Trentham Monkey Forest is a really fun little gem in the Staffordshire countryside. I’d not heard of it, and only came across it from a ‘days out with the kids’ kind of search when we were in the area – but I’m so glad we did!
Trentham Monkey Forest was such a unique experience, and something I really wasn’t expecting – plus for the price it was really good!
We spent about 4 hours there, which was about enough time to do everything, but for those with older kids, you could probably spend longer.
As you go into the first entrance, you can see the toilet area and café, as well as a big wooden play area. The little ones wanted to go to the play area straight away, but we took them for a quick visit to the monkeys first, and then came back again later!
There are 140 Barbary macaques living freely in the forest here, so you enter through separate gates to access them. We were initially really excited to spot one in a tree, but then as we walked further on, we saw so many of them, all playing, eating or relaxing in the sunshine – it was fantastic! We’re used to seeing monkeys in the zoo, so to see them without any barriers or glass in front of us, was an amazing experience.
The little ones were initially nervous when they came near, and there are plenty of rangers around to make sure the monkeys don’t come near you or break up their play fights when they get out of hand (the monkeys, not the kids!!). When the monkeys took a stroll along the path in front of you, you’d just have to stop really still – which the little ones were really good at!
There’s a lovely walk up the hill and then down to a little stream the other side, through the forest, however the 2nd part of the walk isn’t suitable for prams or wheelchairs, so you’d have to stick to the main monkey area for that. You can also see the monkeys being fed throughout the day – the signs at the entrance tell you when/where these will be.
Obviously you can’t take food or anything into the monkey enclosure, so no snacks for the little ones, but there’s a great café area just outside the monkey enclosure area, which is where you find the toilets too, and an information area to learn more about the monkeys and the conservation.
The play area was also a great hit with the kids, while we enjoyed our coffee, and there’s a second play area with picnic area at the other side of the park too. They had also set up a trailer selling coffees and ice creams in the park, which was a definite win on a hot day – especially as the queue for the café was quite long.
The café sold a great variety of hot and cold food, including children’s meals and picnic boxes, as well as snacks and hot drinks. You can also bring your own picnic to have outdoors in one of their picnic areas. The staff were really friendly and helpful – and in the little gift shop too!
In all, we would really recommend it if you’re in the area. Such a great setup and it was lovely to see so much being done to protect these monkeys and care for them. The park rangers were really knowledgeable, and even though it got busier as the day went on, there was plenty to do around the compound as well as seeing the monkeys too.
Visit the Trentham Monkey Forest website here
Tips for visiting:
- Visit the toilets before you go in, as there’s none inside the monkey enclosure so a long way to run back with a kid who needs a wee!
- Save your tickets when you enter the park as you’ll need these to get inside the monkey enclosure, as well as if you want to go back inside again
- The actual walk is around ¾ mile long through the forest, with some areas not accessible for wheelchairs or prams – but with both you can still enjoy the monkey enclosure. Check out the map here for more information on accessibility to plan the trip and your day!