Trentham Monkey Forest
Yesterday we went for a very exciting day out across the the border into the Staffordshire countryside to Trentham Monkey Forest.
The Monkey Forest is unique to the UK as it's the only place that you can walk amongst around 140 free roaming Barbary Macaques. The monkeys have free rein of an amazing 60 acre forest. I wasn't really too sure what to expect and the boys kept asking if they were actual real live monkeys. I don't think that they knew what to expect either!
You have to pre book your tickets on their website before visiting. You choose a day and time slot to arrive within. We chose 12.30pm - 1pm arrival as the journey for us was 1.5 hours. Our tickets were, Adults £8.55 and Children £6.75. Under 3's FREE.
On arrival the car park was pretty busy but we found a parking space with ease.
On entering the park you have to show your ticket with barcode - either on your phone or as a printout. At the moment they are asking that you limit your visit to 2 hours but I'm not sure that they are keeping track of this. It looked busy but people were nicely spread out and distancing well.
Once inside you see the ice cream and coffee hut, cafe and outdoor seating area, wooden play area (that is closed at the moment) and toilet area.
We had a picnic in the car on the journey up so we headed straight for the monkey enclosure. There are separate double gates that you have to go through to access the monkeys. Before going in we were given a quick briefing with do's and don'ts for the walk around. Things like, no touching or feeding the monkeys, no eating or uncovered food whilst walking around, children must be supervised and no running or shouting.
The walk is around a mile long and cuts through the forest where you can see the endangered monkeys as you would in the wild.
We were so excited to spot our first monkey in a tree but as we walked further down into the forest we were greeted by so many. They were all playing, eating and relaxing and two were 'babysitting' a super cute baby.
We are used to seeing monkeys in a zoo so to see them roaming freely without any barriers was a truly brilliant experience.
There are guides dotted around the walk who are all so knowledgeable and willing to answers any questions that you have. They also make sure you don't get too close to the monkeys. We spoke to a lovely guide called Dale who answered all of the boys questions that they had. There are also information boards along the way.
Part of the walk takes you up a hill and then down the other side. The slope down is very steep and I wouldn't recommend taking a pushchair or wheelchair.
The walk around was busy but not overcrowded in any way. There were areas that were busier than others so we just hung back and waited until it was a little quieter. It took us around an hour to walk around but that was with lots of stops and chats along the way.
After the walk we went and grabbed a snack from the 'Banana Cafe.' The cafe had sandwiches, cakes and snacks available. There was a big picnic area outside and lots of tables and chairs. There was also a gift shop but we didn't go in there so can't comment. If you do go in, remember your mask.
Toilets are open and very clean. They have hand sanitiser on the entrance of them to use on entering and exiting.
Just before we left, we went for a quick walk around the meadow. It is a small circular route. It gives you a good view of the park and shows you the sheer scale of the area that the monkeys have to live in. It brings you out in to another larger play area which looked great - this is also closed at the moment.
It is such a unique experience and an amazing chance to see these fascinating animals up close and in a natural environment.
We had a really lovely time and would definitely recommend visiting. It is a beautiful set up.
Trentham Monkey Forest,
The Trentham Estate,
South Entrance Stone Road,
Follow the brown signs
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