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For a great day out and plenty to explore Longleat is the perfect choice
Longleat Safari Park (Wiltshire)
Member Name: chrisc92
Longleat Safari Park (Wiltshire)
Advantages: Safari park, grounds, Eliabethan house, safari boats and entertainment for kids
Disadvantages: Be prepared to spend!
Longleat is a wonderfully attractive place to visit. It comprises of an Elizabethan stately home, safari park, lake and lanscaped parkland - in total covering some 900 acres, and when including farmland extends to some 8000 acres.
It is owned by the Thynne family, (The Marquees of Bath) and has been in the family for some 450 years. It was opened by the 6th Lord Bath, Henry Frederick in 1949 as a means of generating income following huge debts after the death of his father two years earlier. Formal gardens were original designed by Capability Brown during the 18th Century, with gardens around the house redesigned in the 1950's by Russel Page to allow for tourists. It's most famous asset, the first safari park outside of Africa opened in 1966 to boost visitor numbers.
It is set near to the village of Buckland Dinham between Frome (Somerset) and Warminster (Wiltshire), and is today owned by Alexander, the eccentric 7th Marquis of Bath.
Along with the house and Safari Park two other attractions always compelled me to Longleat - The Safari Boats where sealions run up and down the lake next to the boat, and you travel round an island where a guerilla actually watches sky and encounter hippos along the far banks away from the expanse of visitors, and the Doctor Who exhibition which sadly after 30 years left for pastures new - materialising at Lands End!
The train ride (Longleat Railway) alongside the lake is fun, and there's a great place for you to see all your favorite butterflys and moths. In fact I could probably spend hours going up and door the lake - if you weren't restricted to one admission per attraction with their ticket system.
The safari park is best experienced from a coach or the onsite tour bus - if you want to keep your wipers and other external car parts that is as the monkeys are notorious for pulling them off. Occassionally lions do move around, but normally the deer and camels are more likely to stop you in your tracks. It does take a while, and can be taken at your own pace if you're the ones doing the driving. Other animals you'll encounter are wolves, tigers, giraffes and zebra.
Other long time attractions are the adventure castle, the hedge maze and pets corner, with new attractions being Postman Pat Village, Animal Adventure, Old Joes Mine and Get Active with Sportacus (from 27 July to 16 August 2009).
I have never been inside the house, but its sheer presence appeals, and it is used quite often these days for weddings/wedding receptions.
I was first introduced to Longleat by my father at an early age, and we visited once every 2-3 years on a local coach company based in Taunton, and at that point admission prices were quite reasonable and were included in the coach fare. Several years later, my son started at a special school in Taunton, and almost from the first September he joined Taunton and Wiltshire Roundtables joined together to provide a free day of fun for special needs children and their families - which was still continuing up until we moved down to Plymouth 8 years ago. At the time they provided free passes allowing entry to about 5 of the main attractions (in addition to the safari park).
Today, it is difficult to advise on admission prices because it depends on what you want to do, but a full ticket for one entry per attraction costs £23.
Often, Longleat play hosts to events this year this included international horse trials 19-21 June.
Iy is also quite common to see cyclists pedalling around the area.
One thing that you will need to do is take plenty of money with you and even a quick snack can set you back a tidy sum.
It is a wonderful place to visit and explore and is somewhere (if the weather is good) that you can spent plenty of time.
The park is located within easy reach of the A303, and can also be accessed from the A36 Bath road.
It is somewhere I can definitely recommend as a day out for all the family.
As an added incentive why not visit the Longleat Forest Centre Parc - but like with Longleat be prepared to pay out!
For more information try the link below:
Summary: A place for all the family, but hits a little hard on the wallet!
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