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24 September 2014

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Spend a day at Longleat
Longleat House
Longleat House
To accompany the launch of a 'Days Out' section at BBC Wiltshire, we spent a day at the County's most famous attraction, Longleat.
audio Wach a Points West report on the new Longleat attraction - 'The Ugh Show' (499k)
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Longleat Safari Park is open from 5th April - 2nd November 2003, 10am - 4pm and 10am - 5pm weekends, bank holidays and during school holidays.

Longleat House is open until 31st December 2003. Easter to September 10am - 5.30pm. Rest of year guided tours at set times between 11am - 3pm.

Longleat is just off the A36 between Bath and Salisbury.

Longleat was voted UK Family Attraction of the Year 2002.

A Longleat Passport costs £16.00 for adults and £13.00 for Children/Senior Citizens. Special rates for groups.

Dogs are welcome on leads in the grounds. They are not allowed in the attractions, guide dogs exempt. Free kenneling is available during Safari Park visits

There are baby changing facilities in the grounds.

There are a number of different areas for refreshment - The Cellar Cafe offers light lunches and cream teas, the Wessex Pavilion offers hot meals, drinks and snacks and there are snack kiosks around the main square.
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Set in 9,000 acres of rolling countryside and just a few miles from the Wiltshire market town of Warminster, lies the Longleat estate.

The estate consists of 4,000 acres of let farmland, 4,000 acres of woodland, which includes a Center Parcs holiday village and a further 1,000 acres of 'Capability' Brown landscaped parkland.

The story began when Longleat House was built in 1540 after a former employee of King Henry VIII - John Thynn, purchased the ruins of a priory for £53.

After the first house was destroyed by fire, Thynn bought a quarry of Bath stone and rebuilt it.

The house and estate has remained in the Thynn family through the years and each successive generation has added their own personal flourishes.

The current incumbent, the 7th Marquess of Bath, Alexander Thynn's contribution has been to create his own colourful murals which decorate the family apartments.

In 1949, Longleat became the first stately home to open to the public and since then the entire estate has grown to become Wiltshire's foremost tourist attraction.

Available during the tourist season is the Longleat Passport. The Longleat Passport includes entrance into all 12 of the Longleat attractions. If you don't get time to visit all the attractions in one day, you can retain the passport and return at a later date and continue your exploration, however, each attraction can be visited only once.

The camels at Longleat
The camels at Longleat don't care where they sit!

Longleat's main draw is its Safari Park, the UK's very first such enclosure which opened in 1966.

Visitors to Longleat can drive their cars through the park and observe all manner of exotic wildlife up-close. These include the famous 'Lions of Longleat' and several Tigers such as 'Chandi' a rare white female Tigress.

Also to be seen as you drive through the park are mischievous Rhesus Monkey's (who can be guaranteed to inquisitively clamber onto your vehicle!) as well as herds of Giraffes, Zebra, Rhinos and Camels.

Longleat deer
Hand feed the deer at Longleat

Deer have been kept on the Longleat Estate for more than 450 years and prove to be the most benign of animals on display. Visitors can buy Deer feed at £1 a cup and hand-feed it to the Deer as you pass through their enclosure.

A Safari boat is also on hand to ferry visitors past Seals, Rhinos and the Gorillas, Nico and Samba, who live on their very own island.

The State Dining Room in Longleat House
Longleat House's State Dining Room

Those interested in English heritage will find Longleat House itself, overwhelming. The magnificent stately home is a historical paradise of beautiful Elizabethan architecture, priceless antiques, paintings, heirlooms and furnishings.

You will feel that time truly has stood still as you wander round the much-loved home of Lord Bath.

Find Daleks in the Dr Who exhibition
Find Daleks in the Dr Who exhibition.

Attractions around the grounds include the nostalgia-fest that is the Dr Who exhibition. Be propelled back to the days when you hid behind the sofa, when after entering through the TARDIS doors, you come face to face with among other intergalactic foes - the fearsome Daleks and Cybermen.

Get up close and personal with Parrots, Chipmunks, Chinchillas and other cute birds and animals in Pets Corner. The 'Meet the Creatures' talks from Longleat animal experts will prove fun and educational to younger visitors.

Jump aboard the mini-railway for a 12-minute trip to Half-Mile lake and back, then pop into the hot and humid Butterfly Garden and see all manner of beautiful species of Butterfly.

Children love Longleat, so let them join Postman Pat and his cat Jess in the miniature village of Greendale or get lost in the World's Longest Hedge Maze - one of six mazes to be enjoyed at Longleat.

A recently added attraction is the Blue Peter Children's Maze, designed by nine-year-old Kathryn Bell from Essex.

This is the latest addition to the turrets and rope bridges of the Adventure Castle.

Also returning for a second year is 'The UGH! Show’, a live interactive show where visitors will be able to rate creepy creatures by their level of sliminess, fear factor and scariness!

Brave volunteers among the audience will get the chance to assist Professor Ugh in some of his madcap experiments!

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