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Hidden behind a very traditional scene of Britishness with woodland, old stone walls and fields is a very special place that is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic creatures.

Knowsley Safari Park is one of Merseyside’s top attractions and a favourite of families across the region who visit the park to get up close and personal with the animals. Set across 550-acres of land, guests can enjoy viewing a variety of animals including lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos, as well as baboons, which are particular fans of exploring the vehicles that enter their enclosure.  

The park forms part of Lord Derby’s 2,500-acre estate with nearby Knowsley Hall, a stately home that has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Derby since 1385. The beautiful grade 2 listed building is set amongst manicured lawns and lakes, providing exquisite scenery for guests and visitors who are lucky enough to explore this piece of history in the heart of Merseyside.  

Five Quick Facts

1 As part of the preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Knowsley Safari Park hosted part of the Olympic Torch Relay, which saw around 6,000 visitors line the long lanes throughout the park. 2 Although the current Earl of Derby, Edward Richard William Stanley, does not live in the hall itself, it is still owned by the Stanley family and is used as an event space, filming location and for conferences. It is a popular wedding venue.  3 The safari park boasts one of the most successful breeding groups of Southern White Rhinoceros in Europe. There are only two Northern White Rhinoceroses left in the world and both are female, a stark contrast to the estimated 21,077 Southern White Rhinoceroses.  4 The first Earl of Derby was Thomas Stanley, who was given the title in 1485 by Henry VII for his support at a battle which let to Henry gaining the crown.  5 The 14th Earl of Derby, Edward George Geoffrey-Smith Stanley, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times, within this office he was a key supporter of the Slavery Abolition Act. 

Things To Do

Visiting the Hall

With Knowsley Hall mostly commonly used for private events throughout the year, it is actually only open to the public for selected days of the year and is a ticketed event. This usually takes place during the first week of September and each year, this annual event follows a specific theme, this year it is the Derby Women.

There is, however, the opportunity to book a guided tour around Knowsley for groups of 20 to 30 people. This tour involves a visit to some of the hall’s most stunning scenes including the Library, Grand Staircase and the State Dining Room, which was built specifically for a visit from King George VI in 1820. 

Chill Out Spa

Hidden away in the converted old stables of the estate is one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets, the Chill Out Spa. Tucked away in a corner of the stables and far away from the outside world, the spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind while being barefaced and beautiful.

The spa offers a wide range of treatments, including manicures and pedicures, facials and body treatments, each provided in beautiful treatment rooms. It also has a hydro pool and chill out lounge, where guests can relax on comfy loungers after treatments.

With a small bistro offering beautiful lunches and a fantastic selection of champagnes, wines and beers for guests who may be celebrating a special occasion, or who just fancy a tipple as they enjoy all that the spa has to offer. 

The Safari

Visiting Knowsley Safari Park is a great day out, whether young or old, it is a fun and exciting trip to see the beautiful animals of the world in such close proximity.

One of the best parts of visiting the park is taking the trip around the baboon enclosure, which can be a mixture of excitement and worry, especially for those who consider their car as an extended family member. However, for those who may be apprehensive about visiting, the park provides a Baboon Bus service during weekends and school holidays, which drives around the whole park including the baboon enclosure, ensuring that you get the best views and don’t have to worry about your car.

Animal Encounters

Just when you thought that you couldn’t get any closer to the animals, the park brought out the Animal Encounters experience, allowing guests to feed animals and help the keepers to care for them. Guests can choose from a range of animal experiences from visiting giraffes and rhinos to the sea lions and birds of prey. Although it will cost extra than your regular park ticket, it is well worth a visit for special celebrations for animal lovers. 

Seal Lion Display

Sea Lions are amicable creatures and love nothing more than being in water. The Sea Lion Display allows guests to meet the sea lions that call the park home, watch Biffo, Arthur, Roger and Louis as they are led by keepers in a fun and interactive display. Learn more about the creatures themselves as they swim, relax and even sunbathe in the water.

Flight of the Talons

Experience the majestic Birds of Prey as they are let loose within the Birds of Prey Centre, flying and swooping just inches away from the audience. Watch as these stunning creatures are fed by keepers.