Oh my soul! Did I have a ball at this place! Coming from South Africa where wildlife and open spaces are quite the norm, London has been an adjustment… Even after 6 years, I struggle with the claustrophobia and greyness of it all and I miss animals terribly!
I’ve been watching a show called Animal Park since before I even arrived in the UK – it’s presented by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle (yum) and basically follows the stories of some of the animals that call the thousands upon thousands of acres at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, home. Opened in 1966 (the first of it’s kind outside of Africa) it has grown to include animals from all over the world.
The TV show also showcases the stunning Longleat House which is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Elizabethan architecture in the UK and which is one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. It is currently the home of the 7th Marquess of Bath, Alexander Thynn, aka Lord Bath who wears such insanely patterned shirts, he could rival Madiba!
Drive through the lion, tiger and wolf enclosures; laugh at the monkeys who literally jump on your car; feed the deer and parakeets; go for a ferry ride around Half Mile Lake; visit the residence of Lord Bath; experience a drive through the Congo in a simulator; eat ice cream (duh!); make your way through the bat cave (eep!); try and get through the incredible maze; watch a spectacular bird of prey show run by the Hawk Conservancy Trust and MORE. … So much to do!
We had the Passport Ticket (organized through our accommodation at Bishopstrow House) which meant that we were able to do pretty much EVERYTHING that they had on offer (except for two or three of the kid-specific attractions) and we were literally there the whole day! It’s not quite Africa but its as close as you can get in the UK and it was such a nice break, loved getting out of London, being in the open and seeing all the beautiful animals.
A few of my pics from the day below…