The Longleat Residence
Until 1949 no noble residence in the United Kingdom had ever opened its doors to the general public.
The Longleat Residence remained a family home to three generations for the Thynn family before the marquises of Bath, in order to break this taboo, opened up the doors to the Longleat residence and revealed a masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture hard to compete with. The majestic façade of the palace, completed by R. Smythson, presents the typical canons of the Italian Renaissance, with four front porches and three orders of windows. In the park, which now houses a Safari Park, there is Great Britain's largest labyrinth and eighteenth-century gardens designed by Brow, an 18th-century landscape architect.
The interiors also reveal a renaissance taste and preserve important works of art, including paintings by from the late 1700s and precious 16th-century tapestries from Belgium as well as refined Chinese ceramics. The visit of the palace continues with the State Drawing Room, with splendidly frescoed ceilings, paintings by Titian and other important artists. By visiting the Lower Dining Room and the State Dining Room, one can see paintings from the 17th and 19th centuries which kept company to the guests during the sumptuous banquets that were set up in these rooms. I found the Red Library particularly remarkable with its golden ceiling and its over 40 thousand volumes, one of the richest private collections of books in Europe it seems, or so I heard from the audio guide which visitors can borrow while visiting the property. In the main salon there is a monumental fireplace copied from the Palazzo Ducale in Venice and extraordinary tapestries and canvases on the walls.
The Longleat Adventure and Safari Park
This park offers truly great facilities for corporate events and that’s how I got to visit it, on a networking event.
The Longleat mansion, its gardens and its world-famous safari park offer a wide variety of packages and corporate facilities from which to choose from and, whether you want to have fun outdoors with a wide range of activities to encourage team spirit, or take it easy in one of the elegant meeting rooms, Longleat is the ideal place to be.
It is also a worldwide famous tourist attraction featuring different areas such as the Jungle, the Animal Adventure safari and The African Region together with many more areas where animals are free to roam around.
It is possible to see monkeys, rhinos, camels and deer and it is also possible to visit the Big Cats enclosure where you can observe tigers, lions and cheetahs.
It is possible to jump on board the Longleat Railway for an exciting ride around the park or take a trip on the Jungle Cruise boat, to view sea lions as they swim alongside.
One can feed lorikeets exploring the Monkey Temple before visiting Penguin Island for an encounter with these remarkable creatures.
Longleat hosts many special events throughout the year, including many food fairs and the hot air balloon festival called Sky Safari, which is the largest annual balloon event.
If you’re visiting over the holiday period, you’ll be truly enchanted by the ever-popular Festival of Light.
I have just visited it and the grounds are so magic and alive with colour and lights displaying giant Chinese lanterns and lit characters across the park.