One of Europe’s largest inland wetland projects, this 43-hectare centre run by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust was transformed from four Victorian reservoirs in 2000 and attracts some 140 species of bird, as well as frogs, butterflies, dragonflies and lizards, plus a thriving colony of watervoles. The glass-fronted observatory affords panoramic views over the lakes, while meandering paths and boardwalks lead visitors through the watery habitats of black swans, Bewick's swans, geese, red-crested pochards, sand martins, coots, bitterns, herons and kingfishers.
Don’t miss the Peacock Tower, a three-storey hide – and magnet for serious birders – on the main lake’s eastern edge; other hides are sprinkled around the reserve, including the Headley Discovery Hide in the west. The wetland is also well-populated with eight different species of bats that feed on the abundant moths. A short walk north of the entrance, the wetland's family of sleek-coated otters are fed daily at 11am and 2pm. Free daily tours , which are led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff members, are highly recommended. They depart at 11.30am and 2.30pm daily. Binoculars can be hired from the shop.