Longleat is known for its Elizabethan stately home, landscaped gardens, massive hedge maze, safari and adventure park. Longleat house was the first stately home to open its doors to the public in 1949, it was the first safari park to open outside of Africa (in 1966) and over the years Longleat has kept growing, adding new features and attractions.
We stopped in on a chilly late summer day for a visit. The new Rockin’ Rhino ride won the family vote for best feature of the day, followed closely by the Za Ji acrobatics show (summer 2015 only) and Adventure Castle. At the end of an 8-hour activity packed day, my favourite attraction was the Costa Coffee near the car park. Longleat has much to offer and set in beautiful Wiltshire farm and woodland, offers an experience not to be missed.
Price: £20.35 – 32.95 per ticket
Included in the box: There are 6 ticket options available (One day ticket, Deadly day ticket, Two day ticket, Annual Pass, House & Gardens and a Longleat/Cheddar combo). There are 3 price brackets – adult (15 – 59), child (3 – 14), Senior (60+) and under 3’s go free. Tickets booked on-line in advance receive a 15% discount.
Included in the box: Different ticket options include different things, for all the details see Longleat’s ticket section here. Parking is free.
Paid Extras: There are multiple shops and restaurants at Longleat for optional extras. Lunch is not included. There are picnic areas with picnic tables provided for anyone bringing a picnic. The Safari Bus has a surcharge of £5 per person over 3. A surcharge, usually a pound, is charge for a small bucket of animal feed at various stations. Kennels are not supervised, basic and £1 per dog.
Retailer: Longleat ticket office
“Longleat is an English stately home and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath. It is a leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. It is adjacent to the village of Horningsham and near the towns of Warminster and Westbury in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset.” Read more here.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Longleat is a great place to spend the day offering a variety of activities. It is accessible to people with diverse abilities and welcomes people with disabilities and has plenty on offer for all age groups.
It is open throughout the year, in all seasons and only severe weather affects its operation. There are both outdoor and indoor spaces and various themed activities throughout the year – special shows in the summer, firework displays in October and a Santa special near Christmas – keeps it fresh for return visitors.
The house, gardens, adventure and safari park is well designed with more to see and do than could be ticked off in a single day, including boat rides to view hippos and gorilla’s, a trainride past the reindeer, a fantastic stately home and it is also has the largest maze in Britain.
Longleat is well designed, but has a lot of ground to cover. For those with limited mobility, there are plenty of more sedentary activities – the boat and train has seats (and both accommodates wheelchair users), the daily show is in a venue with seats and there are plenty of benches at regular intervals that make it easy to stop and sit down.
The premises is well equipped for wheelchair users and push chairs, guide dogs are welcome* (except in the Safari, but kenneling for £1 is available) and much thought has gone into creating an inclusive environment.
* “Service dogs are welcome everywhere at Longleat excluding the Safari Park, Jungle Kingdom, Monkey Temple, Penguin Island, the Butterfly House (within Animal Adventure), the Bat Cave or the Motion Simulators.” Detailed accessibility information can be found here.
Environment & People
Animal welfare for animals living in captivity is a controversial issue. Longleat does have a conservation policy in place, which includes providing the best possible conditions for the animals, conserving the stately home as well as the extensive grounds and forest.
Longleat is much more convenient to access with a car – the grounds are large and the Safari Bus incurs an additional £5 per person surcharge. The multitude of cars idling around the 8 mile Safari route is not the greenest of environmental options.
Longleat offers good value for money with multiple attractions as well as offering many experiences that are not readily available. The main attraction is either the animals or the stately home.
The house and gardens tickets probably offers the best value for adults not interested in seeing the animals or children centred activities.
For families there is a number of things to do, including a new hippo ride for younger children, the maze, Postman Pat village, large outdoor play area and soft play for under 2’s.
Longleat is currently part of a Tesco club card voucher scheme and clubcard holders can use these to purchase tickets.
Travel season: Late summer
Location: Longleat, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW
Booking: On-line booking (15% off) or at the gate
Opening times: 10am (9:30am on bank holiday weekends)
Closing time: Variable between 5pm – 7:30
Temperature: It is mainly an outdoor attraction and temperature dependso on the weather.
Food & drink
There are 5 restaurants/cafe’s on site as well as multiple kiosks that sell a variety of food and drinks. All of the above do cater for various dietary requirements. More information about food outlets here. There is also plenty of benches as well as picnic tables if you bring a packed lunch, however these are outdoors only and not under cover.
Longleat is a well-known tourist attraction that offers something different and unique. I am not entirely comfortable with the concept of using captive animals for human entertainment, but the animals at Longleat are well looked after, provided with plenty of space to roam and some are not contained or in cages, so they must enjoy their stay.
There is a tremendous range of activities on offer and many educational opportunities as well as fun things to do for all ages. It has an impressive stately home, extensive gardens designed by Capability Brown and the hedge maze is a must-get-lost-in experience. We had a great time and will return again for another visit during a different season. Highly recommended.
This travel review is based on a family day trip with All in one day tickets during September 2015. First published on 25 September 2015.