South Lakes Safari Park
The park comprises 139,000 sq ft of buildings as well as land, car parking and other facilities

South Lakes Safari Park up for sale

Sarah Townsend

The freehold of the zoo, spanning around 38 acres in Lindal-in-Furness in Cumbria, is being marketed for sale by consultancy Savills following an expansion project over the last decade.

South Lakes Safari Zoo comprises 29 main buildings spanning almost 139,000 sq ft and is located on the southern edge of the Lake District National Park alongside the A590 road near Dalton-in-Furness.

The zoo provides more than 60 indoor and outdoor attractions, as well as outdoor adventure play areas, two indoor restaurants and a retail area in the main reception building. There is also parking for more than 700 vehicles provided on site.

The park is operated by Cumbria Zoo Company and generates around £500,000 per year in rent, according to Savills. A potential freehold sale would include two concurrent short-term leases to the operator with six years remaining.

When the leases expire in February 2026, further leases may be granted by the owner, or operation of the zoo by the freehold owner, would be considered.

In the meantime, the day-to-day operations of the zoo would remain unaffected by the sale, the agent added.

More than £4m has been invested in the safari park over the past decade, including the purchase of additional land to the east of the main site, which has more than doubled the site area and enabled additional buildings, such as the shop and visitor centre, to be constructed.

The zoo became mired in controversy in 2017, when the publication of an inspectors’ report raised concerns over high numbers of animal deaths at the park. A new management team has since been brought on board.

 

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I had a caravan in this area for about 15 years and I went here about 3 times. First time I went was about the year 2000 and it was a small site, but really good for me and the family for a good afternoon out. Then went back about 2005 and 2010 and I seen it getting bigger and better. It’s a great place to spend about 5 hours look around. A lovely zoo.

By Darren born bred

This Zoo is not for sale !

When I started Cumbria Zoo back in October 2016 I did so purely with the intention of securing a future for this amazing zoo, amazing staff and most importantly the amazing animals in our care. And against every odd given that we did.

We currently rent the land from the former owner South Lakes Safari Zoo Ltd which in 2018 went into administration. The sale particulars for the land on which Safari Zoo sits has been finalised and on Monday that land, on which we operate goes up for sale.

I want to reassure all our visitors, followers, supporters, suppliers and customers that this in no way affects the day to day running of Safari Zoo that you and I know and love. Our lease remains in place together with an option to extend – an option we WILL be taking.

We have made a reasonable offer to buy the land – an offer based on the current value of the land (as the value of the zoo cannot be taken into account as it is not for sale) which will give us the opportunity to continue the awesome developments you have seen over the last 3 years and even more so as we would also have our rent – an extra half a million pounds – to reinvest back in.

How can you help – the way you do with your support and continuous input. We have over 98,000 followers on facebook and think of this if everyone bought 2 adult tickets to the zoo to use anytime they wanted over the next 12 months not only would they get a great day out but we would have a £3, 198,000 purchase fund …. Or if everyone bought 2 annual passes for a whole years fun then we’d have £8,000,000 fund.

We remain hopeful that this will work out as we want it to but rest assured that the teams here will continue to bring you the most pawesome of days out, the most caring of conservation efforts and the best of animal encounters and the most exciting of educational opportunities.

By Cumbria Zoo

Thank you for your comment. The story reports that the zoo (property, land, buildings) are for sale, but it does not suggest that the company that operates the zoo (Cumbria Zoo Company) is also for sale. The lease remains in place.

By Sarah Townsend