Get your fill of feline fun in 2019 with our pick of great days out for cat lovers. Katy McIntosh writes.
We all love a special day out with friends and family, but what could make it better? Cats, of course! We’ve rounded up the best feline attractions across the UK, just for you. Whether you enjoy shopping, walking, a delicious slice of cake, or trying something new, we’ve got you covered!
Love big cats? The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent is home to many beautiful felines, including tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and more. You may remember the organisation from the BBC series ‘Big Cats About the House’, which followed director Giles Clark as he raised adorable black jaguar cub, Maya. The sanctuary is not usually open to the public, except for special experience days. These include big cat encounters, cheetah experiences (pictured above), and the opportunity to be a ranger for the day, all of which include guided tours and hand-feeding a big cat.
The sanctuary also offers photography workshops, where you can get up close to the cats and take some unique shots.
As a registered charity, The Big Cat Sanctuary supports many conservation projects and is part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
To find out more, visit www.thebigcatsanctuary.org or call 01233 439150.
If you’re anything like us, you can’t resist buying gifts for your cat or cat-themed presents for yourself! FurCats in Chorlton, Manchester, is the purrfect spot for finding both. This beautiful cat boutique specialises in healthy, high-quality cat food, as well as toys, gifts, home décor, and clothing for you.
Go to www.furcats.co.uk or call 07368 371 221.
Did you know that many National Trust properties have resident cats? Cotehele, a Tudor house and garden in Cornwall, is home to Rubeus — a beautiful Bengal.
He loves patrolling the gardens, getting a fuss from visitors, and trying to steal food! Attingham Park, an 18th-century mansion and estate in Shrewsbury is also home to a kitty — the lovable Scrap. This gorgeous black moggy spends most of her time in the walled garden, protecting it from mice. She also loves to roll around and show off to visitors!
To find out more, go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Image: National Trust/Steven Haywood Image: National Trust/Rachel Barnes
Find the felines
Take a trip to York and enjoy a ramble around the York Cat Trail! The city is cat crazy — it’s home to many feline sculptures scattered about for you to spot. The self-guided tour starts at The Cat Gallery — a store specialising in gifts for cat lovers and their furry friends. The shop, which opened in 2001, offers cat toys, furniture, bedding, and food, as well as clothes, jewellery, homeware, and collectables for cat enthusiasts.
Visit www.thecatgallery.co.uk to download the trail map and shop online, or call 01904 631611.
Highland Wildlife Park is the ideal place to find out more about our kitties’ wild cousins. The park’s daily activities include talks on tigers, snow leopards, and one of their star attractions — the Scottish wildcats. Located in the Cairngorms National Park in Inverness-shire, it is one of the very few places you can see Scottish wildcats. These beautiful creatures are sadly close to extinction, but the park saw three of these rare kittens born in 2018.
Go to www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk or call 01540 651 270.
Kitty adventures for kids
Take the little ones to see a family favourite on stage: ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. This musical play, based on the book by Judith Kerr, is currently touring the country. Recommended for children aged three and above.
Visit www.tigerstealive.comfepark.org.uk or call 01540 651 270.
Meet Hello Kitty at Drusillas Park! The park houses a zoo, play areas, and rides, as well as the Hello Kitty Secret Garden. There are themed rides and, on special event days, children can meet Hello Kitty in her house and enjoy face painting and hair braiding at the Hello Kitty Parlour.
Go to www.drusillas.co.uk or call 01323 874100.
Cat cafes have popped up all over the UK in the past few years. These cafes offer a great way to spend time with cats if you’re not able to have one at home (or if you just enjoy meeting new kitties). Many also offer special events, such as craft evenings and movie nights. Here are some of our top picks across the country. Cats, coffee, and cake — what more could you want?
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
London (pictured above)
www.ladydinahs.com or call 020 8616 9390.
Mog on the Tyne
www.mogonthetyne.com or call 07470 262685.
Maison de Moggy
www.maisondemoggy.com or call 0131 629 5530.
Nottingham and Leeds
www.kittycafe.co.uk or call 0115 924 2214 (Nottingham) /01132 449 222 (Leeds).
Rabble Rags Manor
www.newportcatcafe.co.uk or call 01633 960930.
Pause Cat Cafe
www.pausecatcafe.co.uk or call 01202 240194.
Manchester and Liverpool
www.catcafe.co.uk or call 0161 222 4960 (Manchester) /0151 709 9992 (Liverpool).