I love spending cosy days inside the house. I adore any moment that I can spend curled up underneath the biggest blanket I can drag out of the cupboard, with my hands wrapped tightly around my cup of tea in an attempt to draw the heat out from it, while a book sits comfortably in my lap with its pages open. I love it even more when dark clouds loom eerily outside and the sound of raindrops pattering against the windowpane can be heard. But there comes a time when even I start to long for a change of scenery and a bit more than this life of slow living. There are times when all I can think about are bright, sunny days. The kinds of days that you just want to spend every waking second of outdoors, exploring and taking in the beauty that is all around you. And it is times like these, when I’m starting to feel a bit suffocated by my student house, away from any sign of wildlife that I start to crave any sign of an animal that isn’t the constant gnawing that comes from the rats within our walls.
But being a student means that holidays don’t come all that often, which means that jetting off to find some sunshine at this time of the year doesn’t come too often either. Holidays at the moment seem to come in the sense that I have no timetabled hours on campus but even these seem to fall into an air of routine that quickly loses that ‘holiday feel’ and falls into the far too familiar again. For those days when you just need to get away, a trip to the rainforest sounds all too appealing and equally way too far out of my measly student budget. Or so I thought anyway… That is until last weekend when my rainforest dreams became a reality and to make it even better I only had to travel thirty minutes down the road to Hampstead Norreys.
The Living Rainforest, albeit drastically smaller than the Amazon, is perfect for those days when you just need an escape from reality. At just £9.35 for a student ticket, which lasts all year, it’s hardly breaking the bank but you can have the opportunity to walk within the same enclosure as a range of different wildlife. With birds flying above my head, lizards lurking inside the bushes and a sloth dangling from the treetops this day trip was unbelievably far removed from the way that I usually spend my weekends!
Admittedly, while the website implies that all of the animals are free-roaming, I was slightly disappointed to find upon arrival that this wasn’t actually the case and overall the entire park is much smaller than I was ancipating it would be. But nonetheless, it was a wonderful way to pass a few hours and if you’re in the area it would definitely make for a lovely stop off as a part of a bigger day trip out in Berkshire! Teamed with a little cafe, a playpark for the kids, the option to pick up a few paper challenges for the little ones to complete during the day and a wonderful, well-priced gift shop and the area is pretty well set to allow you to pass a couple of hours within the vicinity!
Have you ever been to the Living Rainforest? Did you manage to spot the elusive sloth?