There are not many places that surprise me, but this certainly did! Never did I expect to be in a 60 acre forest with 140 free roaming Barbary macaques scurrying around me. You are plunged into their fascinating world as you hear rustling in the trees, incessant chattering and the sound of monkeys crashing through the branches. Walking along the path you are transported into a different world of animal magic!
What’s the idea: A visit to a forest full of monkeys!
Where is it: Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent ST12 9HR
Who for: The whole family; perfect for birthdays, occasions or just a school holiday treat
Adults: £7.50 each
Senior citizens/students £7.00 each
Children (from 3 to 14 years old): £5.50 each
Disabled/carers £5.00 each
Under 3 years old – free of charge
Where can I find out more: www.trentham-monkey-forest.com
The Monkey Forest is set in 60 acres of beautiful Staffordshire woodland where 140 monkeys live in total freedom. We have been twice, and each time we saw something different, learnt something new and got more amazing shots of these impressive mammals. As you enter the park you can observe the monkeys living as they would in the Atlas mountains of Algeria and Morocco. What makes this place so special is that it so very rare that you get the opportunity to discover incredible species in their natural environment, with no bars or cages to hinder your view, and you can walk freely without a guide.
We entered through the very large industrial gates and walked along the winding forest path that led us to the splendid forest of Trentham Estate woodlands where the monkeys live. The path is about 3/4 mile long and there is a wheelchair friendly route, however, you might not want to attempt walking down the steep slope route with a wheelchair, especially when wet and covered in leaves (speaking from experience!). As we walked slowly along the footpath, we were just amazed at how close the monkeys got. They sat next to us, they strolled in front of us, yet they were not bothered by us at all.The fact that the visitors had no effect on the monkeys behaviour was great to see, and I know that it is the guides’ number one priority to keep it that way. Along the route are really informative boards all about the monkeys’ natural habitat, how they communicate and their very different personalities. This gave us a fascinating insight into these amazing primates.
Whilst we were there we went to the monkey feeding time which was great to see, and we certainly learned a few more facts about these monkeys. We watched them play with their food, fight over it and make a mess with it (exactly like tea in our household!). We were so intrigued by their behaviour, we quizzed the guides throughout our visit and they were extremely informative and passionate about their subject.
After we had left the forest we went to sample the onsite Banana Café. They had a wide selection of drinks, hot and cold food and some very yummy cakes. This was great value for money and the food was pretty good, with a great selection for kids. There is also a fun jungle gift shop which is just a monkey lovers paradise – shelf upon shelf of monkeys!! There is also an adventure playground for your little monkeys to play on, so I can assure you that your kids will be entertained from start to finish.
This experience is certainly not one to miss, it’s a fantastic day out for the whole family and one that you will never forget.
- I highly advise you to stay clear of visiting on a bank holiday. We made this mistake the second time we went which was on August bank holiday Monday and it was just too busy. It spoilt the experience slightly as it was just too crowded and the monkeys were rightly keeping their distance! The best time to go would be midweek when it isn’t school holidays.
- I also recommend you stay for one of the talks, they are extremely informative and they feed the macaques which is fascinating to watch.
- Definitely tie this in with a trip to the Trentham Gardens next door, you can read my review here.
- Follow the Monkey Forest tribe on twitter here – extremely engaging with fresh daily content advertising events, competitions and monkey news!
- The Monkey Forest is part of the Trentham Estate which is home to so many more great attractions that you could visit, including; Trentham Gardens, Trentham shopping village, Trentham garden centre and Aerial Extreme.
Would I go again?
If I was in the area again I would certainly stop off. It is a fantastic experience for the whole family to enjoy, and offers excellent entertainment value!