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tried & tested

A wild safari at Woburn

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During May Half Term we were gifted a Family Pass to Woburn Safari Park to do a Tried and Tested review for the website. Having been many times as a child and with my eldest for his 2nd birthday pre-Covid, we were really excited to go back!

The boys were beside themselves with excitement and there was a lot of chat about wanting to see the monkeys climbing all over daddy’s car and “showing their bums!” Lovely!

After a few sat nav postcode fails, we arrived and got through the well-organised entrance quickly. Please note, the website advises to enter the park through the Ridgmont village gate - the postcode being MK43 0TU, so I suggest you use this rather than using google like we did.

Given it was a sunny day in half term, it was very busy, so we did have to queue to get in to, and through the safari. What’s great, is that while you’re queuing, you’re passing through the ‘Savannah Grasslands’ where there are lots of animals to see, so the boys were kept really occupied, spotting elephants, rhinos, buffalos, zebras, ostriches and lots more.

Once we were in to the road safari, we were all desperately trying to be the first to spot one of the tigers. They were being a bit shy, but we did see one sunbathing in a far corner. There are understandably rules to follow when driving around the road safari, including keeping windows and doors closed, and not feeding the animals. There are Rangers in 4x4s around, so there is always someone on hand if you have any issues- such as a confident Rhino getting a bit close to someone’s car! Great to watch if you’re not the one in the car though! The cars all moved round the enclosures well and it was possible to move past cars who were wanting to stop and watch, so we didn’t get too held up.

After the tigers, we saw the wolves (more sunbathing!), but the bears were hiding. We moved on to the Lions’ enclosure and the boys were delighted to see them right in the middle (sunbathing, of course!), so we could see them really well.   

 

Do you know who didn’t have time for sunbathing though? The cheeky monkeys! They did not disappoint- riding around on car wing mirrors and roofs, plus jumping from car to car and even clambering all over the Ranger’s 4x4. The boys were squealing with delight as one slid down our windscreen. I remember the monkey enclosure being the highlight of our trip as children, and I distinctly remember the despair on my dad’s face as his windscreen wipers were pulled around by two monkeys- 2022’s monkeys seems more respectful than their relatives from the 90s though!

What’s great about the driving safari is that you can return to do it throughout your visit and you might see the animals differently every time.

After the driving safari, we passed through ‘Giraffe Junction’ and parked up to have a picnic by the lake before doing the walking safari part of the park. There are lots of picnic benches, so it’s really easy to bring your own picnic, or if you walk further in to the park, there’s the Safari Restaurant, Piglet Pantry and the 2x2 Restaurant, offering snacks, meals and drinks.

The lake has large swan boats that are free to use, and there is also the Great Woburn Railway, which is a train ride around the park. On busy days, there may be long queues for both of these and as the boys are a bit young to happily queue, we weren't able to do them, but having them done them in the past, they’re well worth going on if you can.

 

After lunch, we headed in to the foot safari and saw lots more animals. You can walk through the wallaby and lemur enclosure, and have them hopping about really close to you, which the boys loved. It’s worth mentioning that, at the time of writing this review, everyone, including children, must wear a mask to go in the lemur enclosure due to Covid risks for the lemurs, so it’s worth bringing masks with you to save the huge number of disposable masks that are readily available from the park attendant at the entrance to the enclosure, so that everyone can enjoy the experience.

There’s an outdoor playpark next to the Lemur enclosure that the boys had a great time on, then we were marched to the indoor soft play for more running around. It was very busy in the soft play and it’s hard to keep an eye on your child, or get to them on the structure, so it might be one to try to avoid when it’s busy. I found it stressful having lost my 5 year old at one point. It’s a great structure though with big slides too.

 Another highlight was watching the Sealions having a swim in their pool as the viewing window was the perfect height and size for the boys to see them underwater.

There are shows throughout the day, so we watched a few, including the parrots and lemurs (we were gutted to miss the Sealions), whilst also walking around seeing the animals- there’s lots to see and do!

Back near the lake, there’s a The Giraffe Trail High Ropes experience that you pay extra for. It’s for kids aged 5-12 and the instructors give a full introduction and each child is clipped into a harness and safety line from start to finish. We didn’t do the experience, but it looked great!

There’s another small play park in the centre of the High ropes experience, as well as a maze, so it’s ideal to keep a younger sibling entertained, whilst the older one goes on the High Ropes.

You can easily spend a whole day at Woburn, with so much to see and do. I like how you have both the driving experience plus the foot safari, as it’s such a rare thing to be able to get up so close to the animals without being the other side of a cage.

I would definitely go back to Woburn, but my tip would be to go outside of the holidays, especially if you have little ones, so you can easily do more of the activities, and move round the safari quicker.

Please also check out the Reel on my Instagram page and don’t forget to share this review if you’ve found it helpful.


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