- Slimbridge Wetland Centre, cared for by the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust, is a wetlands centre and bird sanctuary.
- Known as the avian Serengeti, WWT Slimbridge is full of rare birds and has helped conserve a variety of animals across the world as well as England.
- Discover lots of exciting family exhibitions throughout the centre.
- Have a snack at the Kingfisher Kitchen or buy some sweets at the shop.
Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, sitting on the Severn estuary, is cared for by the WWT. It is home to a wide variety of waterbirds and wildfowl and was opened by Peter Scott, who founded the WWT. It's one of the best wildlife reserves in the country because of its collection of animals, as well as being the birthplace of modern conservation in England. With so much to discover, for kids and the parents too, you'll love Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Looking for other things to do in Gloucestershire? You might like Cotswold Farm Park or the Clearwell Caves.
The Slimbridge Wetland Centre was the start of the WWT, after being opened in 1946 by Peter Scott; its availability to the public was particularly rare. The WWT is the only charity in England to protect wetland birds and their habitats all over the world, and some of the captive birds form part of international breeding programmes. The site covers 2,000 acres, part of which is the landscaped centre. The non-captive birds often change, so it's always exciting to visit. The reserve has a mixture of different types of land; lagoons, reed beds and salt marshes are flooded in winter.
There are lots of exciting experiences to discover at Slimbridge Wetland Centre. The Severn Estuary Walkway overlooks the River Severn so that you can see views of the wildlife, but also of May Hill and the Forest of Dean. Look into the World War II Pill Box that was used as a bird hide. Go beyond the seawall to the Shepherd's Hut and go behind the scenes to the exciting tour.
There are a number of exciting safaris that happen throughout the year. Although the wonderful canoe safari isn't available, the jeep safaris are just as exciting and wheelchair-accessible! Discover the Duck Decoy, a way to catch birds to add identification leg rings. The Duck Decoy at the centre was built in 1843 to catch birds to eat, but it has been adapted for a kinder use. You can discover how it's used to catch the ducks at the Decoy man’s hut, and you can watch demonstrations.
Meet lots of exciting amphibians at the Slimbridge Toad Hall, near the visitor centre. See frogs, toads, newts and salamanders from all around the world. The collection is one of the largest collections in an institute in Europe. You can even see the most poisonous animal on the planet - The Golden Columbian Dart Frog.
Want to get splashing? Welly Boot Land has the perfect level of water for splashing; you might need a swimsuit though. Enjoying the water? You might like the Living Wetland Theatre, where you can see incredible birds flying overhead. For more family fun, you might enjoy the Slimbridge South Lake Discovery Hide. With everything you need to look at the birds, like comfy chairs and binoculars, you can enjoy the gorgeous views.
For something away from the wet, the RBC Rain Garden uses every drop of water that lands on its soil to service the planting beds and ponds. Lots of the wildlife that the WWT cares for are from the arctic. See if you could handle the cold inside the Slimbridge Arctic Adventure tundra hut. You'll smell boiled cabbage and potatoes, discover the living conditions, and clothes worn by researchers. Join in with the Slimbridge Scott's Goose Challenge, and see if you can spot the rarest geese in the UK, the lesser white-fronted, European white-fronted, and greylag.
The WWT Slimbridge Scott House Museum was Sir Peter Scott's home where he set up the WWT and WWF. Little has changed since the 1950's, and you can find out about his friendship with David Attenborough, as well as find out about his days as a wildlife presenter. There are also guided tours. The Estuary Tower Hide gives visitors views of the entire Severn Estuary. Handfeed the wildlife; meet flamingos and otters; and get up close and personal to a variety of animals.
The centre also has events that go on throughout the year. You might get to see some beautiful wildlife photography from different seasons. You also might get to experience the highest tides of the year as they sweep over the Estuary. Something happens at every time of year, so the events will always change.
Eat, drink and shop at Slimbridge Wetland Centre. The Kingfisher Kitchen has sit-down meals you can enjoy. There are also two kiosks available. Welly Boot Land and Riverlife both have snacks and light munches. The shop has brilliant gifts, books, toys and things to help care for your birds. You can also buy a Slimbridge membership to help support the centre. Why not stay in the Scott House Bewick's Lodge? It was where the charity was founded, where the world’s first wildlife broadcast was made, and you can enjoy luxury near beautiful wildlife.
Looking for things nearby? The Tudor Arms has tasty bits to eat for lunch. La Campagna Restaurant & Bar has pizza and Mediterranean food to enjoy. The Old Badger Inn has classic cuisine. Churchend Farm B&B is a comfortable place to stay and had tasty food in the morning. The Kings Head House Hotel has a wonderful garden outside. The Bell Inn will make you feel like royalty, and The George Inn will take you back in time.
What to know before you go
- The Slimbridge Wetland Centre opening times are 9.30am to 5pm.
- Assistance dogs are allowed on site, but you'll need to call ahead.
- The paths around the site are level.
- Most of the hides allow for step-free entry. The observation tower and observatory are both accessible.
- There are 6 accessible toilets across the site, especially in the visitor centre.
- All WWT sites have baby changing facilities.
- Slimbridge Wetland Centre is located near to the M5 between Gloucester and Bristol. Exit at either junctions 13 or 14 and follow the brown duck signs. Parking is free.
- The nearest bus service stops at the A38, leaving a walk through the village.
- Cam and Dursley Station is the nearest to Slimbridge Wetland Centre and is a short bicycle or taxi journey away.