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South England Trip

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Jackwow, 19 Aug 2014.

  1. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    I mentioned in another thread (http://www.zoochat.com/38/west-country-peregrinations-372219/) that I was planning a South England zoo trip when I, hopefully, get back to the UK from Jordan at the end of September. Well this is the draft plan, which is basically 12 zoos in 10 days, and I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on my route, choice of zoos, am I trying to do too much, are any of the zoos very similar, etc. Any advice that might improve my trip would be much appreciated.

    Tue, 30 Sep - Arrive Heathrow, pick up hire car, drive to Canterbury

    Wed, 1 Oct - Full day at Howletts Wild Animal Park

    Thur, 2 Oct – Half day at Wildwood Trust. Drive to Southampton (3 hrs)

    Fri, 3 Oct - Full day at Marwell Wildlife

    Sat, 4 Oct – 4 or 5 hours at New Forest Wildlife Park. Drive to Torquay (3 hrs)

    Sun, 5 Oct - A few hours at Living Coasts and rest of day at Paignton Zoo. Drive to Plymouth (45 min)

    Mon, 6 Oct - Full day at Dartmoor Zoo

    Tue, 7 Oct – About 4 hours at Porfell Wildlife Sanctuary and then a couple of hours at Wingz. Drive to Newquay (45 mins)

    Wed, 8 Oct - Full day at Newquay Zoo

    Thu, 9 Oct - Most of day at Exmoor Zoo. Drive to Bristol (2+ hrs)

    Fri, 10 Oct - Spend most of the day at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Drive to Chesham, Bucks to visit my brother

    I also wanted to visit the Rare Species Conservation Centre when I was in Canterbury but unfortunately during October it’s only open at the weekends, which doesn’t fit in with my schedule.
     
  2. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised you aren't visiting Port Lympne though that could depend on if you've been before and know it etc. Its certainly not as good as it used to be with all the changes, but probably worth a visit if you have not been before.

    New Forest Wildlife Park I can't imagine spending that long at- more like a couple of hours tops. Dartmoor( I have not been) I imagine rather similar applies. Paignton you could spend a full day at quite easily- plenty to see.

    Sounds like a good itinerary though.
     
  3. Potamogale

    Potamogale Well-Known Member

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    Having done a West country round tour back in May I think that a full day for Dartmoor is pushing it - I spent a morning there and found that was more than enough to be honest ... Paignton however really needed a full day to do it justice .
    Good luck
    :)
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2014
  4. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Pertinax.

    The only place I've been to south of London is the British Wildlife Centre, so never been to Port Lympne. I did consider it but I think I decided against because it is relatively close to my first two venues and visiting it as well would need an extra day or a day lost later in the trip. Having said that, the only restriction on the length of the trip is that I want to be in Chesham for the weekend of Oct 10/11 so that I can visit my brother when he's not working, otherwise adding a few days on to fit in more venues wouldn't be an issue.

    Is Port Lympne as good as or better than Howletts. Are they similar or very different?

    Noted about NFWP, Dartmoor and Paignton.
     
  5. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Potamogale, you have reiterated Pertinax advice about Dartmoor and Paignton so looks like I'll have to rejig the itinerary to suit.
     
  6. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    Paignton definitely needs a full day. On a recent visit I spent around 6 hours there and just about managed to see every exhibit at least once and now wish I'd stayed longer.

    Also, the Crocodile Swamp building was extremely busy in the afternoon, but if you're visiting at the end of September then hopefully that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably the best way to re-arrange your itinerary would be to give Paignton a whole day, then visit Living Coasts on the same day as you do Dartmoor.

    I would also counsel considering a brief visit to Shaldon on that day, too - it is very close to Living Coasts and would take only a half-hour to an hour, but has a rather nice load of treasures.

    I'd also suggest you do not need the whole day to visit NFWP - unfortunately the best place to do in combination with said collection, the New Forest Reptile Centre, closes for the winter at the end of September :( you could, I suppose, try to fit Shaldon into the late afternoon of the NFWP day.
     
  8. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Benosaurus, definitely a full day for Paignton then.
     
  9. Pootle

    Pootle Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought on your Cornish plan. I personally reckon a half day at Newquay is long enough to see everything myself. In Looe about 1 hour from Newquay there is The Monkey Sanctuary, I will say it is notoriously difficult to find as I failed to find it a few years ago (no sat nav). It does exist though as David Attenborough was their this year.!
     
  10. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I would second that about Newquay. Anything from two hours to a half day as its quite small- though lots of interest.

    I can also second that about the Woolly Monkey place- tried to find it once many years before the advent of SatNav and totally failed too. But Paradise Park at Hayle is interesting too if you like birds- specifically Parrots.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Again, Exmoor is quite small though with many good smaller species, so might not warrant a whole day- its the sort of place I would 'do' in an hour or two I think.
     
  12. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    OK, that's a definite, thanks.

    I think I might be struggling to do three places in one day as I like to take a bit of time taking photos.

    I think I might try this. Go to NFWP and see how it goes and if I'm finished in a couple of hours then sprint for Shaldon, which is about 3 hours away, and have a couple of hours there. Would need good traffic though and not too many speed cameras! Then when I'm finished at Shaldon, Torquay where I'll stay for the next two nights, is only 20 minutes away.

    I wonder if Fawlty Towers will have any vacancies?
     
  13. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Pootle, that sounds like good advice.
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Has been discussed on here a lot, especially since 'the changes' were made at Port Lympne. IMO Howletts is better nowadays. Its smaller, more visitor friendly(flat ground) and many major species are duplicated at both places, though not all.

    The chief difference is Port Lympne is now a 'truck safari' around most of the estate to view the large African species, with a smaller section of the park still a walking tour. They have a lot of smaller cats if that's of interest, and things like Giraffe/zebra/wildebeest and the large number of Black Rhino that Howletts don't have.(they have 3 rhino, but more Elephants...)

    If you are in the area I think you should try and go to Port Lympne if you can fit it in, just to see for yourself. You may wish you had if you don't. ;)
     
  15. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    TBH I won't mind if every day isn't completely filled with animals, as never having been in this part of the UK, it might be nice to have some time for just a general look about.
     
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Exmoor is brilliant, so is the South Devon and Cornish coast, Dartmoor etc so lots of good scenery/interest as well as animal collections.
     
  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    TBH, New Forest Park is pretty small. They have mostly native wildlife and quite a lot of British Otters, a Wolf wood, Lynx, Wild Boar, British deer walkthrough area, wildcats, Owl aviaries and some buildings with other British natives. BUT they also have a couple of Giant Otters which are worth seeing too.
    Its signed just off (about a mile) the A35 main Southampton-Bournemouth road out of Southampton. It is within the New Forest boundary but surrounded mainly by fields.
    If you are a photographer(I'm not) then I can see how you would take longer than I would on a visit, though.
     
  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As noted, you will be highly unlikely to require more than an hour at Shaldon, being as it is not much larger than one acre in size :p
     
  19. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Actually, as the following day involves a 2.5 hour drive from Newquay to Exmoor Zoo in the morning and, after visiting the zoo, a 2+ hour drive to Bristol I may just do the half day at Newquay Zoo and then drive to wherever I'm staying near Exmoor Zoo, Barnstaple?
     
  20. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Having taken on board the great advice so far, I have made a few adjustments to the itinerary and here's the new one. Still haven't made any decision about Port Lympne though.

    Tue, 30 Sep - Arrive Heathrow, pick up hire car, drive to Canterbury

    Wed, 1 Oct - Full day at Howletts Wild Animal Park

    Thur, 2 Oct – Half day at Wildwood Trust. Drive to Southampton (3 hrs)

    Fri, 3 Oct - Full day at Marwell Wildlife

    Sat, 4 Oct – A couple of hours at New Forest Wildlife Park. Race to Shaldon (3 hrs). Couple of hours at Shaldon Wildlife Trust. Drive to Torquay (30 mins)

    Sun, 5 Oct – Full day at Paignton Zoo

    Mon, 6 Oct - A few hours at Living Coasts and rest of day at Dartmoor Zoo. Drive to Plymouth (30 min)

    Tue, 7 Oct – About 4 hours at Porfell Wildlife Sanctuary and then a couple of hours at Wingz. Drive to Newquay (45 mins)

    Wed, 8 Oct - Half day at Newquay Zoo. Drive to Barnstaple (2 hrs)

    Thu, 9 Oct - Half day at Exmoor Zoo. Drive to Bristol (2+ hrs)

    Fri, 10 Oct - Spend most of the day at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Drive to Chesham, Bucks to visit my brother