Longleat Ahoy!

The adventure continues…….. where was I going for my 30th, everyone knew but me! But being in the Wiltshire area, I had an inkling, but it wasnt until we saw the first sign was it confirmed we were going to Longleat! Yes that fabulous safari park that we watched for years on TV! Not only were we going to the Safari Park but we were staying on the estate in one of their cottage, awesome!

A cute cottage but the highlight was definitely the view, through the  garden fence was the Park, giraffes and zebra right up to the garden fence, how amazing. Now I have been on safari in Africa and loved it but you do not get to sit and observe the life of animals like this, they were so close and after the park closes it was magical sitting in the garden with a glass of wine watching animal life unfold. Whats better than watching young giraffe playing chase, the monkey troop going crazy after closing time and keepers trying to herd hoofed animals indoors when it’s all just a big game to the animals.

Just chillin Lemur style

Just chillin Lemur style

Our fabulous vehicle!

Our fabulous vehicle!

Seen as it was my birthday, the being spoilt rotten continued with a VIP tour of the park. This includes going in one of their fabulous zebra print jeeps with a guide and getting to go off-road, up close and personal with the animals. Our guide Steve was fantastic. Having been a zoo keeper for over 20 years he was a font of knowledge and funny! This was a man who enjoyed his job and loved the animals he worked with.

Big kitty!

Big kitty!

Cute!

Cute!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you looking at?!

What you looking at?!

Penguin encounter

Penguin encounter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now as well as the Safari Park, there is an area next to the Big House that houses its smaller animals and Lake cruise. Both are set up to give you full on animal encounters, from walking through the penguin enclosure ( watch out penguin poo is projectile and smelly) to the manta-ray pool. I know some people do not believe in Safari Parks and Zoos, but Longleat was the first Safari Park outside Africa and their work on conservation is vital to keeping species alive especially when maniacs are running around Africa killing animals just for fun or for ‘traditional’ medicine. Not cool! Yes there are places around the world that keep animals in small cages, and they have no form of active life or enrichment but having watched life at Longleat I didn’t see one animal that looked unhealthy or mistreated. Just watching life in the giraffe and zebra field every morning and evening, these were animals going about the life they would lead in Africa and yes they have less space than they would in the Masai or Kruger but they have no threats and enough space from what I could tell for both species to get a good run on.

With Longleats position in Wiltshire its a great base for visiting the surrounding area, one day we went to Bath ( do the park and ride!) and I showed the family around the cute Spa city. But Bristol is also close by and of course you could go to Stonehenge as we did on the way. Wiltshire and the Cotswolds is a font of things to do and see so if you want a base in the area then definitely try here and of course there is also a Centre Parcs.

Bath Cathedral

Bath Cathedral

The fabulous baths of Bath

The fabulous baths of Bath

Fancy a dip

Fancy a dip

Longleat was an amazing treat and definitely somewhere I would want to go back to as an animal lover and now my friends have seen the pictures I am sure someone will find an excuse to celebrate something there!!

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Secret Stonehenge

It has been a while since I properly wrote something on here; I have been rather slack over the summer with so much going on and holidays. It has been a crazy couple of months and there is still so much more going on.

Where shall I start…. I know…. My Birthday, always a good place to start! So it was a decade year this time around, sob, and my lovely family decided to treat me to a fabulous week away to celebrate/ commiserate me turning 30!

My snazzy stonehenge hut!

My snazzy stonehenge hut!

It was a total surprise, so as a control freak it was hard to let someone else take the reins on my holiday planning. However, these guys did good!!! The journey began with a sibling road trip. Trying my very best not to look out of the car window as we three kids drove to the destination the first stop on our tour arrived, Stonehenge. It was very exciting indeed as I have never been before. It was amazing, driving down the road and all of a sudden there on the horizon was the famous, glorious stone ring. It looks exactly as it does in the pictures. So we clambered out of the car (minus the delicious strawberries we picked up from a guy selling them by the side of the road – only in the countryside!) and dashed for the entrance trying to beat the buses full of tourists. It’s a popular spot and there is no way of getting away from the tourists that visit, but it’s not the end of the world.

delicious!

delicious road side treats

ingenious!

ingenious!

Now there are two ways to get up to Stonehenge from the new snazzy visitors centre with its 360 degree view of the stones, you can walk across cow dotted fields or take the little shuttle bus service. We had time limits on the visit as we had places to be so we chose the lazy option and got the bus. Naughty!

Getting off the bus the walking route takes you around the stones, it may have been cloudy but on occasion the clouds cleared and the sun shone through and even more the crowds cleared and there was periods when you could see through the stones and not people, hurrah! As you walk around you cannot help but be amazed at the sure size of the stones, their age and the skill that went into getting them to this spot and carving them. The sheer wonder of this ancient site!

The Glorious Stonehenge

The Glorious Stonehenge

Stonehenge StonehengeIf you are ever in the area then I highly recommend a stop. Even if ancient history isn’t your thing, you have to appreciate the wonder of these things.

Anyway, exiting through the gift shop, where else, we headed back to the car for the next stop on our secret adventure…… lunch! And what a great lunch stop it was, the Lincoln Inn. This is a small local pub that serves delicious food. The staff were friendly and attentive, the food was great and it was in a stunning location. This was of course the location that my parents arrived as a ‘surprise’ …. Not going to lie the table set for five was a giveaway, plus a few other things! But a fabulous gastropub lunch it was.

Setting sail one more, now in convoy, where on earth were we heading……..