Earlier this month we went to the British Wildlife Centre for the first time somewhere I have been meaning to visit for such a long time. Near Lingfield in Surrey, it was about a 50 minute drive for us and in a really lovely, green part of the country.
What is the British Wildlife Centre?
The British Wildlife Centre is home to so much British wildlife but, their top priority is animal welfare. They have half hourly keeper talks and, unlike many zoos and animal parks, they don’t allow any petting or feeding of the animals. The animals live and behave as naturally as possible.
Visiting the British Wildlife Centre
The British Wildlife Centre is easily accessible from London and the South East, situated not far from Gatwick airport. There’s plenty of parking on site and the visitor centre gives a warm welcome when you arrive. We booked our tickets online as they are slightly cheaper and just had to give our name at reception to start our visit. We were given a map and off we went!
Keeper talks at the British Wildlife Centre
A day at the British Wildlife Centre is full of keeper talks. These are every half an hour, pretty much from opening time until closing time, covering as many of the animal species at the centre as possible.
As the British Wildlife Centre animals are left to live as naturally as possible, the keeper talks are a great way to see the animals outside of their nests and dens, interacting with the keepers and enjoying a snack or two.
The keepers talk about the animals, how they live at the British Wildlife Centre, where they came from and wider information about each species. We went to the otter talk, polecat talk, deer talk and fox talk and found them really interesting and engaging as well as being a great way to see the animals up close.
Animals at the British Wildlife Centre
Outside of the keeper talks we spent our time exploring the British Wildlife Centre and seeing more of the animals. There are so many birds with lots of different types of owls and buzzards all in really good size enclosures.
We loved the indoor hedgerow area with rats, mice, hedgehogs – who were hibernating at the time – and many other tiny creatures. The tiny harvest mice were our favourites – so playful and cute but happily living in a habitat very similar to the one they would have in the wild.
We really loved that all of the animals habitats had been recreated so well, giving them the space and environment that they’d have naturally. The deer had a huge space to explore and it was great to see them in herds, with huge stags watching over the rest of the deer.
Our visit finished with the wild cats, polecats and water voles. Sadly on this visit we didn’t get to see badgers or red squirrels but it just gives us an excuse to come back another time!
We only spent two hours at the British Wildlife Centre as it was so cold – almost freezing – but could easily spend half a day or longer there in warmer weather.
The British Wildlife Centre has a really nice shop, a play area for the warmer months plus toilets and a cafe on site selling affordable drinks, snacks and lunch dishes. Service was friendly if a little slow and the whole cafe was lovely and warm – such a welcome find with the super cold weather!
British Wildlife Centre opening times
The British Wildlife Centre is open during state school holidays and weekends. They also have special phorography days and photography workshops as well as being open on term time weekdays for school visits.
We loved our time at British Wildlife Centre and can’t wait to go back in a few months. You can find out more about the British Wildlife Centre over on their website and for reference their address is: Eastbourne Road, Newchapel, Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6LF.