The huge summer party near Bristol with an animal safari with mischievous monkeys

The Summer Party continues this weekend at Longleat Estate and Safari Park
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You’d struggle to find more variety at a West Country attraction than at Longleat Estate and Safari Park’s Summer Party.

From slowly navigating your car around mischievous monkeys to enjoying a tipple from an amazing selection of ciders to sitting back and watching The Coral playing on an open-air stage, Longleat’s summer festival is back with a bang.

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In a long-awaited return from 2019, the summer party is back at the popular attraction less than an hour’s drive from Bristol.

We (me, my partner and two children) arrived mid-morning by car yesterday (June 17) and decided to first go through the huge safari park which you enter through huge sliding metal gates.

It begins with an African Village section where we parked up and took went on a ‘Lemur Walk’ before also seeing pygmy goats and tortoises. Back in the car we started our adventure driving slowly past the huge giraffes which were resting having just been fed (10.30am daily).

Next up was the part we’d been looking forward to; the Monkey Mayhem enclosure. Huge signs warn motorists they enter at their own risk and we saw a few deciding to skip the section, presumably in fear their wipers or wing mirrors could be damaged!

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But for those leaving, that’d be a shame because it was just wonderful. The monkeys are highly intelligent and inquisitive (also sometimes michievous) and it’s incredible to see them come up to your vehicle to check it, and us, out.

And it wasn’t long before we had a couple of ‘riders’. One perched on the wing mirror as we drove along, another two sat on top. Then all of a sudden you’d hear a small thud as they jumped off as something else caught their attention.

A monkey takes a ride on our car through Longleat Safari ParkA monkey takes a ride on our car through Longleat Safari Park
A monkey takes a ride on our car through Longleat Safari Park

As we drove on we also saw groups of mothers with their infants clinging on as they searched for food. It was a great experience and we were sad to leave the enclosure.

The next section was the deer park, where we were able to feed the Red Deer, before the tiger territory, lion country and cheetah kingdom. It was a warm day and as much as we wanted to see the animals moving around, we understood why they were all sleeping in the long grass as we drove around!

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At the end of the safari, we turned toward the huge 16th Century Longleat House which is today the home of the 8th Marquess of Bath and his wife Emma Thynn. On the grounds around it we saw the stage and marquees attached to the attraction’s summer party - and what a party it turned out to be.

Upon parking up, we joined in the circus workshop (which the kids loved) before heading out to explore the attraction’s features which includes the mile-long Longleat Railway, the absolutely huge children’sadventure castle with paddling pools and the hedge maze.

There were also fairground rides at the back of the stage area which were popularThere were also fairground rides at the back of the stage area which were popular
There were also fairground rides at the back of the stage area which were popular

Returning to the party we got ourselves some cocktails (Seb’s Pineapple and Ginger Ice Tea and a Pornstar Spritz) from a cool cocktail vendor inside a VW campervan and enjoyed some chicken and chorizo paella we shared amongst ourselves.

Also available were gyros wraps, toasties, South Africa curry, Thai specialities and churros.

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Then we sat down on a huge grass area surrounded by other families in front of a large open stage - just in time for the headliners The Coral, which kicked off just after 6pm. What an action-packed day!

The Summer Party continues today with The Wurzels and the Lightning Seeds headling on the main stage. Chef James Martin will also be doing demonstrations throughout the day.

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