Wildlife and nature have long captured the imagination of Brits. While the country is blessed with some of the best natural parks in Europe that attract visitors from Britain and abroad all year long, more exotic experiences like a safari adventure are also high on the list for many wilderness enthusiasts. Luckily, the UK is also home to some of the best – and here are our top 3 picks.
Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, Stirling
Did you know that there are elephants in Scotland? Blair Drummond Park is home to the only representatives of the species to be found on Scottish ground – along with more than 30 other species. They are really focused on promoting a conservationist approach and take care of a combination of animals that are both native and exotic. They also make an effort to provide an experience that is both fun and educative for both adults and children and provide a great array of guided tours and activities.
Here you will have the chance to mingle with domestic animals in a petting farm that will allow you to get close and cuddle with livestock. And of course you can take a tour of the usual suspects and then some: from lions and tigers to meerkats and penguins the park provides a full experience. Beyond that, you will also have the opportunity to see some more rare animals, like alpacas, kudu, eland and bisons – so if you are looking for something more unusual, this is the park for you.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, Wiltshire
They say that you only need your imagination to take you where you want to be – and there are countless ways to infuse your life with a little bit of safari. For instance, games like the safari expansion of the popular board game Jungle Speed or online games like Safari Bingo – which, interestingly, is one of the oldest online bingo sites, attesting to the appeal of its theme – are a good place to start. But if you want a taste of the real thing, you need not take a trip to Africa; you merely have to go as far as Bath.
There you will find Britain’s first – and according to many, best – safari park: Longleat. Situated just an hour’s drive from Bath (so perfect for a day trip if you find yourself in the city) stand 900 acres of vast, magnificent gardens that house the Longleat Safari and Adventure Park. You can start off at the African Village to spot giraffes, pygmy goats, zebras and warthogs, and rub shoulders with wallabies and lemurs. Then you need to return to your car to take a safe closer look at the lions and tigers and visit the Wolf Wood, too. You’ll also get a chance to visit the Cheetahs’ Kingdom, where the world’s fastest land animal lives, as well as the Big Game Park for a closer look at the white rhinos and the hippos.
Longleat is home to over 1,000 animals, including Europe’s oldest gorilla, Nico, and Anne the Elephant, who was rescued from a circus and now lives gloriously in the park. And if you want to get an even closer look, there are VIP 4×4 tours available – what more could you ask for?
Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire
The Woburn Safari Park is part of the greater Woburn Estate, including the Woburn Abbey, Gardens and Deer Park and the Woburn Golf Club – so this is the perfect option if you are travelling in a large group where people tend to prefer different things. It is home to the UK’s first Treetop Adventure: a 2-3 hour experience that will see you swinging along trees, wander through rope bridges and crossings and of course leap off the Tarzan Swing – all high up on tree tops.
You can take a road trip to the Savannah to spot the rhinos and the giraffes or on the Northern Plains to see wild horses and bisons, or walk on foot to see colourful Macaws, giant tortoises and yellow mongoose. You can also catch a sea lion demonstration – including one of the Park’s stars, Californian sea lion Monica – or see Noku, one of three African Crested Porcupines down at Desert Springs, napping and enjoying treats from guests.
So if you are a wildlife enthusiast, there is really no excuse for not giving yourself a treat by taking a trip in one of these – or many other – safari resorts right here in Britain!