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Longleat Christmas. Best plan for the day?

(40 Posts)
Funkybutnot Sun 15-Dec-13 11:36:46

We are visiting next weekend for the day and trying to work out the best way to plan. It's going to take us 3.5-4 hrs to get there.

I'm thinking leaving at 9 to get there for 1.

Enjoy the safari first,
packed lunch,
Walk through the house,
Boat, maze, butterfly house etc,
Santa train at 5,
Singing Christmas tree.

Does that all sound doable to the ones that have already done it this year?
Our days are always planned as accurate as possible to help DD as she doesn't like any changes.

Marne Sun 15-Dec-13 11:40:41

Tbh I would leave earlier, we go there in the summer and get there early and still don't get enough time to do everything. I'm thinking it will probably be quite busy with all the extra Christmas things going on and you may have to queue for a few things.

Bearbehind Sun 15-Dec-13 11:45:46

Is there any chance you can stay somewhere closer the night before?

A minimum of 7-8 hours round trip (not allowing for hold ups) on top of a really busy day at Longleat sound like the stuff of nightmares. You'll never get round all that in 4 hours- it will be busy and you'll have to wait to do things.

Funkybutnot Sun 15-Dec-13 11:54:24

We are staying up there on the night we are visiting as it would get to late for DCs and DD will need her medication etc.

Maybe leave a bit earlier then or just not do some off the activities once we are there? What activities are a must? We might leave maze and park.

Rosvita Sun 15-Dec-13 12:53:58

Hi as pp have said you def need to get there before 1pm. We went a couple of weeks ago and we're there from just a after open at 10ish right through til 6pm.for a start they close entry to the safari at 2pm and it takes a good 2 hours to get around (if you've done the safari lots of times before then perhaps you could miss it?-although we have done it before dd was older this time and really loved the monkeys climbing all over the car!)anyway we did Santa train first thing then ate our lunch whilst we were going round the safari then back to look round the panto house and then let the kids play in the park before our ice skating slot at 4.30 (great time as was starting to get dark and they put he fairy lights on around the rink).then we had tea in the cafe (kids are free) before going home.We didn't manage to fit in the maze or seeing the other animals on foot...
Have a great time though-we loved it.

MichaelFinnigan Sun 15-Dec-13 13:01:54

We wre there from 10am to 6pm and didn't see everything

And the Santa train was running 45 mins late which to had to choose between that and our skating slot. They were a bit shit about it which I'm still sore about

We were underwhelmed by the house, but then we've been before. It was very busy and a bit of a conveyor belt. The penguins are great. The adverture playground had large parts closed - the walkways for example which was disappointing. If you're pushed for time why not have your picnic in the car as you do the safari? Which has a last entry at 2pm

Littlemousewithcloggson Sun 15-Dec-13 13:14:29

Went last weekend, it was great. All usual outdoor activities close at 4 which was a nightmare as there was nothing to do for an hour until the singing Christmas tree and the restaurants were packed! We went back to see the house for a second time but again was packed and slow moving. We had done the house in the morning and it was great. Hardly any people there and all the panto characters talked to my kids loads and they had photos taken with all of them. In the afternoon they just waved and hurried people along. Safari is last entry at 2 and there was a last minute rush to get in. If I was doing it again I would go straight to the safari - the first part is walk through so can stretch legs - and then to house and other activities. I would either take a picnic tea to eat in the car at 4pm or go ice skating then if not booked to see father Christmas then and finish off with the singing tree, first show is either 5 or 5.30 but worth waiting for. Hope that helps

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Sun 15-Dec-13 13:20:38

There is no way on earth you could fit all of that in even on an ordinary full day!

We have found that in one whole day we can fit safari, lunch, maze, boat ride and a look around the around the little animal bit.

Will the butterfly house have butterflies in at this time of year?

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Sun 15-Dec-13 13:23:21

I would leave out the maze. It can consume vast amounts of time and energy.

RiojaHaze Sun 15-Dec-13 13:33:03

There are little bits you can miss out too. The deer part of the safari is a bit boring plus there's a walk in and feed the deer part by the castle.
The postman pat village is a bit pants, butterflies too and the bat cave is best avoided if any of you are a bit panicky. My kids refuse to go in there!

Penguins and meerkats are both must sees as is the owls in flight show.

Katieweasel Sun 15-Dec-13 18:21:14

We went yesterday and had a fab time. Last entry to Safari was at 2pm and last entry to other bits was 4pm. We are local so go fairly regularly and so we were happy to miss the safari. We love the safari boat so always head there first to avoid queues, although yesterday there wasn't one. It's a £1 to feed the sea lions. They sell fish once you get to the gorilla enclosure. Make sure you're near the front of the boat as they only have a limited amount of fish per boat. The penguins are a definite must but the best bit for me were the new Stingrays. They were gorgeous! House is nice and great to warm up in as got fairly cold. We did the ice skating. If you have booked get there at least half hour before your session as limited amount of seal skating aids and huge queues for skates. My advice is to avoid maze and park if you have limited time. Also take a flask as I queued for 40mins in costa!

MichaelFinnigan Sun 15-Dec-13 19:23:45

God yes, if you're skating with small kids / non skaters go directly to the rink and book your seal before doing anything else!! Made such a difference having one this year

cazza2878 Sun 15-Dec-13 19:33:58

We've just been and you definitely need to go much earlier than 1pm. Safari entrance closes at 2pm and most other things at 4pm.

Funkybutnot Sun 15-Dec-13 19:42:41

Ok. Thank you all for your replies. Will defiantly leave earlier and try and get there for 11:30. We will not be skating as DD would struggle even with an aid, she tried last week and wasn't fussed at all.

The safari, house and tree is a must for us, what else is a must?
Is it very busy there at Christmas?

JGBMum Sun 15-Dec-13 19:44:58

If you are staying locally overnight, can you go back the next morning rather than try to do everything in 1 day?

Funkybutnot Sun 15-Dec-13 19:48:19

Oh I right in saying that you get the pass and they just press before each activity? So could us over 2 days?

Bluebell99 Sun 15-Dec-13 19:53:32

We have annual passes to Longleat. I would recommend getting there as early as you can and going through the safari first. Stop at the African village for picnic and walk through with the lemurs, and wallabies if you want, but lemurs are more entertaining. I wouldn't bother driving through the deers. After the safari, I would head for the boat ride, you can pay a £to feed the sealions. Then I would go to the penguins, and again feed them. Feeding the lorikeets is also good. Also good is the walk through with the meerkats. The house and bat cave are open late, so do those later. Singing tree is every half an hour from 5? The first show is very busy but later is quieter. Have fun. smile

Bluebell99 Sun 15-Dec-13 19:56:21

You can buy a two day ticket, I think to return the next day. They stopped doing the ticket which got stamped for each activity a few years ago.

JGBMum Sun 15-Dec-13 20:09:20

I don't know what your budget is, but if you can't use your ticket over 2 days, can you stay somewhere locally on Friday so you get the whole day on Saturday?
Eg premier inn at frome or trowbridge, both are reasonable cost for next Friday, and are only about a 20 minute drive from Longleat.

curiousgeorgie Sun 15-Dec-13 22:56:20

I went yesterday, and it takes us about 3 hours to get there.

We left at 9, got there at 12.

Did safari, then had costa and a walk around (Christmas fayre part a bit rubbish), maze took 5 minutes ( maybe less...) Then did the Santa train at 4 and left right after to try and miss some traffic and my baby was freezing!!

Santa train was very very cold and the other end was very very muddy... Take appropriate footwear and hats, scarves, gloves etc.

(Don't flame me but I thought it was a bit of a letdown and I was so looking forward to it!)

Marzipanface Wed 18-Dec-13 09:57:33

i went last weekend. You need to get there much earlier!

Safari closes at 2. Jungle kingdom - zoo bit around the house is v good but closes at 4pm.

I would do the house between 4 and 5.

we have annual passes so go regularly. I have to say I think Christmas at Longleat is a rip-off for those without passes. So expensive for what you actually get.

Rosvita Wed 18-Dec-13 10:03:00

I used our clubcard vouchers so paid £56 in total for is all as a family of 4 which included entry,Santa train and ice skating session.I thought that was reasonable but the original £108 would have made it quite a lot more expensive especially once you added in packed lunch,dinner,coffee and petrol costs!

Funkybutnot Sat 21-Dec-13 14:40:30

Thank you all for your replies...but we are not going DS has the stomach bug or migraine! Bless him.

Going to phone tomorrow to swap for another date after Christmas but our travelodge isn't refundable. Grrrr.

lapetitesiren Sat 21-Dec-13 14:45:35

Sell your travelodge on ebay,?

Funkybutnot Sat 21-Dec-13 16:54:22

Thank you, didn't think of that!!

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