LONGLEAT Safari Park has re-opened to visitors but the first three days were reserved for annual pass holders only as a thank you for their support.

The Wiltshire wildlife attraction imposed a limit on daily capacity and all visitors needed to pre-book online before arrival.

Longleat usually attracts between 1,500 and 7,000 daily and places were available on a first-come first-served basis.

There was a 50p booking fee, with all money raised going to good causes.

Longleat has added a five-month extension to all original expiry dates for annual passes that had expired on or after March 1.

From Thursday, the drive-through Safari Park opened to all visitors; however everyone needed to purchase tickets before their visit.

Ceawlin Thynn, executive chairman of Longleat Enterprises, said: “Longleat is delighted to be able to welcome people back to the Safari Park.

“The entire team here has been working incredibly hard over the past few weeks to ensure we are able to re-open safely and provide visitors with a great experience.

“We have put in place a series of guidelines, along with additional hygiene procedures in order to be able to comply with the latest social distancing guidelines,” he added.

The walk-through animal areas around Longleat House will remain closed until June 25 and 26 when they will re-open to annual pass holders, and then the general public from June 27 onwards.

The Marquess added: “It is important we take this phased approach to re-opening to ensure the safety of our guests, staff and animals.”