Festival of Light Review | Longleat Safari Park

Festival of Light Review | Longleat Safari Park

On Saturday 16th November, I finally visited Longleat’s Festival of Light event. After many years of wanting to go, I planned ahead this year & tickets were booked for my birthday weekend. I couldn’t wait. If you’re a theme park geek like myself, this is a perfect closed season trip to undertake. Longleat Safari Park is located just outside Warminster in Wiltshire. Right opposite Longleat Centre Parcs in Longleat Forest. There’s a lot to see and do at the park. And with the Festival of Light event, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular among guests. Of course any event has its high and low points. So let’s crack on with my full review of Longleat Festival of Light.

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Highlights from Longleat’s Festival of Light…

Beautiful Lanterns

I was in awe at the number of lanterns they had. Considering there were probably around 100 different lanterns in total! I thought they had a dedicated area for all the lanterns. Nope, they were dotted everywhere. This actually made it into an all-encompassing event where you truly felt immersed in the park. Nothing impacted the areas near any animal enclosures which was great. You can tell they’ve worked hard to ensure this event flowed as well as it could. From 4.30pm, the lanterns were turned on and it truly felt like a winter’s event. The theme for 2019 was Myths and Legends. Regardless of whether a theme is your favourite or not, you will still have a fantastic time regardless.

Safari Park & Animal Encounters

The Safari Park is an expansive area with a wide range of animals to see from the comfort of your car (or from a VIP truck – there is an extra charge for this). It’s best to allocate at least 3 hours for the Safari. Not only does it cover a vast area of land, but there’s also a stop-off point in the African Village featuring a shop, toilets, cafe and Lemur walkthrough. Not only that but once you’ve exited the Safari Park, your day doesn’t end there. There’s plenty more animals to encounter including Crocodiles, Bats, Koalas, Lorikeets and many more. Plus, there’s a Jungle Cruise located towards the back end of the park. Sadly we didn’t get to go on this during our visit as the queue was horrifically busy. Fingers crossed we can go on this on our next visit!

Projection Mapping

The projection mapping on Longleat House is new for 2019, and boy, I’ve seen projection mapping done really well along my travels. This is up there as one of my favourites. The facade of Longleat House is beautiful enough on its own but the projection mapping at night really adds to the atmosphere. It can be easy to miss if guests aren’t heading towards the front of the house once the lanterns have been turned on. Projections on the house included star constellations, mythical creatures and legends. It was beautifully portrayed and I couldn’t stop watching (and taking photos). If you are heading to Longleat Festival of Light this year, do not miss this!

Pizza Piazza

There’s plenty of eateries around the park which is very important when it comes to feeding the family. One place that delivered high-quality food, fantastic customer service and an all-round great experience was Pizza Piazza. This place was quite hidden without the help of the park map. Serving a fab range of Pizzas & meal deals. It’s perfect for families on a budget. The average price was around £10 for a Margherita Pizza, £14 for a Texas BBQ/Meat Feast Pizza and £2.50 for either a soft drink or hot beverage. Meal Deals were also available from £15 to £25 depending on your group size. The food was high quality and incredibly filling, highly recommend. If you’re on the move, you can have a takeaway which I think is fantastic for families/groups on the move or if you can’t find a table to sit at during busy periods.

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Lowlights from Longleat’s Festival of Light…

Too busy

Okay, I understand that this event has grown in popularity over the years. Saturday’s visit was incredibly busy. It was very difficult to enjoy the experience without getting in people’s way or trying to manoeuvre the crowds. I’m not a huge lover of crowds anyway and can get very overwhelmed in these situations. However, there was a distinct lack of crowd control. Having more marshalls in different places to help ease congestion. A lot of people were standing in the way or stopping in awkward spots. Consequently, this meant us photographers couldn’t get the shot we wanted. If you are a family with young children, please keep in mind how busy certain areas get. If you can, please keep your children close at all times or try to wait until a quieter period.

A lot to cover in one day

Take it from me, you’ll need a plan to make the most of your day at Longleat. We arrived at Longleat around 12pm so didn’t get a full day at the park. Longleat opens at 10am, Safari Park opens from 9.30am. There is a LOT to cover if you really want to make the most of your visit. Aside from the Jungle Cruise and Longleat House, we still covered at least 85% of the park. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to attend in the future. The main Festival of Light event gives you around 3 hours to walk the park and see the lanterns. The lanterns are switched on around 4.30pm. I believe this is ample time to take photos and see them all. With plenty of planning before your visit, you’ll be able to enjoy everything that Longleat has to offer.

Lack of signposts

For an event that becomes incredibly busy at this time of year, the signposts around this park are either too small to see or lacking in different areas. Whilst you have a park map to guide you, it’s still tricky to find what you are looking for. The layout of Longleat Adventure Park isn’t very logical in my opinion. There’s a lot of different walkways that steer off the main path. Some places seem hidden away so make sure you have that park map handy! Some temporary event signage to guide people around the park would help massively. This would help with the crowd control as there were a lot of people stopping in the middle of pathways looking lost. Given the number of guests on park, this caused a lot of congestion and didn’t help with the flow for people who were looking for shops, toilets and food places.

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Despite the lowlights, I had a great time and would definitely recommend this event for anyone who’s looking for a weekend day trip with family & friends. Travelling from afar? There’s plenty of places to stay in the nearby area including Warminster, Salisbury and more. If this is your first time, enjoy it and make sure to allocate at least 3 hours for the Safari Park – it’s big!

Longleat Festival of Light runs on selected dates from 9th November to 5th January 2020. Hurry, tickets are selling fast and you don’t want to miss out on this amazing event – buy tickets on their website or find out more about the Festival of Light here.

That’s all for now!Lottie xoxo

 

September Holiday | Trip Lowlights

September Holiday | Trip Lowlights

So I may have written about my highlights to my September road trip last month, which you can read here. I don’t want to put a downer on what was a fab holiday. I feel the need to write down my thoughts on the disappointments during my trip. We visited some brilliant parks. Some of which were new to me and have been on my list of MUST VISIT parks. I was left feeling somewhat disappointed and wanting more from them. Just thinking about it makes me want to groan. So let’s crack on to my September Holiday trip lowlights below.

Movie Park Germany

I didn’t have high expectations for this park. I thought I was going to have a decent day out here at least. Sadly, the weekend we visited the park it was also the Nickelodeon Slime Fest event. This meant the Crazy Cops Stunt Show was not running. GUTTED! I don’t really understand how a park that should have some standout rides (except for Van Helsing’s Factory & maybe Star Trek to some extent), can have some truly bad rides.

Yes, I’m talking about Bandit. It was SO bad and it’s been re-tracked. Dear god, I dread to think how bad it was before. I’ve never done a woodie that makes you rattle out of your seat so much. This made the woodies in Blackpool seem smooth. The John Cleese dark ride was laughably bad and insanely rough. High Fall, I’ll write about below. The general theming around the park looked great. We were lucky enough to see their Halloween theming too! I was left feeling marginally disappointed. I’m not in any real rush to return unless a decent cred is built in the near future.

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Spiteful SLC

MP Express at Movie Park Germany. CLOSED. Okay, this may be out of the park’s control. However, I have to include this in my lowlights. Any avid cred counting enthusiast knows being spited by a cred is not great, especially during a road trip abroad. I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or annoyed being spited by an SLC. On the one hand, I wanted to tick off all creds at the park. On the other hand, I’ve heard MP Express is one of the worst SLC’s out there. Maybe with the exception of Condor at Walibi Holland. I suppose this gives me a reason to return to the park for their Halloween event. Hopefully, I won’t get spited!

Bobbejaanland

The park was bland. It had bland rides, except maybe Fury. Honestly, it felt odd and uneventful. That is the best way for me to describe Bobbejaanland. I spent a total of 4 hours here. That was to tick off the 8 creds and experience some of the attractions around the park including Indiana River. It’s an Intamin log flume so just expect you WILL get wet. I don’t really have much to say about this park. There’s a pretty lake in the middle of the park and the new Land of Legends area looks pretty damn sweet theming wise. Other than that, it’s a basic park that reminds me of a creation I would make in RCT. If I had to rank the parks in order of my favourites, this would be at the bottom.

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High Fall, Movie Park Germany

Before I begin, I want to say that as I’m writing this (Saturday 21st September), my arse/tailbone is still sore from this monstrosity of a ride. I’ve had people tell me this wasn’t a nice drop tower. I bloody hate the things anyway. So why did I do this?! I always give new drop towers I haven’t done before a one time ride. BIG REGRET. High Fall shouldn’t exist, at all. For a stand-up style drop tower, this hurts. The forces as you lift from your seat during the descent, before you slam back into the hard plastic seat from the late brakes, makes you question how it’s still running. Whilst you get some fab views of Movie Park Germany and surrounding areas, I don’t think this was worth it. If you are visiting, don’t do it.

Loud school children

I know I have a low tolerance for children at the best of times. Why do school children on the continent feel the need to SHOUT to all their friends, everywhere they go. I’ve experienced school groups here in the UK. They are not nearly as loud. I understand that kids are super excited to go to theme parks for their school trips. Believe me, I loved the end of school year theme park trips I did! However, kids don’t need to shout across a ride station. Especially when their friends are literally feet away from them. It annoyed me slightly since I wanted to enjoy listening to the music of Fenix‘s station, and I couldn’t with the station being filled with kids from all directions. Maybe I’m just destined not to like kids at all ha!

These are only the main lowlights as all in all. The holiday was fantastic and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, not all holidays are perfect. Sometimes your expectations get soured due to park availability or painful rides. Or SPITE. Sometimes you gotta let the bad things pass and focus on all the positives.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo