Longleat Safari Park

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Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park is located in Wiltshire
Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park
Red pog.svg Longleat Safari Park shown within Wiltshire
Type Safari park
Location Wiltshire
Nearest city Warminster
OS grid ST818434
Coordinates 51°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
Area 9,000 acres (36.42 km2)
Created 1966
Designer Jimmy Chipperfield
Camp sites Yes
Website www.longleat.co.uk

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England, was opened in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa.[1][2][3] The park is situated in the grounds of Longleat House, an English stately home which is open to the public and is the current home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. The safari park was the first of its kind anywhere in the world, and was ground breaking in terms of how captive animals are kept and viewed by the public. Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.[4]

Today, Longleat is home to over 500 animals, and the whole estate is situated on 9,000 acres (36.42 km2) of Wiltshire countryside.

The Safari Park's reserves[edit]

Other attractions[edit]

The estate is open to the public, with the various attractions being individually priced. A 'passport' ticket providing one admission to each attraction is available at a discount.

  • Longleat House
  • Gardens and Grounds
  • Lord Bath's Murals
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Bat Cave
  • Jungle Kingdom
  • Motion Simulators
  • Animal Adventure
  • Longleat Hedge Maze
  • Jungle Express railway
  • Postman Pat Village
  • Adventure Castle
  • King Arthur's Mirror Maze
  • The Life and Times of Henry, Lord Bath
  • Family Bygones
  • 'Meet My Ancestors' Film
  • Longleat House Scale Model
  • Rockin Rhino
  • Deadly adventures

Jungle Kingdom[edit]

Jungle Express

Opened in 2011, this attraction is the first step in a long redevelopment programme of the park as set out by new CEO David Bradley. The first section is within the former Pets Corner area, and includes walk-through exhibits for meerkats and chipmunks (the former is the first of its kind in the UK) along with themed enclosures for otters, binturong, coatis, porcupines, giant anteaters, Burmese pythons, boa constrictors and maras.

Monkey Temple[edit]

The second section, built between Jungle Kingdom and Animal Adventure, is the Monkey Temple, which allows marmosets including common marmoset, pygmy marmoset and black-headed marmoset, along with the tamarins including cotton-top tamarins, Geoffroy's tamarins, emperor tamarins and red-handed tamarin to run freely around the visitors from mock temple ruins. At the lorikeet feeding station, visitors can buy pots of nectar to feed to rainbow lorikeets in a walk-through aviary alongside golden pheasants. Red pandas and barn owls can also be found in this area.

Animal Adventure[edit]

Animal Adventure rabbit

Containing many animals previously kept in Pets Corner, many exotic and familiar mammals, birds, reptiles and insects are on display, including goats, striped skunk, macaws, ferrets, guinea pigs, cockatoos, rabbits, tortoises, iguanas, Kune Kune pigs, armadillos, Siberian weasels, rock hyraxes, fennec fox, Chilean rose tarantula, prairie dogs, Geoffroy's marmosets, royal pythons and many more. A walk-through butterfly hot-house and handling areas for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates allow visitors to have direct contact with the animals. Donkeys Tony and Lucky can also be seen, along with three emus and two kookaburras called Darwin and Giggles.

Jungle Express Railway[edit]

Established in 1965 and expanded in 1975, the 15-inch gauge ridable miniature railway passes through the Jungle Kingdom. It has a length of one mile and circles Half Mile Lake. Reindeer can also be found at Christmas when passengers meet Santa Claus in his grotto.[6]

Jungle Cruise[edit]

The Jungle Cruise involves taking a short trip around Half Mile Lake, which houses a large family of sea lions, the dominant male of which is called Buster, and a pair of hippos. Aboard, it is possible to buy a cup of fish pieces to throw to the sea lions, who naturally follow the boat and bark for food.

Penguin Island[edit]

Opened in July 2013, Penguin Island is a 225,000-litre naturally-themed display which is home to a colony of 30 captive-bred Humboldt penguins. Visitors can enjoy watching the penguins from above as well as below the waterline through giant viewing windows.

Stingray Bay[edit]

Also opened in July 2013, Stingray Bay is a giant, open-topped display housing a selection of marine stingray species and is home to thornback stingrays and undulate rays.

Bat Cave[edit]

Bat Cave is home to Egyptian fruit bats, cave fish, rats, scorpions and more.

In the media[edit]

The Lions of Longleat[edit]

A 1967 BBC One documentary about the newly opened safari park with commentary by Lord Bath and Jimmy Chipperfield.[7]

Lion Country[edit]

55-part documentary series broadcast on BBC One in 1998.[8]

Vets in Practice[edit]

The park featured heavily in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary series Vets in Practice.

On Safari[edit]

On Safari is a children's TV show broadcast in 2000 by the ITV children's strand CITV and re-broadcast in 2009 by STV.

Animal Park[edit]

Longleat was the subject of the BBC's long running Animal Park series, hosted by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle.


Roar is another BBC series about the animals and keepers at wild animal parks.

All Change at Longleat[edit]

A documentary filmed in 2014 and broadcast on BBC One in September 2015, following one of the country's most extraordinary aristocratic families and the people who work for them. Lord Bath hands control of the estate to his son, Ceawlin, but it doesn't go smoothly.


  1. ^ Mary Chipperfield (1972). Lions on the Lawn. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 978-0-00-613025-3. 
  2. ^ The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved 18 February 2011
  3. ^ Vines, Gail (2 December 1982). "Safari Parks, after the Honeymoon". New Scientist. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields The Guardian Retrieved 18 February 2011
  5. ^ "Longleat Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jungle Express (Longleat)". Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Lions of Longleat - BBC One London - 12 November 1967". BBC Genome. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Lion Country - BBC One London - 16 February 1998". BBC Genome. 

External links[edit]