Hampstead Norreys, near Newbury, Berkshire, RG18 0TN
The Living Rainforest near Newbury has several giant glasshouses where you can see lots of the plants and animals of the rainforest including a Sloth, Monkeys and Toucan. We were quite unlucky with the animals – they mostly seemed to be hiding when we visited but the Poison Dart Frogs were feeling very playful (middle child loudly declared that those two were mating!) There is a very small playground area to play in and a cafe which was very busy when we went. There is also lots of information about the rainforest and the impact humans are having. They had a couple of children’s activity as well.
We enjoyed ourselves but we were only there for a couple of hours. It was a long drive from Aylesbury and I’m not convinced it was worth it. Don’t get me wrong, the kids had a lovely time and really enjoyed running around and exploring all the plants but I’m not sure it offered as good value for money as other places we’ve visited. Tickets are valid for a whole year but we didn’t go back. If we lived closer I think we would have done though. There was a long queue when we arrived and it is clearly very popular with local families, I imagine they pop in for a bit on a regular basis instead of it being a full day trip.
I was pregnant with youngest child when we visited (which is why I haven’t added any photos yet, I need to find them). The reason I mention it is because it is very hot and humid in here, more-so with a bump (it is a rainforest environment afterall). There are paths but the plants naturally go over them in places so you do have to mind your step.
Entry – £36.90 family ticket (2A + 2C). Under 2’s are FREE. Tickets are valid for a full year.
Parking – Free and on-site but it’s tiny. Having driven all that way and despite getting there early we struggled to find a space and ended up in the smallest corner ever!
Toilets – On-site
Food – Cafe on-site. Picnics are allowed in the playground area
Rating – 3 / 5. We didn’t use our annual tickets to go back so it was expensive for just one visit but it’s worth it for people who live within half an hour.