If the saying is true, that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the rest of the year, then 2017 is going to be really blooming brilliant.
After an awesome New Year’s Eve spent drinking gin, eating Thai food and playing games at Cat & Alex’s we all hopped in the car and went to Longleat Safari Park for New Year’s Day.
Longleat brings back memories of being about 14 and going there with one of my best friends and her family, and I haven’t been since so it was really nice to return and see how it’s changed in the last 14ish years.
We decided to go for the safari first, which was every bit as brilliant as I remember. You do the whole safari in your own car, except for a small stop off at the African village to start with, and you get given a CD to play which talks you through each area as you drive into it.
The animals just roam free around you, and it really is amazing how close they get to the cars. The lions were incredible and I loved the wolves who definitely looked as if they were posing for photos!
The monkey enclosure is definitely still the best as they leap up onto your car and scamper around. We saw one having a good old chew on a car aerial behind us but luckily our car came out unscathed.
After lots of squealing at the monkeys and some Oohs and Aahs over the wildcats we drove back down to the main entrance area to warm up with a hot, gooey pizza. It was the soggiest day outside, and we got completely soaked at the African village, but we all decided to just go with it anyway, and not let the weather dampen our day.
We bought a couple of brollies and headed to the outdoor maze. I remember the maze seeming so huge as a kid, and it taking us ages to find the middle, but my sense of direction must have improved as I was the second out of our group to make my way through.
After that we went into Longleat House which is stunning, and they had some gorgeous Beatrix Potter ballet costumes on show. There was also a roaring fire at the entrance so we lingered a bit there in an attempt to get dry.
And then it was back outside to check out the Festival of Light. The festival has actually been so popular they’ve extended the dates so it’s running up to next weekend too. It’s so worth a visit – the lights were gorgeous, with a whole garden full of cheeky Beatrix Potter characters.
There was also a section celebrating Longleat’s 50 year anniversary with a huge birthday cake, presents and animals, which was brilliant.
There were New Year’s Day fireworks schedule for 6pm but being pretty cold and wet by that point we decided to head home. Even with the pouring rain, it was such a brilliant day, and if the rest of the year carries on like that we may be rather soggy but we’ll definitely be very happy indeed.