Another year older? Easy tiger …

Posted on January 1, 2012


… having a birthday on New Years’ Eve is not that much fun and ‘Him Indoors’ wanted to do something to celebrate his birthday, but quite what, we couldn’t decide.

Living in Devon, ‘we’ve been there, done that’ and visited all of the attractions on our doorstep.  We’d hunted about for somewhere for a nice lunch, but our faves were getting ready for the big New Years’ Eve parties. We’d even looked at a surprise trip to see in the New Year with my Mum, in Spain, but in the end we decided to have a daycation, in fabulous South West England!

And what a treat was in store, in the shape of a day out at Longleat.

The pleasurable visit started at the website – lovely to look at, easy to use, easy to book, with an online booking discount, and special 2 for 1 offers.  Although, hang on, even at full price it was excellent value for money.  The confirmation email received immediately, asking me politely to print it off, but not to worry if I lost it, as they would be able to find my booking, it might just take a little bit longer.

The journey there was pretty smooth (Wiltshire can’t help being a bit of a journey from Devon!), the brown signage excellent, and the welcome at the gate perfect.

With Kate Humble playing through our speakers, we set off on our Wiltshire safari … at each entry point, the Longleat team smiled and waved us on, and it seemed even the animals had been through intense customer care training too. They were all out, walking around, having fun or posing majestically to have their photos taken.

Thankfully, the monkeys left my car alone … the Fiat Punto in front did not fare as well, but those are the risks, and you have the option not to go through the monkey enclosure.  But being a monkey, I had to.

After our expedition, we went ice-skating, on real ice, outside the front of Longleat House; we had a lovely lunch in the café and we explored the exhibits outside, including the maze and jungle kingdom … we even took in a jungle cruise.  The team continued to smile, welcome and genuinely seemed happy to a) be there, and b) to have us visiting them!

Just before we left, we had a wander around the house … again, attention to detail and customercare in abundance.  The rooms had been set to different fairy tale and Christmas themes, and with special extra’s to bring the scenes to life.  I thought he was a model, so I was shocked when a ‘real’ scrooge said ‘I suppose you like Christmas, don’t you?’; when a housekeeper told us ‘the children have just flown off with Peter Pan, if you see them, please do ask them to come back soon’; and when the fairy godmother invited us to watch Cinderella and her Prince Charming take their first dance at the ball.

Longleat knows how to deliver an exceptional customer experiences.  I had a great day.  And it wasn’t even my birthday.

For more photos and more about McAllister and co, do check out the facebook  page.