Longleat Safari and Adventure Park

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Longleat Safari Park
Good advice^ - geograph.org.uk - 256815.jpg
Longleat Safari Park's lion reserve, with a warning sign
Longleat Safari Park is located in Wiltshire
Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park
Red pog.svg Longleat Safari Park shown within Wiltshire
TypeSafari park
Nearest cityWarminster
OS gridST818434
Coordinates51°11′24″N 2°15′40″W / 51.19°N 2.261°W / 51.19; -2.261Coordinates: 51°11′24″N 2°15′40″W / 51.19°N 2.261°W / 51.19; -2.261
Area9,000 acres (36.42 km2)
Visitors904,714 (in 2018)[1]
Camp sitesYes

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire, England, was opened in 1966 as the world's first drive-through safari park outside Africa.[2][3][4]


The park is situated in the grounds of Longleat House, an English stately home which is open to the public and is the home of the 8th Marquess of Bath. Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.[5]

In 2022, Longleat welcomed the birth of a southern koala joey.[6] It is the first of its kind to be born in Europe.[7]


Longleat house and grounds[edit]

The Longleat home

Opened to the public in 1949, the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bath remains a popular attraction with visitors. Visitors can join one of the many regular house tours or simply walk about at their leisure. They may also explore the gardens surrounding the house and visit a number of cafés within the grounds. A separate ticket is sold for visitors who only wish to visit the house and gardens.

Safari Park[edit]

East African Reserve[edit]

The East African Reserve, which contains Rothschild giraffes, Grant's zebras, ostriches, Black wildebeest, Brazilian Tapir, African spurred tortoise, ring tailed lemurs, and pygmy goats, extends to 60 acres (24 ha).[8]

Jungle Cruise[edit]

The Jungle Cruise (known as the Safari Boat until 2011) is a short trip around Half Mile Lake. The journey takes visitors past the Island, which was a former home to the elderly male western lowland gorilla Nico, the oldest gorilla in Europe, until his death aged 56 on 7 January 2018 and is now home to Black-and-white colobus monkeys.[9]

Monkey Temple[edit]

Opened in 2012, the centrepiece of this attraction is a large themed ruin with long rope walkways running across the paths, which allows visitors to safely interact with a variety of marmosets and tamarins.[10]

Elsewhere in this area is an enclosure containing a family of red pandas. The breeding pair, named Ajendra and Rufina, have given birth to three cubs since 2015.[11][12][13]

Giant Otters and Crocodiles[edit]

Branching off from Monkey Temple, this attraction opened in 2019. Previously the enclosure was home to a colony of captive-bred Humboldt penguins which were first displayed in 2013, however there were several outbreaks of avian malaria in September 2016 [14] and December 2018.[15]

Animal Adventure[edit]

Animal Adventure rabbit

Containing many animals previously kept in Pets' Corner, this area which contains many exotic and familiar mammals, birds, reptiles and insects opened in 2009.[16]

Longleat Railway[edit]

Longleat Railway no. 6 John Hayton in 2006

Established in 1965 and expanded in 1976, this 15 in (381 mm) gauge ridable miniature railway is among the busiest in the country. It has a length of one and a quarter miles (2 km) through scenic woodland and along the edge of Half Mile Lake. The line has taken several different courses across the years, but the route along the lake has remained consistent. After opening the railway was originally run by outside company Minirail on a ten-year contract, which was not renewed due to disagreements between the two companies. Following this, Longleat took over running the railway in 1976. Many engines have run on the railway over the years, both steam and diesel; as of 2018 the railway owns three diesel locomotives. The railway also has 15 carriages, all built at Longleat between 1976 and 2013 and wearing mock British Railways crimson and cream livery, along with several permanent way wagons. Between 2011 and 2017 the railway was known as the Jungle Express, with the station and carriages given additional theming.[17][18][19]

Current locomotives[edit]

Number Name Wheel arrangement Builders Year built Livery Notes
7 Flynn 0-6-0DM Alan Keef 2007 Crimson
  • Named after the son of Lady Lenka Thynn
  • Used on secondary duties
8 John Thynn Bo-Bo Alan Keef 2018 Crimson
  • Named after the eldest son of the 8th Marquess
  • Used on primary passenger duties
9 Henry Thynn Bo-Bo Alan Keef 2021 Crimson
  • Named after the younger son of the 8th Marquess
  • Twin locomotive of no. 8

Former locomotives[edit]

Number Name Wheel arrangement Builders Year built Livery Notes
1 Lenka 4+4wDH Severn Lamb 1973 Maroon
  • Named after Lady Lenka Thynn
  • Sold to Oakwood Theme Park in 1985
  • Name transferred to Longleat Railway no. 4
3 Dougal 0-6-2T Severn Lamb 1970 Crimson
4 Lenka 4+4wDH Longleat Railway 1984 BR Crimson & Cream
  • Only engine built by Longleat.
  • Railcar capable of carrying 12 passengers
  • Sold to private owner in 2017
5 Ceawlin 0-8-2DH Severn Lamb 1975 GWR Green
6 John Hayton 0-6-2T Exmoor Steam Railway 2004 Crimson
  • Named after the railway's former manager
  • Sold to the Perrygrove Railway in 2015
  • Has since been overhauled and renamed 'Anne'

In the media[edit]

  • The Lions of Longleat - A 1967 BBC One documentary about the newly opened safari park with commentary by Lord Bath and Jimmy Chipperfield.[20]
  • Lion Country - 55-part documentary series broadcast on BBC One in 1998.[21]
  • Animal Park is a series airing on the BBC starting in 2000 it is presented by Kate Humble & Ben Fogle, Paul Heiney and Jean Johansson. With two spin offs Animal Park: Wild in Africa in 2005. [22] and 'Animal Park: Wild on the West Coast in 2007. [23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ALVA - Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ Mary Chipperfield (1972). Lions on the Lawn. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 978-0-00-613025-3.
  3. ^ The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved 18 February 2011
  4. ^ Vines, Gail (2 December 1982). "Safari Parks, after the Honeymoon". New Scientist. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  5. ^ Samson, Ian (15 May 2010). "Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Poo on menu for Europe's first baby southern koala". BBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Longleat welcomes baby southern koala in European first". ITV News. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Longleat Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  9. ^ Longleat Safari Park western lowland gorilla marks '50th birthdayBBC News Retrieved 17 February 2017
  10. ^ Monkey Temple Themed Structures, inc. Retrieved 17 February 2017
  11. ^ Red Panda Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
  12. ^ First as rare red panda cub born at Longleat Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
  13. ^ Twin Births a Double Delight for Endangered Red Pandas Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
  14. ^ Longleat Safari Park penguins die in malaria outbreak BBC News Retrieved 17 February 2017
  15. ^ Longleat shuts penguin enclosure after new malaria deaths BBC News Retrieved 17 September 2019
  16. ^ Longleat's new Animal Adventure opens Leisure Management Retrieved 17 February 2017
  17. ^ "Longleat Railway". longleat.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Jungle Express (Longleat)". Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  19. ^ Profile: Longleat Railway Miniature Railway Magazine Retrieved 26 August 2016
  20. ^ "The Lions of Longleat - BBC One London - 12 November 1967". The Radio Times. BBC Genome (2296): 15. 9 November 1967. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Lion Country - BBC One London - 16 February 1998". The Radio Times. BBC Genome (3862): 82. 12 February 1998.
  22. ^ "Animal Park - Wild in Africa - BBC Two England - 5 April 2005". BBC Genome.
  23. ^ "Animal Park: Wild on the West Coast - BBC Two England - 23 July 2007". BBC Genome.

External links[edit]