To wander through the sweeping corridors and grand rooms of Longleat House is to be transported back in time. Exploring this stunning example of high Elizabethan architecture – and the Capability Brown landscaped grounds surrounding it – is a day out in itself. It was substantially completed by Sir John Thynne in 1580. And today, his descendants are still lucky enough to call it their home. Though Longleat may be best known for its Capability Brown landscape, it also has a rich tradition of more formal gardens. The first real champion of these was the 1st Viscount Weymouth. He commissioned George London to transform and extend the 14 acre orchard on the east side of the house into an impressive Baroque style garden, filled with canals, parterres, statues and fountains. In the 1730s this garden was refashioned in the new Rococo style – and even housed a menagerie of exotic animals created for the 2nd Viscount.
Nowadays most of the formal gardens lie to the north of Longleat House – an area planted and designed by the 2nd Marchioness in 1805 following the introduction of the stables and Orangery by the architect, Wyatville. You can enjoy a coffee in The Orangery and look out over the romantic Love Labyrinth or go exploring in the Secret Garden designed by Russell Page. And don’t forget to visit some of the newer additions like the Sun Maze and Lunar Labyrinth, both of which can be accessed through the charming Peacock Garden which boasts some truly impressive topiary.
All aboard! Welcome to the Longleat Railway, our very own 15 inch narrow gauge minature railway, running every year since 1965.... Older than even the Safari Park! Jump on board us on a 1 ¼ mile journey round the park’s scenic woodland? Once you arrive at Longleat Central station, you will then board a train painted in traditional railway livery. Make sure you have your cameras ready for the incredible views as you trundle along the edge of Half Mile Lake. Keep an eye our and you may catch a glimpse of our resident Californian sealions or Spot and Sonia, our two Ugandan hippos. They can walk the length of the lake without surfacing for air, so keep your eyes peeled. Whether your train heads into the woods first or up the hill to the lake, all trains return to Longleat Central.
Boat Trip on the Lake
A further attraction is a trip on the lake. Plus, Longleat's eagle-eyed keepers will be on hand to point out the lake's residents.
This event is over.