As our campsite was right on the border of Longleat, we’d planned ahead and booked tickets to go in early on our holiday. In fact our pitch was quite near the lake and train ride of the park, not that you could see much from our side or in fact from the train as we looked out when we were passengers on it. But you could hear it and also the Sea lions that live in the lake, with the occasional bark being heard.
Although we could have walked in, we took the car so we could do the safari, it didn’t seem quite so big as when I’d visited as a child, most of the animals were out and about, with the usual hiding places just out of view of the human spectators, a glance here and there of the big cats.
We decided early on to chicken out of the monkey enclosure, with warning sign’s telling us how our car WILL get damaged! The thought of those monkeys getting that final ‘part’ to build their own vehicle and make a break for it, was enough for us to bypass it and keep our dodgy aerial and loose wipers to ourselves.
We eventually came out and headed past the house, the word house doesn’t do it justice, how some people in the past used to live, staggering.
You can’t take pictures of the inside, but suffice to say if you like your history and seeing the grandeur of the most privileged from the past you won’t be disappointed, what with the Elizabethan Great Hall and grand staircase and an incredible banqueting suite. Outside though was just as well kept and you could take pictures of course. The grounds of the park having been redesigned by Capability Brown in the 1800’s.
We then went on the river cruise and saw the Sea lions that we’d heard from the campsite, they were amazing and followed the boat waiting for the treats they knew they would get. We also saw a silver back gorilla on his island and a hippopotamus just poking his head above water.
We then walked around the other animal attractions, including a ‘bat cave’ enclosure, which was fascinating to see the bats hanging upside down and flying about. Had a ride on the small train, where we could just about make out the Freedom Jetstream through the trees. We went through the famous maze rather fast under my wife’s direction…women’s intuition?
All in all a great day out, with plenty to do and see, a bonus that the campsite is right on the edge of the grounds.