I wanted to get to Longleat around lunchtime, so we set off from Buckinghamshire on Friday morning. The drive was going really well, despite my nerves, until we got diverted as we got closer to Stonehenge. The Ministry of Defense was doing some sort of training thing, so I ended up having to drive through various housing estates to get around the road blocks. It worked out quite well though because I got to drive through some really nice country roads where you could see miles and miles of countryside in all directions.
Once we got to Longleat, we started off with the hedge maze, which is the largest of its kind in the UK. Apparently it takes people 42 minutes, on average, to reach the centre. Seeing this, Quill decided to time us and we ended up completing the maze in 6 minutes. We’re so good. After bragging and gloating a little bit, we went off to see the small animals and the insects. Highlights include watching a butterly hatch out of its cocoon, and Quill trying to get me to hold a tarantula called Amber. I obviously bailed on that.
Next was the boat trip, during which we got to see the lone gorilla on his island, a couple of hippos, and some very greedy sea lions.
Then, after walking around the gardens and spending a while in the bat cave, we finally got onto the safari! I was a little nervous about driving around all of the animals, but obviously they are used to the traffic and they weren’t bothered at all. I actually loved being surrounded by camels, and having a deer almost stick its head in the car.
The lions were one of the highlights of the tour, as there were some pretty young ones in there that were quite playful. We saw a zookeeper try to stop two of them from escaping through the gates. We only caught glimpses of the cheetahs, tigers, and wolves, which was a shame. They were all resting as we were driving through!
After that, it was time to drive to Wedmore, where we were staying. We drove through Wells to get there and saw a tiny amount of the town, and after winding through various tiny villages and hamlets, we reached the cottage.
Magnolia Cottage is a barn conversion, and it’s the most relaxing place to stay. The bedroom, kitchen, and living room are all in one, and then there’s a separate bathroom. The cottage is on a farm, which means it’s really peaceful, and we were pretty much left alone.