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The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall

Updated on April 28, 2013

Everybody loves a monkey! So what better way to spend the day than at The Monkey Sanctuary. At The Monkey Sanctuary they care for and preserve the welfare of a colony of South American woolly monkeys as well as three other species - in total, 24 monkeys. All have been rescued from UK pet traders and international primate pet trades. The four species you'll get the chance to see are:

  • Capuchin Monkeys
  • Woolly Monkeys
  • The Patas Monkey
  • Barbary Macquaques

At The Monkey Sanctuary you'll be able to watch real monkeys as they live, feed and interact with each other - exactly as they would in the wild. The Monkey Sanctuary is a charity, working with rescued monkeys - they are part of the Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary and Animal Charity.

The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Steve Berry
The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Steve Berry
The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Smoobs
The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Smoobs

The Sanctuary offers a great day out for all the family, with wildlife gardens, children’s activity room, workshops, gift shop, café and picnic areas. At the gift shop you can pick up a range of fair trade goods. The café is a vegetarian café overlooking the grounds of the Monkey Sanctuary.

Wildlife Garden at the Monkey Sanctuary

The wildlife garden at the Monkey Sanctuary has been developed and designed over the years to be attractive to different plants and animals.

There are spring and summer meadows, planted with local wildflowers. These are mown during the year especially to encourage flowers to seed and blossom.

There's also a pond, which is home for a variety of frogs, toads and newts - watch out for visiting dazzling dragonflies in the summer. The pond also provides an important feeding and breeding station for wildlife. The pond has been designed with native plants and shallow water - you might see Great Water Diving Beetles hunting newtlets too. Although the pond is quite small, it does supports 10 different species of Dragonfly.

The woodland edge is a haven for birds and insects, because of its densely-packed native shrubs, small trees and weeds. Keep a watch out for banks of stinging nettles and thistles. The lawns have a beautiful covering of buttercups and daisies. These native weeds encourage native wildlife. Nettles are able to support over 200 species of insects, such as Peacock butterflies, which lay their eggs on them.

The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Alistair Young
The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall Photo by: Alistair Young

The garden was originally created when the house was built, during Victorian times, when it was fashionable to plant exotic foreign species, such as Azalea and Rhododendron. At the time, having exotic plants in your garden was seen as a symbol of the achievement of Britain and the far-flung British Empire. A number of the original, Victorian, plants have been kept, preserving the Victorian aspect of the garden.

In 1995 a new garden was established, to provide a year-round food supply for the monkeys and humans at the Sanctuary in a sustainable way. Here you'll find many layers of different heights such as Apples, Pears, Damsoms and Mulberry at the top and various herbs such as Cobnuts and Currants in the middle. Below these grow a variety of perennials and some annuals. All this was planated with permaculture in mind - permaculture works on the basis that some plants help each other and by planting in the right way an area needs no maintenance.

Nature Reserve

A lot of the grounds of The Monkey Sanctuary are inaccessible to visitors, it's there for wildlife. In the grounds there are about: 285 species of wildflower, 23 butterfly species, 54 moth species, 15 mammals, 6 amphibians and reptiles and at least 60 birds.

Be a Keeper For a Day

What a great birthday present this makes - or just a special day for somebody you know.

Whether somebody's 8 or 80, it seems everybody loves a monkey - so how great would it be to be a keeper for a day at the monkey sanctuary?  Well, you can.

This is a whole day experience.  You'll get involved with:

  • Preparing food for woolly and capuchin monkeys
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Making items to interest and entertain the monkeys (enrichment)
  • Listening to talks given by experienced keepers
  • Lunch at The Tree Top Café  and a coffee and cake break at The Tree Top Café
  • Guided tours of the woolly and capuchin enclosures with an experienced keeper to hear about the histories and personalities of each individual monkey at The Sanctuary.
  • Throughout the day you'll get to work closely with experienced members of the Primate Welfare Team, gaining a unique behind-the-scenes insight into their roles and responsibilities at the Sanctuary.
  • For a whole day you become involved in important aspects of the monkeys’ lives!

Fancy that?  Know somebody that would LOVE that?  Well, there's more.  You'll also get:

  • A full day’s one-to-one supervision and training by experienced members of the Primate Welfare Team.
  • A certificate of your day and photos of the monkeys
  • Friends of Wild Futures membership - members receive regular updates, a badge, a car sticker and a photo of one of our monkeys.
  • A Monkey Sanctuary T-Shirt
  • A free guest ticket for one person to enter the sanctuary after 11am

The cost to be a Keeper for a Day is £150 for one person, or £250 for two.

A once in a lifetime experience!

Directions to the Monkey Sanctuary, Cornwall

A markerMonkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall -
St Martin, Looe, Cornwall PL13 1NZ, UK
get directions

Visiting the Monkey Sanctuary

The Monkey Sanctuary is located on the south coast of Cornwall, near Looe. The nearest train station is Looe Station, which is the end of the Looe Line. The Monkey Sanctuary is just under 4 miles from Looe by road, so you'll need transport to get there.

Opening Hours: Late March to the end of October. Sun-Thu, 11am - 4.30pm. Closed Fri-Sat.

Admission Prices: Adult £7.50, Child (under 16) £3.50, Under 5s FREE, Students/Seniors £5, Family (2+3) £20. Wheelchair users half price, Wheelchair user carers free. 10% discount on tickets bought online.

Unlimited Free Entry: Pay once and your ticket enables you to have unlimited re-entry for a full year (during their open season) + you're automatically a member of The Monkey Sanctuary for a whole year. Free car parking.

Address:Murrayton House, St Martins, Looe, Cornwall, England, PL13 1NZ
Telephone: 01503 262532


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      Kalie 3 years ago

      That's not just logic. That's really senisble.