An Elizabeth Stately Home Surrounded by a Magnificent Safari Park
Longleat House is a fantastic Elizabethan prodigy home. Deliberately ostentatious and unashamedly large and proud. Longleat is typical when the land was confiscated from the church, and then sold cheaply to noblemen. The beneficiaries then had the opportunity and cash to splurge on giant homes; The ‘Prodigy’ House was born.
The beautiful Elizabethan house and park are not just home to Lord Bath, but to Anne, the elephant, Red and, Yana the tigers and two prides of lions. That is just the start of the list of animal residents.
Open since 1966, Longleat was the first-ever safari park outside of Africa. Whether you drive through the safari park, hop on a boat out onto sealion lake and cruise past gorilla island, or explore the historic house and grounds, there is something for everyone to enjoy. As you can see a tour of Longleat is a family experience, our suggested day tour to Stourhead Gardens, Old Wardour Castle and Longleat House. There is enough to see and do at Longleat to spend the whole day; we can tailor a tour to match your preferences.
1st safari park outside Africa
A brief history of Longleat House
Rags to riches
There is proof that you can rise from nothing and became and man of wealth and power in 16th Century England. John Thynne did it, and he started as a clerk of the kitchen at the Tudor Court. He must have fought courageously at the battle of Pinkie against the Scots, John was knighted on the battlefield. After a short spell in the Tower of London, John Thynne started construction on a new house, a grand Renaissance palace.
The 1st Marquess
Thomas Thynne, the 1st Marquess of Bath (1734-1796), became a minister for the colonies, at the time that was America. He promptly lost 700,000 acres of land in North Carolina due to the American War of Independence. King George III took a liking to Thomas and therefore made him 1st Marquess. His contribution was to employ our old friend Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to refashion the deer park. Brown included the vast sheets of water into his designs.
The 2nd Marquess’s son and heir eloped with the local toll-keepers daughter. The young couple fled the country and lived abroad. A true love story; the young aristocratic man who willingly risked his inheritance for the love of a woman. His father tried to do just that but failed. Unfortunately for the son, Viscount Weymouth, he predeceased his father, and therefore Longleat passed to the second son, who died only three months after becoming the 3rd Marquess.
The 4th Marquess
The 4th Marquess transformed the interiors of Longleat, after visiting Renaissance palaces of Europe. Working as a roving, but calm ambassador gave the Marquess access to grand residential mansions and Royal homes. The Marquess travelled on four Grand Tours, which was a post-Oxbridge trip through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of western civilization. During this time, English gentlemen had almost unlimited funds, aristocratic connections and time to roam for years. It was a gap year for the super-wealthy with education as part of the deal. That experience influenced the interiors of Longleat House.
The first safari park
The 6th Marquess was responsible for the first safari park, under the slogan ‘The Lions of Longleat’. The 7th Marquess of Bath who passed on the 4th April 2020 was a much loved eccentric custodian of Longleat. He took the Safari Park to a new level and made this old English estate into a family-friendly extravaganza. There are adventure castles, largest yew hedge maze ever and he painted extraordinary ‘murals’ in his private apartments.
The 8th Marchioness is a delight and did exceptionally well on the original British version of “Dancing with the Stars”, in the UK called “Strictly Come Dancing”. She has an uplifting personality, and therefore it is not surprising to learn she was head girl at Queens Gate School. She plays a roll in running the Longleat Estate and Safari Park.
Our driver-guides can make your experience run smoothly by driving through the enclosures at Longleat.
The most fun and dangerous (for the vehicle) is the drive-through of the troupe of rhesus macaques. They are highly intelligent and very naughty. Most of our cars have panoramic roofs to watch them climb over the top and hang off the wing mirrors; they are funny and alarming at the same time.
Fantastic news, the Amur Tigers have had cubs. Mum and Dad have been at the park for four years as part of a breeding program - It worked. They can get huge, and weigh up to 300kg and run 35 miles per hour. Again our driver-guide will take the strain so you can take a picture or two.
Meet the large males Simba, Harry and Claus. There have been lions here since 1966, and there are two prides in separate enclosures due to their territorial nature.
It is incredible to be able to drive through English grasslands and see rhinos, elephant and zebra. You can do this at Longleat Safari Park.
The House and tours
We can provide a private guided tour through the house and the famous ‘Murals’. We can also offer VIP tours that include up-close-and-personal safari vehicles and a chance to feed the tigers.
Touring and accommodation
Our Tour-Designer team can tailor a day tour from London for you. Our suggested Longleat, Wardour Castle and Stourhead is a fabulous family day out. Make the most of your time and please take a look at our most popular tour of England, the Town and Country Tour. Everything we suggest is customisable and can be tailored to your requirements.
Use the City of Bath as a base and visit Wilton House, used as a film location for many period dramas, including The Crown and Bridgerton. The elegant Cathedral city of Salisbury is a short hop from Longleat. A copy of the Magna Carta is on display in the chapter house. Both Old Wardour Castle and Stourhead are magical places ideal for a picnic.
Stay in a place that makes you feel like you are part of a Jane Austen Movie or Bridgerton film set. That place is the Royal Crescent Hotel – the best location, fine interiors, lovely spa and luxurious rooms. Much of the filming of Bridgerton took place in the elegant City of Bath.
A Magical English Estate with Safari Park
Animal, Art and Heritage Conservation in One Place
- VIP Animal Encounters Available
- Private House Tours
- Private Land Rover Safaris
- Feed the Tigers
- Longest Yew Hedge Maze in the World
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.