This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Longleat Safari Park, and the finale of celebratory events which have been taking place throughout 2016 is the incredible Festival of Light.
When you visit Bath not only is there lots to do in the city itself, but there are also lots of great places nearby that are well worth a visit. If you come to Bath by car, then one day trip we can really recommend is a visit to the Festival of Light at Longleat.
Half an hour from Bath is Longleat estate. The grand house has over 450 years of history within its walls, and some of those walls are really rather unusual - if you’ve never seen Lord Bath’s murals then it’s a must! We’re sure that no other stately home is decorated like it.
Longleat is also home to the world famous safari park, which was the subject for the BBC’s series, Animal Park. At this time of year especially it’s a great place to go because you can see cheetahs, lions, wolves, giraffes, rhino (we won’t list them all) up close but from the warmth of your own car.
Longleat house first opened to the public in 1949, and since then not only have the house, the safari park (opened in 1966) and grounds been a draw for visitors from all over the world, but the estate has expanded to include other attractions. A long-time favourite is its huge hedge maze (the biggest maze in Britain and made up of over 16,000 English yew trees!), and other highlights include its penguin experience, its miniature railway, and the safari boats which take you around the lake and introduce you to Longleat’s sealions and gorillas.
In more recent years Longleat has also become home to fantastic giant lantern displays over the winter period, and this year the Festival of Light is the biggest it’s ever been – it’s the largest Chinese lantern festival in Europe.
The theme of the festival is “All Creature Great and Small”, and, with the help of some of the most well-loved characters of Beatrix Potter (this year is also 150 years since Beatrix Potter was born), the “animal stars will be taking centre stage as we light up Longleat!” Twilight tickets gain you entry to the festival, and most of the other attractions of Longleat, from 3pm until the park’s close at 7pm. Alternatively, a day ticket runs from 10am, when the park opens, until 7pm.
If you’ve not been to Longleat to see the festival yet then we wholeheartedly recommend it. It really is a sight to behold!
(By the way, a good tip if you’re planning on a day trip to Longleat is to book tickets ahead of time online. You get a 10% discount on normal entry if the tickets are booked online and at least one day in advance.)