Longleat Safari & Adventure Park review

Our rating 
4.8 out of 5 star rating 4.8
User rating
longleat-safari-and-adventure-park_208400

In a nutshell

An activity-packed day out with a safari, main square and house for families to explore. There’s a huge amount to pack in to one day, but animals are likely to be the highlight for children
Fun for kids
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Fun for parents
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Worth the money
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Facilities
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Family friendliness
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Pros: Get close to some incredible animals; good for all ages; beautiful grounds; friendly staff, interactive and educational, lots of fun for children
Cons: Queues in some areas at busy times; animals may damage vehicles

When we visited:

We visited on a sunny Sunday in July when the park was busy, but not at maximum capacity

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What age is Longleat best for:

Best for: Children aged 2-12 years

Still good fun for: Children aged 13+ years

How much does it cost?

  • Gate prices: Adults £34.95, children 3-15 £26.20, under 3s free
  • Online prices: Adults £29.70, children 3-15 £22.27, under 3s free
  • £10 upgrade per person gives you access for a 2nd day if you are staying in the area

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Longleat Safari & Adventure Park?

Yes, at the time of publication Picniq offered 30% off tickets. If you shop at Tesco, you can turn every £0.50 of Clubcard vouchers into £1.50 to spend at  Longleat.

Any extra charges once I’m there?

As you would expect, there are numerous gift shops to tempt you. Some, situated within exit areas from a ride for example, are hard to avoid but they did at least include pocket money options.

There is also an option to buy a photo package after the boat trip, but this would be easy to decline for those not interested.

We’d also read up about the VIP animal encounters before we set off, but these are really in the very special treat price range.

How long will we spend at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park?

We had planned to be at Longleat when it opened, but busy Sunday traffic delayed us slightly. We ate lunch as we walked round Longleat, but still struggled to fit everything in before closing time. We would all have happily spent 2 days enjoying everything on offer.

What does Longleat offer for families?

Longleat is a fantastic day out for families. In short, you have 3 main elements – the safari park, the attractions around the main square, and the house. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to go inside the house, even though this was included in our ticket price. The exterior and grounds are beautiful though.

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What shouldn’t be missed?

We all thoroughly enjoyed our trip, even with our range of ages.

Highlights for us were:

  • We started by parking at the African Village (accessible on foot), and before we’d even left the car park, we could see a new baby giraffe close by with its mum
  • Best of all, there’s a chance to get up close to the giraffes from a brilliant viewing platform that they feed from
  • There’s also a lemur walk through in this area and a conservation centre
  • A highlight we discovered on the day is that you can pay just £5 per person extra for a VIP jeep safari through the monkey enclosure – about 40 minutes long and worth every penny
  • The main safari drive, guided by a free CD provided at the gate. This gave a handy commentary through the whole safari park and described the occupants of each enclosure
  • Nothing is guaranteed with animals, but when we visited we were able to get great pictures of many of the residents

Is it easy to navigate?

Yes – as well as a CD, you are given a paper map when you arrive at Longleat. You don’t need this to get through the safari park, but it does help you plan the rest of your day. It also highlights where the toilets are, although we found plenty sign-posted in all areas.

We followed the herds when we got there and decided to head to the safari park first, as this was the main attraction for us. However, you can avoid some queues, especially for the boat trip, if you head to the main square first and do the safari park later.

What’s the Longleat VIP jeep safari like?

Great. All 5 of us fitted comfortably in the zebra-patterned jeep with our driver. Before we entered the monkey area he spotted the park’s resident elephant, Anne, in prime position, so drove us up to meet her first.

Once we were inside the monkey enclosure we were able to sit back and watch without the worry of our own car being damaged  and we were able to spend more time in this area. I’m not sure I can remember the last time we all laughed so much. The monkeys were great fun and I’d highly recommend this additional outlay – it’s worth every penny!

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Is there a risk of the animals damaging your car?

Yes, but if you are concerned about the condition of your car there is an option to bypass the monkey area. We went through on the Jeep tour, but we saw many cars had lost wipers and bits of trim.

Can you get out of your car during the safari at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park?

In most areas your doors and windows need to be firmly shut – but there are more relaxed opportunities too. For example, there is an option to buy deer food to feed the occupants of the deer park.

Be warned though – I’m an animal lover and fairly unshakeable around four-legged furries, but a couple of deer were fairly persistently nibbling at my shoulder when their feed pellets didn’t appear quickly enough. I found this funny but less anyone less confident with animals might feel a bit on edge at this point.

Your car is also likely to be left a little muddy and deer-dribbled if you chose to stop off here. Again, you can bypass if this isn’t for you.

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What’s the Jungle Cruise like?

This was where we could have benefitted from some inside info. We queued for about 40 minutes for our boat. It’s not a huge length of time, but the kids went from a real high of their animal encounters to a bit of a low here, waiting a little bored in the heat.

Once we were on our boat the boys quickly forget about this, excited by close encounters with the lakes’ sealions and the three gorilla brothers you can see during your trip. But, unfortunately, for my 5 year old, the magic had been lost a little in the queue, so I would definitely recommend doing this part before you head off for the main safari drive.

Another tip for this area – you have the chance to pose for pictures before you join the queue. Politely decline if you don’t want to be tempted to buy the photo package when you come off the boat.

What other activities are there at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park?

There are a lot of additional attractions packed around the Jungle Cruise area, including more animal enclosures, penguins, rays, a batcave (not for those who don’t like things flying close by) and a family farmyard. There’s also a train ride (again, try to do this before the queues build up), Adventure Castle (a good play area for children up to 12, and a Rockin’ Rhino ride, which even the adults can enjoy.

What are the food and drink facilities like at Longleat?

You won’t go hungry or thirsty at Longleat. We bought a sandwich lunch before the safari from the African Village area, which cost about £25 for the 5 of us. There were vegetarian options in the café and my kids were pleased to see some healthy extras, like cucumber sticks, carrot sticks and grapes.

Before closing time, we bought dinner at the new Chameleon Tree Restaurant and coffee house – around £40 for the 5 of us. There was a reasonable range of food on offer with options for younger diners and vegetarians. There’s a choice of side dishes with the main courses, but the mixed veggies and corn on the cob options might have been a bit more appetising earlier in the day.

There are also lots of opportunities to buy snacks, drinks and ice creams.

Can you take a picnic?

Yes, we spotted a few outdoor picnic areas if you are taking your own food.

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

This is a great day out for all ages and people with restricted mobility

  • Much of the park is accessible by car and the remainder is relatively flat, making it passable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • We saw a number of changing facilities and disabled toilets
  • There was also a wheelchair area on the boat
  • For more information see Longleat’s accessibility information

Opening dates and times:

In peak summer, during the school holidays, Longleat is open from 10am until 7pm, although last entry to the safari is 6pm. When we visited it was open from 10am until 6pm (early and late summer times). Off peak, mid-week, it is open from 10am until 5pm. Longleat closes on week days at some periods during the winter.

How to get to Longleat:

Longleat is just off the A36 between Bath and Salisbury, and most visitors drive

  • The website advises you to ignore your SatNav (postcode BA12 7JS) when you get close to the park and follow the brown tourist signs instead. We did this without a problem
  • If you do arrive by train you will need to get a taxi to the park, but, once there, you can tour the safari by bus
  • Frome Station is the closest station to Longleat and has a good service from Bath and London.
  • Warminster station is about 5 miles from Longleat and is on the Cardiff to Portsmouth line.
  • Westbury station is about 12 miles from Longleat and is on the London Paddington to Penzance line

Do you have to pay for parking?

No, parking is free of charge

Worth a long car journey?

Yes. It took us 3 hours to get there, and around 2.5 to get home, but the kids would jump in the car to go back again tomorrow if they could.

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Longleat?

There are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:

  • The Bath Arms is actually on the Longleat Estate itself, just a 6-minute drive away from the safari park.
  • Book your little angels a family room at the Angel Inn (7 minutes), in the quiet Wiltshire village of Upton Scudamore – the 16th century coaching inn has a bar and restaurant
  • For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on HomeAway.co.uk and Sykes Cottages
  • Find family-friendly hotel deals near Longleat on Booking.com

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

Check out the natural wonder of Stonehenge, where there’s plenty of room for little ones to run around before getting back in the car. There are also several castles in the area, including Old Wardour Castle, a 30-minute drive away.

MFM verdict:

We’re a family of animal lovers so absolutely loved our day out. Considering everything on offer the ticket is not bad value and my children are desperate to go back. We would definitely do the boat trip earlier in the day next time though to avoid the queues. Dinner was the one and only time we really stopped all day. Even with that, we hadn’t quite packed in everything on offer.  If you like animals, this is a great attraction for all ages – our whole family really enjoyed our visit.

Visit the Longleat Safari & Adventure Park website

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Intro to me:

A family of 5 – mum and dad, plus Teddy, 11, Donovan, 9, and Gisella, 5