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“what a great experience!”

Imperial Bird of Prey Academy
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Billericay
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Welcome to the Imperial Bird of Prey Academy. We are the leading Bird of Prey Centre in Essex, based at Barleylands Farm & Craft Village, Billericay. We are open to the public 362 days of the year, where you can enjoy our daily flying displays in our purpose built flying arena. In addition, Barleylands Farm & Craft Village offers both indoor and outdoor activities for children, craft shops and tearooms, creating a fantastic day out in Essex for all the family. We offer a wide range of experience days, which are both fun and educational, catering for all ages and abilities, making them the perfect gift. Our friendly team will make your experience both personal and enjoyable giving you plenty of hands on time with our amazing birds of prey – making your visit to the Imperial Bird of Prey Academy truly memorable. A day you will never forget. For that special occasion, why not have our birds of prey come to you? At the Imperial Bird of Prey Academy, we are able to offer tailor-made school visits, static bird displays, educational talks and so much more.... We look forward to seeing you soon!
Reviewed May 22, 2013

I bought a 1/2 day experience for my husband for his birthday and we went on Monday 20th May. The academy is in teh Barleylands environment but run seperately to it. Nigel who owns and runs the academy is a lovely friendly chap who is clearly devoted to all of the marvelous birds here and was very ably supported by Joe on the day we were there. As it was a weekday we pretty much had a one to one experience so were able to spend even longer learning about and handling the birds which was great. The day was very interesting and my husband handled a kestral, a peregrine and a peruvian striped owl and then we went outside to spend some time with Magic the owl and Gomzo the hooded vulture who is a complete character. After that we went to the fields with Gypsum. She is a sizeable lady who was absolutely beautiful to watch in flight especially when she came winging in to be fed. My husband really enjoyed his experience, I have some lovely photographs and we both learned heaps fo stuff. The birds all looked in excellent health and their environment is clean and calm and also well looked after. So thanks to Nigel and Joe and their feathered friends for such a marvellous day. I think this is something we may well repeat and we will definitely be back to see the general shows as well.
There are varying levels of expereinec to suit budget but I would recommend at the 1/2 day for sure. A very good day out and one that we have already recommended to friends.

1  Thank Tonja C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 2, 2013

This was a 'birds of prey' red letter experience day treat for my other half.

I chose this venue purely as it was the closet to us in Hertfordshire, and didn't charge for a guest (ie me) to come along. Considering that was the only criteria I used to choose the venue, we ended up with a real gem of an experience.

I must mention where the location of the academy. It's set in Barleylands Farm, a great little visitor attraction in its own right. From what we saw it had a farmers market, farm animals, play areas (indoors and out), sandpit with diggers (yes, I was tempted), gift shops- great for families. So if you are the tag along and didn't want to watch the birds- you could easily amuse yourself at the attraction alone.

Anyway, I digress. The guy who owns Imperial - Nigel 'delivered' the experience, along with a couple of knowledgable assistants who were volunteers. Nigel was down to earth, amusing, incredibly knowledgable and so so passionate.

The day was well structured with lots of moving around, (I thought we might be just stood in a field for 3 hours), meeting different birds, learning quirky bits of history, handling them, flying them also. The staff build your confidence up gradually so you're fully ready to fly the birds.

A lot of the birds had their own little story behind them, some have wonderful little personalities (no I didn't think you could say that about a bird either), which added to the enchantment of the day.

A bit disappointed there's only 2 reviews on here- does not do the place justice at all. Highly recommend the experience- educational, engaging, and a great way to get up and personal to some awesome feathered friends.

Thank Becky H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

Took my partner for his birthday as he loves Owls and wanted to get up close. We have a lovely two hours being told everything we needed to know and given the chance to touch them. When it's cold it's very cold at Barlaylands and I only wanted it to finish because I was cold. A lovely treat for anyone liking birds.

Thank Paula A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

My wife arranged a surprise birthday treat for me at Imperial.

The day comprised sessions with a a whole variety of birds and a photographer for both of us. The photographer spent time ensuring we got the best out of our day with great photos (will post some later). Birds were taken away from the Academy to a nearby lake and field where they could be flown. We were also in the arena when public displays were given. We had much better access to the birds than the general public.

In addition to the above as part of the package we had lunch and a drink at the 'Magic Mushroom' restaurant nearby which was excellent (see separate review).

We arrived at 0930 and left about 1630 hrs it was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday.

The staff and volunteers that run the Academy clearly have a passion for what they do and deserve all the support and visitors they get.

Interestingly they get no money from the entrance money to the the Barleylands farm centre and so rely entirely on donations and people doing the experiences on offer which I thoroughly recommend at £90 per head for two of us it was great value.

3  Thank Slowhands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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