We’ve just had a few days at Marwell Hotel and Zoo on their Zoofari package. It is a great break for families looking for a few days away, and was made even better for us by brilliant sunshine throughout. Marwell Wildlife is one of the best wildlife parks I have been to: from a small person’s point of view we got great views of all the animals all day. The park is set on the side of a hill so it is a bit of an upwards trek: I’d probably advise making use of the free ‘road train’ a couple of stops earlier than we did! We spotted cheetahs, tigers, leopards and monkeys, and most of the animals were obliging enough to sit where we could take photos too. There are lots of outdoor play areas, and actually more places to stop and get a snack than it appears at first glance. Do check out Cafe Graze: we got some of our best views of giraffes, zebras and (ongoing debate of the day) emus or ostriches! If you can tell us the difference between an emu and an ostrich we’d be grateful! In all, we walked round the first half of the park, took a ride on the road train all the way round again, spotting more animals that we’d not see on foot, then did the second half on foot. This gave all of us a bot of a break from walking and K had a quick nap too. We finished up the day on the small steam train, giving us views of flamingoes, rhinos and pygmy hippos. The steam train costs £2 per person.
We spent the night before and the night after the wildlife park at the Marwell Hotel which is on the same site. What was great about the hotel? The hotel had a lovely atmosphere with a gentle safari theme running throughout, down to the giraffe print on the bedroom chair and leopard print mugs! The staff gave just the right level of attention, proffering colouring books and crayons between courses and casting a blod eye over pieces of sausage whizzing through the air. Watch out for the swimming pool: the minimum depth is 1.3metres while my boys are used to being able to have their feet on the ground! D and I had a lovely time: it is just right for kids who can swim and adults looking to wind down in the jacuzzi or sauna. There is a great climbing frame outside for the kids, and all the rooms open on to balconies with steps leading down into woodland. One of the highlights for the kids was, bizarrely, the toaster (right). As a family of 5 we often need something more than a 4 slot toaster: at the Marwell Hotel they solved this with a toaster with a mini conveyor belt so you could just keep the toast coming!
Altogether, it was a great holiday for the family. On the way down we also checked out Fort Nelson, a good place to run around and view historic cannons! On the way back we spent some time in Portsmouth, took a trip round the harbour, ate in Giraffe and shopped in Gunwharf Keys, satisfying all the family!