Friday 8 April 2011

Oh the Places You'll Go: Longleat House and Safari Park

Longleat House
Looking for a quality day out?  Stately homes are nice, but really once you've seen one, you've kind of seen them all, don't you agree?  We need a stately home with a little something extra... enter Longleat House and Safari Park.  The house is an Elizabethan stately home near Warminster in Wiltshire, but it also just so happens to have a Safari Park on the grounds and is a MUST VISIT for anyone.

The house is currently the residence of the Alexander George Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath (herein known refered to as Lord Bath).  You know when people say that British people can be quite"quirky"? This is the kind of guy they are talking about!
Lord Bath in his signature colourful vests
He has a signature style (as seen above), a love for primary colours (showcased in his artwork displayed at Longleat House) and in Charlie Sheen style, Lord Bath has a polyamorous lifestyle.  Instead of "godesses" he has "wifelets" (over 70 of them if you believe his count in 2002!) and one legal wife who is apparently accepting of his lifestyle choice.  Take a look at his own website... seemingly developed by him personally (or a really bad web designer).

The house itself a worth a visit and the chance of running into Lord Bath whilst there is definitely reason to go, but the real reason is the drive-thru Safari Park. It was managed by Lord Bath until 2010, when the reigns were handed over to his son, keeping the first-ever safari park outside Africa in the Thynn family.

Highlights include:

Seals in the lake (clearly this is on a boat, not in the drive-thru bit).  They give you fish to feed them!
Monkeys!  This is the best part.  As you can see, the monkeys climb on your car and cause general mischief and endless entertainment.  Word to the wise:  If you have a very nice car, skip this part.  The monkeys tend to rip windshield wipers (and anything else they can manage) off the car.  We saw a few chomping on antennas and even one rip the rubber seal thing off someones roof.  Luckily, my car escaped unscathed... in this area at least...

After going through some hippos, zebras, vultures and even lions and tigers, you'll come to the wolf enclosure. We spotted some wolves fighting over what looked like an animal pelt (no flesh, just the fur) and they were really riled up -growling and snapping at each other.   One wolf won the fight and ran off with the pelt and the others came to inspect the passing cars.  When one came to our car, he sniffed the mirror (seen in the poor quality photo below) for a second and then bit it with his giant wolf mouth!
Thankfully, Volkswagen was prepared for this when they designed the wing mirrors and it simply snapped in the middle, but just as easily snapped back together (Take note Volkswagen marketing department: VW Polo - good gas mileage, roomy interior, and tough enough to withstand a wolf attack.  Sales will go through the roof! )

What are you waiting for?  Borrow a friend's car and head to Longleat! You owe me one for this recommendation.


  1. Did you take that picture of Lord Bath yourself? My husband calls me 'wifelet', btw.

  2. We visited there a few years ago and absolutely loved it. The monkeys on our car was definitely a highlight!

  3. Don't you love how European 'zoos' are bizarreo!! Yikes, got scared just looking at that. But sounds like ya'll had a great time :)

  4. I saw a show with Lord Bath on it once. I forget what it was about (maybe touring the inside of the house), but I'll never forget his character. He was a nut!

  5. Wow, this is interesting! Thanks for posting. I can't believe the animals bite cars and such.

  6. That picture of Lord Bath is awesome.

    Hmm...If we weren't afraid of driving here we would totally go. Just means I have to convince a local to drive.

  7. I wish I took that pic of Lord Bath, but no I did not. I would have given credit, but don't know who to give it to!

  8. I am sooooo glad I got to accompany you on this hilarious outing! I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

  9. Wow! The memories you evoked! I've not seen Longleat Safari Park since the early 70s when I was a child! Lord Bath is a character!


  10. Thanks so much for this recommendation. So funny! I have always wondered if I should visit. Your pictures look great and I am looking forward to heading there soon!