stingray if one comes up close to you.
As with the other Animal Kingdom area, this is a place you can walk around and see ‘jungle’ animal exhibits.
The Jungle Express is a miniature railway, and quite an impressive railway too.
It runs by the large lake at Longleat, where you can see sea lions, and even runs over the top of a small waterfall.
The lake at Longleat I suppose reflects animal exhibits of the past, where animals were grouped together in order to show them rather than in a more natural habitat, but that doesn’t detract from the Jungle Cruise, and it’s well worth doing, even if the queues can get quite long.
You take a cruise out to Gorilla island, where there’s a solitary gorilla who’s in his 50s.
He doesn’t like people coming past his island to look at him, but you should still be able to see him.
There are also hippos in the lake. These are one of the world’s most dangerous animals, but they’re in the water where you’re cruising around.
Along the far shore of the lake is a more modern gorilla enclosure, where you can see a number of gorillas living together.
The lake also has Sea Lions. Yes, sea lions in a freshwater lake!
They swim alongside your boat, which stops to feed them. This is very impressive, and you may even get splashed as the sea lions jump to catch their food.
Near the queue for the Jungle Cruise are a number of gardens.
We didn’t have time to explore them, but they look a great place to have a picnic and watch the lake.
House & Attractions Around the House
Near Longleat House were a number of attractions, and you could also visit the house itself.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit it into a single day, but here’s what’s in that area of the Longleat House.
- Motion Simulator
- Bat Cave
- King Arthur’s Mirror Maze
- Meet my Ancestors
- Longleat House
Show and Feeding Times
These showtimes may change, but this was what was on when we visited.
- Hunters of the Sky Shows: 12 noon, 2 pm, 4 pm
- Parrot Shows: 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, & 4pm
- Penguin Feeding: 2 pm
- Lorikeet Monkey Feeding: all-day
- Sea Lion Feeding: every Jungle Cruise
- Post-Man Pat walking around: 11:15 am, 12:15 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:45 pm
- House Tours: 10 am – 11:45 am. House is open for a free walk around from 12 noon.
Our top three must-see
As mentioned before, we didn’t get to see everything in one day, but form what we did see, here are our top 3 things to see in Longleat Adventure Park.
- Hunters of the Sky
- Jungle Cruise
- Deadly Challenge
Longleat Safari Park
The entrance of Longleat Safari Park is quite some distance from the Longleat Adventure Park.
You drive down country lanes, and at one point, we thought we must have taken a wrong turn. Keep going, and you’ll get to the safari park entrance.
If you’re planning on visiting the Safari Park at the end of the day, the last entrance is at 5 pm, so allow yourself a good 5 or 10 minutes to get there.
You will be provided with a CD to play when you enter the safari park. Play this CD as you go around the safari park, and Steve Backshall will tell you all about the animals.
We thought this a nice touch, as you get to learn something as you see the animals, and don’t have to look out for the occasional sign to see what you’re looking at.
The first port of call when you get into the Safari Park is the African Village. You can park here and get out to look at the Giraffes and Zebras from a large viewing platform.
It’s here that you can feed the giraffes (feeding times were 10:30 am and 2 pm).
Whilst in the African Village, pop over to the Deadly Safari start.
Just like the Deadly Challenge in Longleaf Adventure Park, this is a Deadly 60 themed activity.
Hidden in the animal enclosures are some small signs, each with a picture of an animal. Your kids have to spot the sign and note the animal in an activity book (Kids? We all did it!). Each animal corresponds to a letter and you have to spell out a hidden phrase.
Whilst not as interactive as the Deadly Challenge game, it does give little people something to spot if you enter an enclosure when the animals are having their siesta.
There are lots of animals in the park. Here’s some of what you’ll see:
- Ibis & Spoonbill
- Ostrich & Camels
- Red & Fallow Deer
- An Elephant – though she was inside when we want past 🙁
- Canadian Timberwolves
Monkey Drive Thru
Despite my better judgement, we drove through the Monkey enclosure.
There are warning signs telling you that the monkeys WILL break something on your car. Fortunately, you can easily by-pass the monkey enclosure.
We saw monkeys on the car in front destroy their car ariel, so we drove around trying to avoid stopping, hoping they wouldn’t land on our car.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t work. The monkeys have no fear of leaping from one car to another, even when they’re moving. You eventually get to a place where cars are queuing as they wait to get the monkeys removed before leaving the enclosure, so you end up stationary anyway and, well, mobbed.
First to go on our car was the rear washer nozzle. This little monkey, with little monkey hands, just pulled it off with ease.
Despite the anxiety over “what are they doing now?” when you heard a bang on the roof of the car, and thoughts of “I did lock the roof box, didn’t I?“, it was actually quite fun, and the kids really thought it was funny with all these monkeys jumping and climbing over our car.
Compared to other visitors, we got off lightly.
Our daughter found the washer nozzle still on the roof of our car when we had returned to the campsite. It was chewed, but easily reattached and still works.
The car ariel has bite marks on it, but it’s fine otherwise.
We’re frequent visitors to the West Midlands Safari Park, where there’s an impressive collection of tigers, but all of the tigers there are kept away from your car with additional fences. Understandable. Tigers are extremely strong predators.
However, at Longleat Safari Park, tigers walk right by your car!
Keepers are on hand with a watchful eye, but after years of only driving past fenced-off tigers, it was great to see them wandering around so close.
Lions, lots of Lions
Longleat is famous for its lions, and it has two prides in separate enclosures.
Sometimes you can drive through a lion enclosure and all they’re doing is sleeping. We were lucky. They were quite active when we visited.
The lions weren’t bothered by the cars, running in between them whilst they were play-fighting.
A big male lion emerged from the woods to keep an eye on what was going on.
It was quite surreal seeing lions running around in British woodland, and unnerving that they felt quite at home there, and camouflaged well too (hmm, maybe there is something to the big cat stories).
When the big male emerged from the woods, it was as if we were in Narnia!
The Jungle Cruise is not accessible to pushchairs. Pushchairs can be left on the boarding platform.
Please note that only service dogs are allowed at Longleat, but even service dogs are prohibited from animal areas, such as the Safari Park.
Unsupervised kennels are available.
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