A llama experience is not something you may have ever dreamed of doing! Typical questions you may be asking yourself are:
Well, let me tell you, IT'S BRILLIANT!! And it's something you can do too, with Julia and Phil Nash at Norfolk Llamas.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I turned up to Norfolk Llamas for my afternoon of llama walking so I was more than ready to find out what makes a llama experience so enticing and different to anything else I'd done!
So this page is all about my experience with “Norfolk Llamas” and how much fun it was, and how you, too, can enjoy a most relaxing and different experience with these llamas.
With great excitement, Bella (my daughter) and I were met at the gate of the old Norfolk Wildlife Park by Phil and Julia Nash, the extremely lovely, easy going and friendly owners of the llamas! And if you're like us, you will have only ever seen these animals in a zoo.
Phil and Julia brought us round to the front of the old tea room overlooking the mature park and chatted about the llamas they owned, how they got into the llama experience and a little bit more about the parkland of the Norfolk Wildlife Park where we would be walking with the llamas (more below about the old Norfolk Wildlife Park here).
I won’t go into detail about llamas here as you can read more about them on the Norfolk Llama website here, but believe me when I say you'll definitely want to find out more about them once you've finished your fun few hours here.
After our brief chat we then headed over to the llama pen and met the llamas that we were going to become friends with over the next few hours!
They are very strange looking animals, but really lovely! It’s very difficult to describe what I feel about them, but suffice to say that at the end of the day I would have happily taken Bluebelle home with me!!
Bluebelle (my llama for this experience!) was casually sitting down, looking at us with curious eyes and strange teeth!
The wonderful thing about this experience is that you can ask Julia and Phil absolutely anything you want to know about llamas at any time and you’ll get an answer. And once you're leading them around, you'll definitely have questions to ask!
Phil and Julia are both so enthusiastic and so obviously LOVE their llamas (as we did too!). So questions such as “can they be ridden?", “are they like horses?”, “why are their teeth higher in the middle?”, “do they moult?”, can just be thrown at them - no question is too stupid to ask, that’s how much you’re put at your ease.
I decided I liked the look of Bluebelle who was so sweet, and Bella took Gwinny, a slightly taller llama and who had quite a cheeky character. She loved the vegetation! In fact you can find out more about each of the Llamas that Phil and Julia have here.
Just to mention here, you don’t have to have had any experience with animals. I wondered if it would have helped if either of us had had experience with horses, but it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference because llamas do not behave like any animals you may know! And Julia and Phil tell you exactly how to lead them and walk with them.
It’s a perfect opportunity for a birthday gift, or a great chance to do something different with a group of friends. You can contact Norfolk Llamas here.
Now the fun part begins! Once the llamas had their halters on, we were on to the obstacle course. This was very amusing, learning how to steer Bluebelle through the maze, over a jump and zigzagging through some posts. You’ve got to go and try this llama walking in Norfolk (!), it’s such a fun few hours and so very different!
The obstacle course is a great idea as we were acquainted with each of our llamas and we both felt it gave us a feel for them before we started on our walk through the parkland.
Once we’d got to grips with how to move the llamas right and left (and it is important to know how to do this correctly and all part of the llama experience) and what they like us to do, we then headed off for our llama walk which took about 1.5 hrs. You would never believe it took that length of time because you’ll be so immersed in taking “your” llama for a walk that time will go by so quickly. As the saying goes “time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!” It certainly did with us.
It’s a fascinating walk through the park of what was the Norfolk Wildlife Park. There are still lots of cages and pools where the animals were kept, all pointed out by Julia and Phil, as well as the wonderful different species of trees that had been planted years ago by Philip Wayre. The occasional stop at the willow trees, cherry trees or the red oaks were a must for the llamas, and they knew exactly the right trees for the treats!
The Norfolk Wildlife Park was the first wildlife park in the UK in 1963, set up by naturalist Philip Wayre and it was a very popular attraction to visit in the 70’s and 80’s.
It attracted 100,000 visitors a year. Philip also set up the Otter Trust which set out to breed otters in captivity and save them from extinction. This was a very successful breeding and re-introduction programme and was responsible for putting the otters back into many of the UK rivers.
According to here-say and old reports, it really was a magical place full of extraordinary and unusual animals – anything from wallabies (which you can still see!) to the Arctic Fox and Wild Boar. The area is now owned by Stephen and Sharon White and this is where you’ll be walking the llamas.
Stopping at the trees to let the llamas munch away is a great time to get to know your particular llama; to gently stroke them and to watch them strip the willow branches and itch themselves on some of the stronger sharper branches!
Each llama definitely has its own character and you only really get to understand that when you go on this llama experience. Bluebelle was so gentle and biddable, she was absolutely sweet. Bella walked with Gwinny who was a bit more amusing in her antics, nibbling Bluebell’s bottom (which Bluebell did not like!). And Smokey was a great leader.
They really are extraordinary animals. We were actually very sad when we arrived back at the start of the walk as we wanted to carry on! I could have walked and walked with Bluebelle, it was quite a surreal experience.
A little treat of apples/carrots and pellets in a bowl awaits them at the end of the walk which they loved and gobbled down. Once back in their paddock it was time for us to head off to the old tea room to have a fabulous cream tea and more chat with Julia and Phil and browse over a few books (not that you have to do that, but I was hooked on llamas by the end of the walk!!).
I absolutely loved it (and so did my daughter) and I defy anyone to not to enjoy this llama experience. It's really difficult to put into words what fun it was, and also how enjoyable it was to learn about something new and do something so completely different. You can contact Phil and Julia here.
This wonderful experience is open all year round, and the 25 acre park lends itself to any season. We went in the autumn and the colours were magical. The Spring would be fantastic, with all the blossom, as would the summer and winter.
Perfect for a gift to give someone or even with a group of friends, or just as a couple.
Ideally, this fantastic llama experience is most suited to the over 12 age group.
To Book: Norfolk Llamas isn’t open to the public to just come and view. You need to make a pre-booking to be able to have the llama experience which you can read about here
Telephone numbers: Phil and Julia Nash - 01603 260153/07910 155535
Have fun and I know you'll enjoy yourselves!