Whilst staying at Center Parcs Woburn Forest we made the journey to Woburn Safari Park – a short 10 minute drive away. My husband and I have Bristol Zoo Annual Passes which gives you access to partnered zoos, including Woburn Safari Park, saving quite a bit of money (one of my favourite things, naturally). If you plan on visiting your local zoo more than twice in a year, you should definitely check out their annual scheme and see what extra advantages it gives. We’ve saved so much money this year by buying it! If you don’t have a pass, Woburn Safari Park adult tickets are £24.99, seniors £21.99 and children 3 years old and over are £17.99. We had 12 month old William with us, who was free. Probably for the best since he spent the entire safari section fast asleep! There are various family tickets, upgraded tickets and combo tickets with Go Ape.
We arrived at 10am on the dot – opening time. We’d read this was the least busy time, but since there had been showers on and off and it was a week day I wasn’t too concerned about it being busy. If you’re visiting in the school holidays or on a weekend, it seems like the earlier you go the better you’ll find the queue around the park. The queue for the tickets took a few minutes and then we were off. You can choose whether to do the road safari or the foot section, but I’d recommend going through the road safari first. You can also go back and do it again later if you fancy, but once around was plenty for us. You drive slowly through large sprawling fields with various animals. Quite a lot of them came very close to the car – including having a wolf trying to steal a (dead) pigeon from a bear right in front of us! I loved the bears as they were very active and I love seeing natural behaviour. The lions were also very impressive and sleeping in a pack right next to the road which was a real treat. They didn’t move whilst we were there, but lions are notoriously lazy so that’s not a surprise.
In addition we saw rhinos, zebras, elephants, giraffes, tigers and plenty more from the car.
After the road safari finishes you can choose to exit, go around again, or park up in the car park to head to the foot areas. The foot section is fairly small and simple, but enough to spend a few hours in for sure. You can walk through the wallaby enclosure and the lemur enclosure, take in a seal talk, see the cute penguins and have a hands on experience with some goats, sheep and a pony. Our favourite part was the very final thing we did – feeding the lorikeets who had no qualms about flying down and landing on us en-mass! I would absolutely recommend picking up the pots of food which were two for £1.
The gift shop is huge and there’s also a good size simple cafe and picnic areas around the site. Non-animal wise there are pedal swan boats, a train which takes you around part of the safari area, a small soft play for babies, slides and a bouncy castle. William was 12 months at the time of this visit, so doesn’t really understand what he’s seeing when it comes to animals, but he loved the little soft play and ball pit. The cafe food was very basic cafeteria style and sandwiches and as you expect with a captive audience, a little overpriced, but certainly hot, tasty and perfectly adequate. I had a cornish pasty, my husband had battered fish and chips, whilst my sister in law had vegetable soup and a sandwich. The baby had a little bit of everything off our plates and the food I’d brought with us for him.
We left around 2:30pm after a torrential downpour threatened to wash us away, but had seen everything we wanted to at this point. If the weather had been nicer, we might have gone around the road safari again to finish off but it was time for the baby’s nap by now so the timing worked out perfectly!
We headed back to Center Parcs Woburn Forest for the rest of our break, but if you’re in the area, here are some other amazing things you can do within an hours drive. For the fans of zoos, check out my zoo reviews!