This week, we travelled a little further afield and visited Trentham Monkey Forest in the Midlands. We are lucky in west Lancashire that we are so close to the M6 motorway, which means we can get down south pretty quickly. It took us just over an hour to get to Trentham, which is just outside of Stoke.
I have wanted to visit Trentham Monkey Forest for quite a few years now and looking at the forecast this week and seeing only one sunny day, out of seven, we decided it was now or never! I can’t imagine it would be a fun place to be in the pouring rain!
Opening times and prices at Trentham Monkey Forest
We booked our tickets online for £8.50 per adult and £6.50 for children over 3. Under 3s go free. there are also concession tickets available too.We saved 50p per ticket compared to the on the door prices, which isn’t huge, but every penny counts! If you purchase tickets online, you must do this before 9am on the day you plan to visit. Trentham Monkey Forest opens at 10am and closes at 5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Using an online ticket is simple. You can either print the confirmation to being with you, or show the email to the staff on the door and they will scan it and let you through.
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Getting to Trentham Monkey Forest
As I previously mentioned, Trentham Monkey Forest is not too far from the M6, just outside of Stoke. We took J15 from the M6 (which incidentally is the same junction you leave for Alton Towers and Stoke Potteries) and travelled for around 12 minutes from here to Trentham. Tremtham Gardens is well sign posted, so follow these brown signs until you find the signpost for Trentham Monkey Forest. The postcode to use for your sat nav is ST12 9HR which will get you to the garage opposite. Using Trentham Monkey Forest’s official postcode will not get you to the entrance as the forest is located within the wider Trentham Gardens. There’s plenty of parking on site.
What is there to see at Trentham Monkey Forest?
Well, as you’d expect, there’s lots of monkeys! Over 140 in fact, who roam free through the forest, where they’ve made their home. The monkeys are free roaming Barbary macaques who originate from the Atlas in Morocco and Algeria, but seem to find their new Stoke based home pretty cool too.
A path carves its way through the forest which is also home to plenty of other wildlife including birds and squirrels. Along the paths are wooden barriers, to which the monkeys pay no heed, and they roam freely throughout the forest swinging from the trees or stumbling across the walkways to see their friends or relatives on the other side.
Throughout the forest are white signs giving you little tidbits of information and blue signs quizzing you on the your knowledge of these beautiful creatures. Unsure of the answer? Then simply lift the flap to reveal what you didn’t yet know. And, if you’re still looking for more knowledge, there are staff members in yellow polo shirts throughout the trail who are fountains of knowledge and are happy to share their expertise with you.
The forest is simply stunning and the pathways very even, making them suitable for wheelchair and pram users. When you first arrive into the forest, the path forks around a large circle area where they do talks and feeds, and you take the path to the right, up a hill, before swinging back down to your left, along the stream and back up to the circular zone. The loop takes around fifteen minutes on foot, although obviously if you are stopping a lot to take photos or interact with the monkeys, it can take a lot longer.
Before you enter the forest and when you leave, there is a cafe with a huge outdoor seating area, toilets and a playground perfect for toddlers and older children. We didn’t use the cafe, but it serves hot and cold food and drinks. The toilets were clean and despite it being a busy day, the queues were non-existent. There are disabled toilets and baby changing facilities available too.
What we loved about Trentham Monkey Forest
Oh boy, don’t the staff know their stuff? I just love it when you visit an attraction and the staff are interested and not just treating the place as their job. Every single person we met had a smile on their face and was ready to tell us lots about the monkeys. One lady told us about the monkey who was sat solemnly on the top of the hill- she was the oldest monkey there, at the grand old age of 31 and was happy just chilling out on her lonesome, watching the world go by. Another staff member noticed one of the monkeys was on the move and instead of making a fuss, asked our toddler calmly if he’d stay still while the monkey passed and did so with a big smile on his face. Another lady chatted to Dex and another girl about all the different foods monkeys eat and don’t eat, making it really interactive and getting them involved. I was so impressed by this.
The attraction is really good value for money. A day out for our family of four cost just over £20 and I feel like it’s money well spent because it all goes back into looking after the monkeys. You might not get a full day out here, but if you fancy going to Trentham Gardens next, you ca show your ticket and get £1 off your entry fee there.
Buy tickets: Trentham Monkey Forest
Have you been to Trentham Monkey Forest? What did you think?