In December Nathan and I visited the Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire and it was awesome! We went primarily for Longleat’s yearly Christmas event of The Festival of Light which was amazing. However, as well as the lights there is so much to see and do and we had the best day!
Longleat Safari Drive Through
On arrival at Longleat, we headed first to the safari drive through as I had read online to expect queues given how busy Longleat is during the festive period. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on seeing all the animals.
At the main entrance ticket queue, each car is given a safari drive through CD which has a commentary to guide you around the tour and tell you about all the animals. We luckily got Nathans car CD player working and we were off!
There are so many different animals to see including lots of camels, bison and even big cats including lions and tigers. Unfortunately, due to the poor weather and rain, I wasn’t able to get any good pics of the big cats as understandably they were chilling out and not dancing in the rain! I enjoyed seeing all the warning signs telling people to stay in their cars -surely no one would actually get out?!
Time for Some Monkey Business
The best part of the safari drive through has to be the monkey section. This is an optional part of the tour, cars who don’t fancy driving through the open monkey enclosure can bypass it. However, there was no chance we were doing that! The monkeys were the reason we had some in Nathan’s car and not my nice new Fiesta!
The little cheeky monkeys are so funny and comical as they ride around on the cars, literally surfing on the roof and sliding down the windows and bonnets. It made us laugh so much, I can imagine children would just love it.
This rather cheeky chappy sat on the bonnet for a while, jumping up and down and eventually pulled out the windscreen washer from the front of the car. We also saw monkeys nibbling on car ariels, pulling off windscreen wipers and car jumping from car to car.
Feeding the Deer
After the fun of the monkey drive-through, it was time to chill a bit and pass through some of the other animals before reaching the deer section. For £1 you can buy a pot of deer food and then drive to where the deer are feeding and feed them by hand.
This was such a cool experience and we got there just in time before most of the deer had eaten enough and had moved away to rest.
They were pretty slobbery when they took the food out of my hand and certainly ate it up quickly, sticking their heads through the car window looking for more!
Safari Park Fun
Look at this giraffes with their young – so cute and magical to see so close up! This so makes me want to go on an African safari one day!
There is so much to see off the main square including jungle kingdom, the bat cave, adventure castle, monkey temple and more.
It was pretty funny watching these cute penguins be fed as they were all really rubbish at catching the fish when the man threw them. They just kept missing them every time and for some reason it really tickled me!
I loved going through the butterfly house as butterflies are one of my favourite animals. We were lucky enough to spot a couple too and see some coming out of their chrysalis which was something I had never seen before.
Just in time, we caught the last Jungle Cruise boat to see the gorillas, hippos and sea lions. This was only a short boat ride but a chance to sit and relax whilst spotting even more animals. Great that this is included in the entry price too as it adds another fun element to the visit.
When you reach the sea lions visitors are invited to feed them some small fish which they go mad for! You would think they hadn’t be fed all day! They were so noisy and excited, jumping up at the sides of the boats – again another new experience for me! Sadly I didn’t catch any of them with my photos as they were just too quick, but you can see the seagulls went crazy trying to catch the fish too! Nathan used his go pro though and so he got some good footage of the sea lions feasting!
Longleat House and a Bit of History
Included in the ticket price was also the chance to go inside Longleat House and have a look around. It is full of Elizabethan architecture and featured some stunning artwork. It was decorated for Christmas too which made us feel so festive. Photos aren’t permitted inside the house so you will just have to visit for yourselves to see what’s inside!
I love looking at old items and getting a glimpse back into history and we had the opportunity to do this and explore a small museum full of objects from the olden days.
Tickets for The Festival of Light, which includes entry to all the normal attractions at the park and the safari drive through, are slightly cheaper if booked in advance online. They cost £31.45 for adults and £23.55 for children. Annual passes are available too which I think would be great if you live locally enough to visit multiple times a year.
There are lots of places to eat and drink and various shops too. All of the food we came across was relatively well priced although the queues were quite long and we had to eat outside as there wasn’t much space available. For further information on visiting the park take a look at their website or find them on Twitter and Instagram.
We had such a good day at Longleat Safari Park, there is so much to do and see and fun for all the family. We went mainly to see The Festival of Light which you can find a separate blog post about, but we were surprised by how many other attractions there were to enjoy. We spent most of the day at Longleat and still didn’t see it all so to make the most of the entry fees and to ensure you see everything I would recommend going early as soon as it opens. The safari drive-through and in particular, the monkey section of the drive-through, has to be my favourite part of the day – super entertaining and really made us laugh. We will have those memories around for a long time I am sure!
Have you ever been to Longleat before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!