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Heritage focus for Longleat with 10-year masterplan

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England, has outlined its long-term plans, switching focus to look at the history of the grounds and how its resident animals play into that.

Longleat, which has been heavily speculated as being the location for the 2018 edition of the Glastonbury music festival, is planning to build on recent successes as it aims to facilitate growth over the next 10 years.

The masterplan by Forrec aims to optimise the Longleat grounds based on the heritage management plan already in place, improving entertainment components and looking at strategies and layout to accommodate increasing attendance.

“We approached Forrec following a period of substantial growth,” said Longleat CEO Bob Montgomery, speaking to Attractions Management.

“Attendance has increased more than 25 per cent over the past couple of years and that has started to have an impact on infrastructure and the guest experience. Forrec’s masterplan addresses parking, toilets, restaurant and retail capacity, transportation, entry points and wayfinding.”

The masterplan will be rolled out in phases over the 10-year period, with the park spending as much as £3m (US$4.4m, €3.8m) each year as it expands its offering to visitors. Additionally, the park will change its focus to the heritage of the historic site itself, changing the experience to look at how the animals fit into that story.

“Authenticity is one of our core values,” said Montgomery. “It was increasingly difficult to marry a safari theme with our desire to be sympathetic to the site’s heritage. We started to think differently about theming. Our lions are on green grass surrounded by oak trees, so why not be more honest about that.

“There have been exotic animals throughout Longleat House’s 400-year history. It was a menagerie. People gave exotic creatures as gifts. In the archives, we have letters by the owner begging not to be gifted any more tigers.

“We have this real tradition and animals are part of this eclectic collection that ties together the house, the exhibits and the attractions. We love this idea and it will be a differentiator in terms of the way we think. It’s also a new way of thinking about what attractions we want to introduce, how we change the look and feel of the park or how we repurpose existing attractions.”

For more from Longleat CEO Bob Montgomery and his plans for the park, see the latest issue of Attractions Management, available now.

Longleat  Forrec  Bob Montgomery  Longleat house  tiger  zoo  safari park 
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FEATURE: Zoos & Aquariums – The Long Game

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England, has outlined its long-term plans, switching focus to look at the history of the grounds and how its resident animals play into that. Longleat, which has been heavily speculated as being the location for the 2018 edition of the Glastonbury music festival, is planning to build on recent successes as it aims to facilitate growth over the next 10 years. The masterplan
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Longleat CEO Bob Montgomery wants to improve attendance by switching focus to the 400-year history of exotic animals on the park's grounds
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