Not long enough at Longleat

Be prepared for a bit of a bumper post today. We have no self-control when it comes to animals [I’ve been waiting ages for a chance to try my hand at some nature shots], especially with a zoom this good…

We spent the day at Longleat as part of our Bath/South West weekend. I’d been there a few times before, but couldn’t wait to see the variety of exotic wildlife at this world-famous safari park. [I’d never been before, but it had certainly had its praises sung.] And it didn’t disappoint.

First on the trail – the giraffes, of varying ages and sizes…


They were being kept company by some zebras, sporting their fashionable monochrome.


This slightly grumpy-looking ring-tailed lemur (apparently) sitting pondering the meaning of life:

Ring-tailed lemur

A pretty cute and alert wallaby:


And a slightly less cute rhino… [Sigh, just because he’s not furry…]

White rhino

A double-humped camel which made me laugh for a good long while:


And some utterly beautiful deer – the fallow, scratching his nose… [I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to deer before]

Fallow stag scratching

And posing for the camera:

Fallow stag closeup

And the even more glorious red stag, in full antler, surrounded by his does [he had quite the harem].

Red stag

He deserves another shot…

Red stag closeup

We saw some very scary big cats, who couldn’t have seemed less interested, or even scary…

Tiger head

The tigers were rather elusive…

Tiger standing

But the King of the jungle was happily relaxing very near the car.


Surrounded by his lionesses…


The wolf had his dinner to munch on, which, although gory, rather added to the drama of the scene…


Then we left the car, as the animals started to get smaller. The archetypal meerkat pose:

Meerkat at attention

Followed by a rather smaller [he was the baby] and even more adventurous meerkat.

Meerkat baby

THEN this happened. A red panda. The cutest animal in the book [they are *ridiculously* cute], posing just for us [I’m not sure about posing – he refused to stay still for me to photograph!].

Red panda

This guy is new to Longleat, and he’s one of three new gorillas. They already had one, Nico, who has his own island. That’s how cool he is. He watches Sky TV (for his 50th birthday lately they upgraded to Sky+ HD) and he’s the oldest silverback in Europe.


On the boat around Nico’s island, there were some sealions, very enthusiastic about the fish some of our younger passengers were handing out…


Completely focused on their next move!


The house is beautiful, too. I worry that so many people neglect it when packing their visit into a day, but it is an exceptional country house and well worth a visit – if only for the Marquess of Bath‘s controversial taste in modern art and fondness for pictures of himself! The ceilings are of particular note.

Inside Longleat House

And the exterior, and setting, with Capability Brown-designed parkland, is exquisite.

Outside Longleat House

Ultimately, though, this was the highlight of the day. You remember this post, and the bunny-related excitement? At the last minute I remembered the handling section, and someone kindly asked if I could hold Jim. And I did. For aaaages. [I can confirm that it was, indeed, aaaages. Wars have started and ended in shorter periods. Almost.]


At £25 each, Longleat wasn’t one of our more frugal days out, but great value for money. You see some incredible animals in a well-cared-for environment, as well as a stunning family home. Two tips: book online [we sneakily got 20% off through Days Out With Kids, but if that expires you can still save 15% on Longleat’s website], and take a picnic, because the food provision isn’t great. Oh, and a third? Be sure to remember your camera [definitely].

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