West Midland Safari Park
Home to Indian rhinos, buffalo, zebra, and endangered camels, this drive-through safari park near Birmingham has some of the most amazing lodges where you can experience the animals overnight. There are eight lodges and two cottages each authentically themed, with thatched roofs and nestled into the walk-through Discovery Trail. Each lodge has spectacular views of either the elephant or cheetah habitats. The new elephant paddock also has a drinking pool, with the lodges positioned on the other side of the pool, so you can see the elephants playing while seated on your private deck or through the large floor-to-ceiling windows in the open-plan sitting or dining area. Cheetah Lodge also has large windows for watching the cheetahs watching you! The new Red Panda cottages allow you to enjoy these endangered mammals playing right outside your windows.
• Elephant Lodges cost from £171 per adult, £147 per child, including breakfast, dinner, two-day admission to West Midlands Safari Park and attractions and ride wristbands for the Adventure Theme Park (in season). Red Panda Cottages cost from £850 (sleeps five). Visit Safari-lodges.co.uk for more information or to book.
Chessington World of Adventures, Safari Hotel
Enjoy a stay in a safari-themed hotel after a busy day exploring Chessington Zoo. Your overnight stay includes entry to the zoo, where you’ll find western lowland Gorillas, sea lions, Amur tigers, Rothschild’s giraffes and more. The zoo itself is split up into several areas – Trail of the Kings, Sea Lion Bay, Children’s Zoo, Amazu, Penguin Bay and the Wanyama Village and Reserve, as well as a Sea Life Centre aquarium. The hotel has several themed rooms you can choose to stay in, including Giraffe, Tiger, Zebra and African Adventure. And a visit to the unique Zafari Bar & Grill, which has a stunning terrace with views across the animal reserve, is a must.
• Chessington World of Adventures are offering an overnight Safari hotel stay, with prices starting from £299 per family. Price is based on a family of four sharing a Giraffe-themed room during a midweek break in October. Visit Chessington.com to find out more or book.
If it’s beautiful surroundings you’re after, then Longleat has that and more, including a 16th-century manor house. Situated between Bath and Salisbury, the reserve is home to acres of parkland where the animals roam. Enjoy the safari by driving your own car around, or hop on the safari tour bus (an additional £8 per person) to see the lions, tiger, and white rhinos with the on-board tour guide. Get even closer to the giraffes and zebras with a stay in one of seven on-site cottages, each with cosy interiors and views of the estate or animals. They all include park tickets, breakfast, welcome packages and guided tours of the grounds, while Keeper’s Cottage and Keeper’s House also give you the chance to experience an exclusive guided 4x4 safari tour.
• Stay at Keeper’s Cottage, sleeps four people, from £750. East Lodge, sleeps four people, from £377. [Visit Longleat.co.uk](http://Visit Longleat.co.uk) for more information.
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent
If you can’t go to Kenya, then tucked away in Kent you’ll find a hidden piece of animal heaven. Enjoy ranger-led safaris and experience the park’s rhinos and endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Stay over in one of the shepherd’s huts, wigwams, lodges, or bubbles (with a clear top, ideal for stargazers) and experience park life after dark. Leopard Creek gives views of the Amur leopards, and Lion Lodge has huge windows to watch the park’s lion pride. Each lodge or wigwam is beautifully designed, and you’ll have use of a golf buggy for the duration of your stay. Add some tiger or gorilla encounters, and you’ll almost feel like you’re in the Masai Mara.
• Leopard Creek Wigwams, from £749 per night, sleeps four (includes breakfast); Cabins from £469 per night, sleeps a family of four; Cubs, from £349, sleeps two (breakfast not included); Lion Lodge, from £1,800 a night, sleeps four (breakfast included). Overnight stays also include tickets to the reserve either side of your stay. Visit Aspinallfoundation.org to book.
ZSL London Zoo
Set within the Land of Lions exhibit are Indian-inspired lodges within hearing distance of the roar of the zoo’s Asiatic lions! They are designed to look like the welcoming hotels found in the lions’ native Gujarati region in India, and each is themed to different animals found in the Gir Forest. Inside, you’ll find comfy beds, an en-suite bathroom, and a private veranda. An overnight stay also includes three after-hours tours of the zoo at sunset, after-dark, and first thing in the morning. You’ll get a close-up view of the animals and behind the scenes, and you’ll learn about animal worldwide conservation, too. Dinner and breakfast are included, plus free entry into ZSL London Zoo for two days either side of your stay, or you can visit ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Bedfordshire) on your second day.
• Prices start from £192.50 per person based on twin sharing and £65 per additional child. Visit Zsl.org to book.
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