We had a last minute trip to Longleat Safari Park and it definitely was worth getting up early for the long drive.
As it was the summer holidays we did expect queues, and it was very busy but due to the size of the attraction the cars are spread out throughout the safari and you can stop off at the African Village at the start to feed the Giraffes at an extra cost of £2.
At the African village there was also a high bridge walkway which was a fun adventure and gave fantastic views over the grounds where the zebras and giraffes are located.
We loved walking through the Lemur Walkway, where the lemurs are running around your feet.
This is the last toilet stop before you embark on the Safari. There is also a café, shop, wallaby walk way, goats and warthogs to see.
If you choose not to drive your car around the safari, you can ride in a double decker bus. There is a £5 charge per person for this. We wanted to have the experience in our own car and I am glad we did. You have a much better perspective and allows you to experience the safari at your own pace.
On entrance to the Safari you are given a map and a CD to play as a guide in your car which was a really good idea as it gives you a commentary as you drive around the safari.
The safari starts driving through the enclosure that houses the Giraffes and the zebras who were very excited because it was feeding time!
The zebras and giraffes can be seen better from the vantage points of the African Village but it’s a good photo opportunity driving past in the car.
Now the safari had started the girls were so excited being this close to the animals.
We next drove past the vultures in the trees, Tapirs and Bongo pass. There is a beautiful pink haze of Flamingos before you can make the daring choice whether or not to enter the Monkey Drive Thru.
We decided to bypass the monkeys but could see them from a distance jumping all over the cars, pulling off aerials, wiper blades and sensors! So I think this was a wise choice.
Unfortunately Anne the elephant was inside her enclosure and could not be seen from the car.
The Big Game Park was superb being so close to Rhinos, Camels and Ankole cattle.
The Deer Park gave you an amazing opportunity to get up close to these wonderful animals. You could purchase a cup of food for £2 and the deer would come up to the window and feed.
This was a funny experience and we were laughing at how close they came putting their heads inside the car window! They gave my husband a fright when a deer starting licking his arm when he wasn’t aware and the girls thought this was so funny! It’s these kind of moments that makes these family trips so memorable.
Windows up for the next bit, you are entering the Big Cats!
Tiger Territory was amazing; the tiger came up to the car door! Not scary but a wonderful opportunity to see such wonderful animals as close as you could possibly get to in the UK!
My little girl couldn’t believe that they would come so close to the car, we had to reassure her at first that the doors and windows are locked but after those initial worries she had such a wonderful time experiencing this part of the safari.
The Lion Country was a similar experience. The Lions roam the green pastures of Longleat and at times come so close to your car. As we drove around this part of the safari, the girls spotted the male lion, the King of the Jungle himself surrounded by his pride.
The end of the safari is the mighty Cheetah sitting proudly in his enclosure. We could only find one of the grey wolves who was hiding in the trees.
After the Safari we drove around to park in the main car park beside main square at the entrance to Longleat.
There was a new exhibition that had just opened two days previously in The Longhouse at Longleat.
To celebrate 50 years of opening, there is an augmented reality where they superimpose animals over you.
It is worth the visit especially if you are lucky enough to have no queues as its a fun experience where the children can interact with giant polar bears, snakes and whales on screen!
It only lasts a few minutes and there is an opportunity to view a wooden lion which is used in the African parade which is part of ‘An African Summer’ event which is currently on at Longleat.
The lion is made by the company who made the props for the Stage production War Horse.
There is a great Adventure Playground for the children, with so many things to do housed within a giant wooden fort.
Hidden in the back is a splash area so on a warm day remember to bring your swimwear. There is a indoor soft play for little ones and also picnic area and kiosks.
The girls loved this part of Longleat, exploring the giant castle and going down the slides! It was difficult to convince them to leave this part of the park so we could see the rest of Longleat.
The girls loved the Rockin Rhino ride. It is the same ride as George the Dinosaur they have in Paulton’s Park but with no queue.
We really enjoyed the Jungle Cruise and the chance to feed the Sea Lions.
You could buy fish on board for a £1 to feed the sea lions that were chasing the boat. My daughter had so much fun feeding them.
The main reason for getting on the jungle cruise though was to view Nico the famous silverback gorilla who lives in his own house on the island. He is Europe’s oldest silverback gorilla at 55years old. We were told by the guide that he has satellite television in his house on the island!
Luckily we had a great view of the gorillas and the hippos.
After the jungle cruise we visited Animal Adventure where you see rabbits, goats and parrots.
You could also have the opportunity to hold a snake or spiders, but the girls gave this opportunity a miss and viewed from a distance.
We enjoyed the butterfly house where you walk through the attraction as butterflies fly around you and land on you if you are lucky. We skipped the bat cave during our visit, I think they girls had enough of bats during our recent visit to Chester Zoo.
We then walked through the monkey temple but we missed the penguin island and stingray bay. As time was getting on we decided that we will visit this and the jungle express train during our next visit to Longleat.
We enjoyed a lovely sit down lunch of pizza and wedges in the Pizza Piazza which was of good quality.
There is a great choice of eateries at Longleat, the tea and cakes looked stunning in the Orangery Café overlooking the spectacular Gardens of Longleat House.
Another must visit whilst at Longleat is that of Longleat House, still home to the 7th Marquis of Bath.
The tour of the house is a good way to nip out of a rain shower and view the remarkable antique pieces, carvings, artwork and craftsmanship.
At the end of our day at Longleat we popped into the gift shop and the girls chose a soft toy animal each to remember their day at Longleat.
The park is well maintained, with lots of fun to be had and is a really good day out.
There was too much to see and do at Longleat in one day, and it’s definitely somewhere we’d like to visit again hopefully being able to stay at Centre Parcs Longleat which is located next to Longleat.
Overall we would thoroughly recommend Longleat as a great place to take the kids.
We used our Tesco Clubcard vouchers to gain entry into Longleat and they were well worth the exchange.