Longleat

Warminster Salisbury Wiltshire BA12 7NW

The sixth marquis of Bath earned his reputation for eccentricity when he opened his exceptional Elizabethan stately home to the public in the late 1960s. The landed gentry had barely begun to tut when he recreated an African savannah in the grounds, and created the world’s first drive-through safari park, with the requisite lions, tigers, zebras, white rhinos, giraffe, zebras and monkeys. But Longleat has moved on since then, and there’s a new walk-through meerkat enclosure and a playpark of attractions for younger kids, including a steam railway, safari boat rides and a Postman Pat Village. Everyone overlooks the extraordinary theatrical interiors of Longleat House, which is a shame but probably suits the marquis – perhaps he’s shrewder than they thought.

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