(ANIMAL TOURISM) Are you planning a vacation in the United Kingdom? Whether you want to swim with seals or watch wild wolves, the U.K. has a lot to offer the animal lover. Before you book your tickets, check out this list of the best places to see and learn about the diverse animals in the U.K. From basking sharks to goats, these animal tourism spots are sure to fascinate. Travelling to Europe? Check out the animal tourism in Europe by clicking here. — Global Animal
Wolf Watch UK
Wolf Watch UK is a sanctuary that allows members to visit, photograph and listen to its wolfves and wolf-hybrids. They do not accept visitors shorter than 5 feet. Wolf admirers started the center to take in wolves that were not doing well in zoos wildlife parks. They also have night visits and wolf learning courses.
(office only, to visit email the center at [email protected])
102 Nelson Way, Bilton, Rugby, Warwickshire, UK
Penzance, UK Basking Shark
Basking sharks–the giant 30-foot fish known for eating plankton with a gaping mouth–are becoming almost as popular as whales to watch, says the Telegraph. They’ve shown up among swimmers on beaches on Britain’s west coast. From Penzance you can also take a 2-hour boat tour from Elemental Tours, Wildlife Extra recommends. You might also get to see dolphins, orcas, porpoises, minke, fin or pilot whales, grey seals or sunfish.
The Wildwood Trust lets you see native European animals and tries to save the most endangered, like the Konik horses, the beaver, pine martens and red squirrels. The BBC describes them as bringing nature back 7,000 years. Fallow and red deer have big enclosures.
Wealden Forest Pk, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ, UK 01227 712 111
Swim with Canterbury Seals
Wildlife Sailing near Canterbury has a most unusual offer: they take you out on a 5 hour cruise with one hour on a sandbanks where you can swim with seals. “No need to swim to them they swim to us!” they say. Users comment confirm seals swim around the visitors playfully.
Unfortunately, many of the sandbanks are sinking so the operation may not go on.£23
New Forest Otter Owl & Wildlife Park
The New Forest Otter Owl & Wildlife Park breeds otters, takes in orphaned otters and has vastly more animals that its name suggests.
Bonus animals: pine martens, polecats, minks, stoats, badgers, red foxes, northern lynx, Scottish wildcats, hedgehogs, wallabies, wild boar and deer.
Open every day, except only weekends in January.
Lymington, SO41, UK, 01590 689 000
2009 £7.50, 7 kms from Southampton.
Bucklebury Farm Park
Bucklebury Farm Park has a “deer safari” program that lets you have a civilized meal along with your early morning or dusk trek to see their Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Sika Deer (Cervus nippon), Chital or Axis deer (Axis axis) and Fallow Deer (Dama dama).
Bonus animals: wild boar, farm animals
Bucklebury, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 6RR, United Kingdom
0118 971 4002
The National Trust runs Wicken Fen outside Cambridge. The herd of Konik ponies get to roam the East Anglia wetlands in family and bachelor groups. The 42 horses are mainly on the the Adventurers’ Fen and there’s a small group on Verrall’s Fen, at the west end of the reserve.
What’s great about Wicken Fen is that they respect the horses as managing the land, rather than think of them as destroying it for cattle.
Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire, (+44) (0)1353 720274
Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre
Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre is part of a luxury lodge, Gwelan Mor, which takes in wildlife, especially foxes, and leads tours at night to try to see wild fox, deer and badger. They rescued a fox cub in 2010 that became a media sensation by befriending their lurcher dog. They also have falconry demonstrations.
Portreath, Redruth, Cornwall TR16 4PE, UK 01209 842 354
The Mare and Foal Sanctuary
The Mare and Foal Sanctuary gives a home to horses and ponies and tries to adopt them out. It’s open 10-4, April-oct to tours in the summer.
Coombe Park Equestrian Centre, Littlehempston, Totnes, 01803 866615
Goat Sanctuary – UK
160-some goats live at the Goat Sanctuary. They arrived neglected, infested, abused, but now live in three happy herds. They each sleep in little rooms with a couple friends.
Vist 11 – 3 Mon. – Sat. by appt. Edge View Ln, Great Warford, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9, UK
Wildwood Trust – UK
The Wildwood Trust lets you see native European animals and tries to save the most endangered, like the Konik horses, the beaver, pine martens and red squirrels.
Fallow and red deer have big enclosures.
Wealden Forest Pk, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ, UK, 01227 712 111
Bowland Wild Boar Park – UK
The Bowland Wild Boar Park has an easy way to see their wild boar. You can go for a walk around their grounds–or if you’re a kid, sit in a rocket-like car in a train pulled by a tractor. They have a …
The Bowland Wild Boar Park has an easy way to see their wild boar. You can go for a walk around their grounds–or if you’re a kid, sit in a rocket-like car in a train pulled by a tractor.
They have a lot more than wild boar. Bonus animals: Red squirrels, meerkats, farm animals, Lincolnshire Curly Coated Pig, miniature cows, red and fallow deer.
2 miles from Chipping, on the Dunsop Bridge road. In the Forest of Bowland.
Leighton Moss RSPB Nature Reserve
Isle of Man Basking Shark
The west coast of Britain and the Isle of Man is a good place to see basking sharks from May to August, says Wanderlust Magazine.
The Manx Basking Shark Watch keeps an excellent track of where people see these giants, usually from the land.
Peel Castle, Mona St, Peel; Castletown Bay and Point Erin Bay have been succesful viewing spots.
If you want to go out in a boat Manx Basking Shark Watch listscompanies.
Ramsey Island, WALES
Ramsey Island, off Pembrokeshire, has one of the biggest seal colonies in Europe. The RSPB Sanctuary is open April-Oct. Gray seals breed here in the fall.
Bonus species: Guillemot, Razorbill
Basking Shark – Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay, off Wales, is one of the great basking shark locations in the UK,Wanderlust Magazine says.
The bay also has puffins, seals, porpoises, dolphins and sometimes leatherback turtle.
Cardigan Bay tours takes off from Pwllheli Marina, Gwynedd LL53, UK
Off of Wales, St. David’s and Ramsey Island offers a chance to see dolphins and killer whales.You actually depart from Justinian, then head out to the Irish Sea. Along you’ll see porpoise almost all the time, dolphins 95% and whales 30%, according to Offshore Islands Voyager.
Whales seen: Orca, Minke, Fin, Pilot
Birds: Island of Grassholm breeds 60,000
Bonus Species: Atlantic Grey Seals, basking shark
Dolphins: Common, White Sided, Bottlenose and Rissos Dolphin,
Orca: June, July, Sept.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has a couple outposts in Scotland. The center at Sprey Bay–an hour from Inverness–is supposed to be one of the best land-based places to see dolphins. The wildlife center in North Kessock is a great place to see seals. You might also see otters, seals, osprey and whales. The WDCS Shorewatch map lists lots of places around Moray Firth to look for dolphins, including Chanonry Point.
The Herberdes islands off Scotland are an important home to whales, dolphins, porpoises and even basking shark in summer. Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust keeps track of which species are seen when and where and has a visitor center at 28 Main St., Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, United Kingdom 01688 302620
- Ardnamurchan Point, Ardnamurchan Peninsula – minke whales and dolphins
- Iona Sound – bottlenose dolphins
- Tobermory Lighthouse, Mull – porpoise
- Neist Point, Skye – all cetaceans possible here
- Canna Harbour – minke whales and basking sharks
Long Loch, Scotland
Seals and otters live in Scotlands Long Loch and are part of a tour from Responsible Travel. Near Argyll, Sealife Adventures offers tours near the Heberdies to see seals, porpoises and puffins. Bonus species: eagle, whale
Loch Garten Nature Reserve
The Loch Garten Nature Reserve is one of the most popular places to see wildlife in the UK. The harriers are the stars and are often followed by webcam.
The very rare and endangered capercaillie (a kind of grouse) nests here, but less than 2,000 are left.
They breed at leks in April and May and can sometimes be seen on early morning treks then.
Nethy Bridge, Boat of Garten, PH25 3EF, UK
More Animal Tourism: http://www.animaltourism.com/regions/europe.html