Longleat Safari Park

Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park

 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
Camp sites Yes
Website www.longleat.co.uk
The Longleat home
Longleat Safari Loins, with a warning sign

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 home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (19121990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.[4]

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

The Safari Park's reserves

Half Mile Lake


Jungle Kingdom

Jungle Express

The first section 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, Red-legged seriema, giant anteaters, Burmese pythons, boa constrictors and maras.

Monkey Temple

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

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, Corn snake, rabbits, Hermann's tortoises, Pancake tortoise, Spur-thighed tortoise, iguanas, Kune Kune pigs, armadillos, Siberian weasels, rock hyraxes, fennec fox, Chilean rose tarantula, Tegus, Leopard gecko, Chameleon, Crested gecko, prairie dogs, Geoffroy's marmosets, royal pythons, Cane toad and more. A walk-through butterfly hot-house home to Butterfly and handling areas for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates allow visitors to have direct contact with the animals. four Donkeys and two Jacob sheep can also be seen, along with three emus and two kookaburras called Darwin and Giggles. Also found here are Indian Runner ducks, chickens and turkeys.

Jungle Express Railway

Established in 1965 as "Longleat Railway" and expanded in 1975, the 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. Many engines have run on the railway over the years, both steam and diesel; currently the railway owns three diesel locomotives although only one, Alan Keef built 0-6-0DH "Flynn" is generally used on passenger services. At the far end of the line is a halt platform which is only used for Santa Specials, with a purpose built grotto and a reindeer enclosure.[6][7]

Jungle Cruise

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

A 225,000-litre naturally-themed display which is home to a colony of 30 captive-bred Humboldt penguins. Visitors can watch the penguins from above as well as below the water, through giant viewing windows.

Stingray Bay

A giant, open-topped display housing a selection of marine stingray species including thornback stingrays and undulate rays.

Bat Cave

Home to Egyptian fruit bats, cave fish, scorpions and more.

Other attractions

In the media

The Lions of Longleat

A 1967 BBC One documentary about the newly opened safari park with commentary by Lord Bath and Jimmy Chipperfield.[8]

Lion Country

55-part documentary series broadcast on BBC One in 1998.[9]

Vets in Practice

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

On Safari

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

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

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. Samson, Ian (15 May 2010). "Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  5. "Longleat Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  6. "Jungle Express (Longleat)". Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  7. Profile: Longleat Railway Miniature Railway Magazine Retrieved 26 August 2016
  8. "The Lions of Longleat - BBC One London - 12 November 1967". BBC Genome. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  9. "Lion Country - BBC One London - 16 February 1998". BBC Genome.
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