Friday, 5 October 2018

Family Visit to the British Wildlife Centre, Surrey

British wildlife centre header

My husband loves both photography and animals/ birds, so for his birthday we decided to combine those two things and headed over to the British Wildlife Centre, in Lingfield, Surrey. We didn’t really know what to expect as it didn’t look the biggest place but the reviews on Trip Advisor were very good and that’s always encouraging.

The cost for two adults and to children (a family ticket) was £37.00 and we just hoped that our time there would be worth this cost as well as the two hours round journey. Thankfully we had the most wonderful visit, staying for four hours and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

We arrived just before 1pm and headed straight down to the Dell for the hedgehog talk. I wondered how much interest one tiny animal could hold but it was great, the keeper was really informative, he was easy to hear and understand and I learnt something too. All whilst watching the little hedgehog scampering all over the place. Who knew they were so fast? Then when we got to see the hedgehog up close he was cute beyond words.

Hedgehog

The centre isn’t the biggest place, but it is well set out and I’d say it is perfect for those with pushchairs, wheelchairs, toddlers who want to walk, elderly people or those with limited ability to walk a long way. You feel like you’ve seen loads without having to walk too far at all and there are benches everywhere, it was great. Even on an August bank holiday Saturday the centre didn’t feel too crowded and we were able to see everything and find a seat whenever we needed one.

There are talks and feeding times every half hour, so you can always be doing or learning something if you so wish. We didn’t attend all the talks as we wanted free time to explore ourselves, but we did see the hedgehog, otters and owl flying display and we thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Otter

Otter

Otter

As well as the organised displays and talks you can walk around the enclosures and they’ve tried really hard to ensure you can see the animals whatever the weather, with underground viewing windows into the badger set, a viewing hut for the otter sleeping quarters and a walk-through red squirrel enclosure. I think the only animals we didn’t mange to see where the red squirrels, but everything else was accessible and friendly enough to come to the fences and pose for photos! Of course, you need to make sure any little ones remember not to put their fingers through the fences as these are all still wild animals.

There are a couple of picnic areas at the centre and as I mentioned, dozens of benches, so we ate our lunch whilst we watched the deer’s in their deer park. It wasn’t a deer park like I imagined, that we could take a long walk through, but more a decked observation pier into their park, where you could see them up close, but they couldn’t get to you, so perfect for little ones.

group of red deer

winking deer

We also enjoyed a walk down onto the wetland broadwalk to see the wetland nature reserve, we didn’t spot much there but many children were enjoying watching the enormous carp pop up from the water.

Dad and two girls on wooden walkway

pole cat

I thought it was really clever that over the Stoat and Weasel enclosures, as well as across the dell between the Pine Martins enclosures were mesh tunnels, so you could see the animals running by, really close but again safely for them, where small fingers could not get them.

Wildcat

Badger

Once we’d had a good look around and were waiting for the 4pm owl flying show we headed in to the barn to see the animals that live there - the mice, rats and owls and I have to say I found the rats pretty repulsive but many where enjoying watching them run around the clear tubes in the ceiling.


The adults had a cup of coffee and the kids an ice-cream in the café but due to staff illness there was just one person working that day and service was slow (but friendly). It also meant there was not any hot food on offer, but it was very good that we were informed of this as we arrived, in case it was an issue for us. Luckily it wasn’t as we had bought a picnic with us. We paid £2.50 for a latte and ice creams were reasonably priced. Our girls enjoyed the gift shop a lot and it had a nice selection of items. Miss E purchased a hedgehog teddy for £12.50 and it is great quality and very soft.



Barn owl

Eagle owl

man looking at an owl

Useful Information
Address: Eastbourne Road (A22), Newchapel, Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6LF

Telephone Number: 01342 834658

Opening Days: Every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday Monday, all year round except Christmas and daily during state school holidays. Check the website before travel to be sure though.

Opening hours: February to October: 10am to 5pm, November to January: 10am to 4pm and last admission is one hour before closing

Prices: £11.50 for an adult, £8.50 for a child (3-15 years) and £37 for a family of four. If your child happens to have a Blue Peter badge bring that along as they’ll get in free when you pay entry.

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british wildlife centre pin

Joining up with CountryKids
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Disclosure:  Nothing to disclose as we paid for this visit ourselves, we just had such a nice time that I wanted to share. As always I remain honest and have not been instructed what to write. 
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