This review of our visit to the Longleat Caravan & Motorhome Club site in Wiltshire is based on our visit in July 2018 when we stayed for one week.
Firstly – and extremely importantly for this site – arrival. There is only one way to reach the site and that’s from the A362 between Frome and Warminster. You cannot access it via the famous safari park – if you’re arriving from the east go past the park entrance at the roundabout and continue on the A362 following the brown tourist signs for the site. The turning is easily spotted thanks to a public house on the corner – once the White Hart and renamed the Longleat Tavern. From the there the road narrows in places so take it easy and bear in mind that arrivals at this site are from 1pm. Check out our Site Arrival video below to show the route in.
Right, to the site itself. There is a Late Night Arrivals area with space for two units on the left as you drive in and a small parking area for visitors on the right. New arrivals keep to the left and pull up outside the reception and shop to the left. Entry and exit through the barriers is by key fob issued once you have selected your pitch.
The site is open from roughly the middle of March to the first week in January and welcomes tents and non-members although the latter will pay a pitch supplement (£12/night as of July 2018) as is per usual. Stay more than four nights and it’s worth joining though ( £51/year as of July 2018) as you’ll save the membership fee by not paying the supplement.
Longleat is one of the larger sites on the network with 164 pitches, 151 of which are hardstanding, and 6 additional pitches for tents. It’s a mature site having been on the club network since around 1986 with plenty of trees providing shade – much sought after during our stay – and it’s been designed so it doesn’t feel or look too big, particularly to the left of the site. It wasn’t busy during our stay admittedly but it never seemed cramped – pitches are nice and wide and there is plenty of room for the car to sit alongside your caravan even with an awning up.
The usual club’s service point for your water/waste/rubbish and recycling are dotted around the site and there are two motorhome service points, one of which is – in my opinion – very handily placed just after the barriers. I don’t have a motorhome but it seems a sensible place to put one – you get to fill your water tank without going on a tour of the site – ditto with emptying the waste water when you leave.
In addition to the two facilities blocks there is a third comprising of the information room, wash up area, laundry room, baby & toddler room and two unisex toilets. It was nice to see lowered sinks in both the laundry and wash up areas for wheelchair users.
To the back of this block there is also a family room. In here is a pool table, table tennis table and large screen tv with plenty of charge. Outside is the Family Area with picnic tables, a large chessboard and boules pitch, all the equipment for which can be borrowed from reception.
Four legged friends are catered for with access to the exercise area between pitches 29/30. The first section is open to the road so obviously dogs must be kept on a lead here but another gates leads to an area in which they can run free safely.
For kids there is a play area with climbing frames and so on towards the right hand corner of the site behind pitch 99. Check out our Site Tour () video for a look around.
Whilst the obvious draw here is Longleat Safari Park and rightly so, it’s not compulsory and there is plenty to keep you occupied if you have a few days spare as we found during our stay.
Nearest is Heavens Gate – follow the signs to Longleat but carry on past the entrance and up the hill. Immediately after the Spa resort on your left is a free car park. Cross the road and a fifteen minutes walk or so takes you through lovely woodland to a terrific view of the Longleat estate. A cracking spot to read, picnic or just take in the view.
The towns or Warminster and Frome are close by. Frome is perhaps more of interest to the tourist and we had a pleasant couple of hours following a Treasure Trail and learning a bit about the town in the process. It’s quite hilly though in places so be prepared. Your nearest supermarket to the site – an Asda, complete with petrol station – is on the outskirts.
In nearby Westbury you can view the famous White Horse, follow the B3098 Bratton Road for one of the best view points. Continue up the Bratton Road and you can walk to the White Horse itself but even staying by the road there are some lovely views of Wiltshire to be had.
Another recommendation and one I’m happy to pass on is Shearwater Lake – about a 15 minute drive from the site just off the A350. A popular spot to fish, walk or even run, a cafe by the entrance is a handy place to refuel after such exertions.
Trowbridge is handy if retail parks are your thing but a bit further on is Bradford-on-Avon, real picture postcard stuff – the view of the town across the river as you arrive from the south is gorgeous.
Further afield and around half an hour away is Lacock Village & Abbey, under the stewardship of the National Trust although the village is free to walk around anyway. Just try and imagine it without the cars and it’s beautiful. There’s plenty of opportunities here to rest and refuel.
Lacock is where, in August 1835 a chap by the name of William Henry Fox Talbot captured the world’s first photographic negative – of a window at his home – the abbey. More recently it has been used for a number of films including Harry Potter.
There was no pub within walking distance of the site – unless you’re really keen – but the Royal Oak served up a nice Hunters Chicken and Gammon on our visit. Two other pubs we visited – the Horse & Groom and Cross Keys were both community run and very well patronised. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.