Port Lympne Reserve
Port Lympne Reserve
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Zoos
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9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
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Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve offers exciting days out in Kent filled with discovery for the entire family. Set in 600 acres, and housing over 650 rare and endangered animals, Port Lympne offers a treat for everyone.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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2,562 reviews
Very good

Suffolk, UK5 contributions
Dec 2021
I found it quite frustrating reading some of these reviews, as I think people forget it is NOT a zoo, but in fact a reserve. So you are not meant to walk around and be able to see every single animal. I think the fact their living spaces are made to be as natural as possible is amazing and what more zoo's should be taking on board. In fact since visiting Port Lympne, I have not been to a zoo since and it has really opened my eyes to animal welfare in zoo's and I love following Damian & Freya's social media updates.

Rant over, on to my stay...

Truly the most magical place in the UK. It's become my happy place. The reserve itself, accommodation, customer service, decor and food is incredible, the animals are so lovely to see, especially knowing of the rewilding programme.

I've been lucky enough to stay in Tiger Lodge, Wolf Lodge and Pinewood now. All of which were very special. Nothing is too much for the staff. You feel appreciated from the moment you enter the gates and it really adds to the experience.

I would recommend booking a private safari over the free one included in the stay, just because you don't feel as rushed and get to experience the animals closer up and spend more time looking at the surrounding views.

Definitely ride around on your golf buggy in the evening and early hours during sunrise / sunset.

Have loved my experiences so much that I'm coming back for my 30th next year to stay in Lion Lodge.

Highly recommend!
Written November 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear huskyhan, Thank you so much for taking the time to feedback to us. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us, and enjoyed your private safari. We can't wait to welcome you back to Port Lympne for your upcoming stay! Kind Regards, Customer Services at Port Lympne
Written November 8, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jan H
175 contributions
Feb 2022 • Couples
We booked a three night stay in the Mansion for a birthday celebration, we have stayed at Port Lympne once before. It didn’t disappoint this time. The car park is very steep but there are plenty of parking bays. A golf buggy per room is provided for easy access around the reserve. We were allocated the bridal suite, a surprise as I’d requested a room with a view. This is a lovely room, with a four poster bed and a large bathroom and a dressing room. It has two windows overlooking the pond and gardens. The door to the room is accessible by a small corridor with room marked private to the right and rear. This did appear to be the one negative of our stay, as we think these rooms were offices/storage as we could hear animated telephone conversations taking place from
8.30 in the morning and there was a lot of noise and a constant flow of people in and out throughout the day. This did prove a nuisance when we came back late afternoon wanting a peaceful snooze. I’m sure if I’d complained the hotel would have moved us (if availability) however we tolerated it for our short stay, but for our next break I will request another room.
We were allocated 3 complimentary safaris. On arrival I decided I would try and upgrade and the staff in the Concierge’s office couldn’t have been more helpful. The young lady ranger took us on a ‘one to one’ giraffe safari, this is £75 per person and worth every penny, the ranger was so informative, patient and took such time answering our questions, it was an amazing experience, couldn’t recommend enough. The complimentary safari we did the next day was very good too. We ate in the garden room restaurant, a spectacular conservatory, the food was delicious. We ate at Baby Dolls Pizza place a couple of times too, also excellent. All staff we encountered in every area, went above and beyond to help, so polite and nothing was too much trouble. The reserve is totally dedicated to all the species they have there, the “enclosures” are huge and full of greenery to mimic each animals natural habitat as much as possible. This is far more than a wildlife park, this is more a sanctuary, clearly with the animals well-being at heart. The golf buggy's are great fun and afford you a sense of freedom as you can explore the reserve at your leisure and at times when the reserve is closed to the public. There are several options of accommodation available to accommodate all budgets. I’m looking forward to our next stay already!
Written February 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rosie P
London, UK59 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
I almost didn’t come here after I’d read the bad reviews & I’m so glad I ignored them! This place is incredible! Doing great things for conservation & the place itself is amazing.
We came for my boyfriends birthday & pre booked an AAA safari. Was quite pricey but was so worth the money- we got to feed the giraffes & the rhino & our guide was super friendly, very knowledgable & enthusiastic. You can tell they actually care about the animals & is so much better than any zoo you will ever go to.
Even without the safari we saw loads of animals- lions, tigers, gorillas, baboons, wallaby, bears amongst others. If you want to see everything, (as parts of it are not accessible by foot) then I would recommend pre booking one of the standard day safaris, as for £6 extra, it’s so worth it at very little extra cost.
Lots of reviews complain that the enclosures are too big & you can’t see anything, but what do these people want??! A tiny cage where the animal can barely move to give you a guaranteed view? Yes the enclosures are huge, & yes you may not see every single animal but we managed to see most things & it’s a nice feeling to know the welfare of the animal takes precedent. My only criticism is that the viewing to the lions is very small, through letterbox shaped holes in a fence. Not sure why this is & is something that could be improved. Although whilst we were there, they’re building a whole new enclosure for them, so you should be able to see them in a completely different place.
There is a fair bit of walking to be done & some of it is on a hill, so might not be appropriate for disabled/ elderly/ young families, which is even more reason to do a safari.
We ate at Babydolls, & the setting was gorgeous with a lovely courtyard, friendly staff, great tasting food & reasonably priced. We had a quick look round the main house & restaurant, & that looked lovely too.
We didn’t find the golf buggies a problem as others had said on some reviews, but we did go on a weds so maybe it’s more of a problem on a weekend when it’s busier?
Would definitely consider staying in one of the overnight accommodations next time- before we went I thought they were very expensive, but now having been & seen the place & each different lodge, I think it would be lovely for a special treat.
Can’t recommend this place highly enough!!! & cannot wait to return.
Written July 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hoddesdon, UK2 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
I booked a surprise for my partner and daughters birthday and decided to stay in Hog Deer Creek.

Neither of them had ever heard of the place so it was a nice surprise when we got there. The check in process was smooth, and we had use of a golf buggy which was so exciting for my partner and children (10 and 2). Shout out to Tom who showed us how to use our golf buggy and escorted us to our accommodation. He was lovely.

Would definitely recommend booking onto the inclusive safari, this was so interesting and you get to see animals you can’t get to on foot. The guide was really interesting and knowledgable and the kids loved it.

It’s a big park to walk around and some of it is quite steep. All was pram friendly though and there were places to stop and rest or grab a drink or snack along the way. All the enclosures are amazing and you can see they really care about creating a natural habitat. Yea you can’t always see everything straight away; but we managed to see it all in the end. You have to be patient and go back after hours when the main public have gone home.

We had dinner booked at bear lodge, it’s expensive but the food was really nice. Three courses for kids who loved their food and we went for burgers which were lovely. The service was fantastic and the evening manager (male, didn’t catch his name) couldn’t do enough to help.

The accommodation was lovely, clean and surprisingly spacious, double bed and double bunk beds over looking a fantastic view. Wild hog deer roaming around outside your door. Fantastic bathroom/shower and Nespresso machine was a nice touch.

When the park closes to the main public but you can still drive around in your golf buggy and see the animals etc, it’s so much fun and such a great idea. My partner and 10 year old had a whale of a time. It was so quiet it honestly felt like we were the only ones there. A lot of the animals we missed during the day made an appearance in the evening when it was quieter as well.

After a lovely nights sleep we had breakfast at bear lodge, lovely fried breakfast. Kids had cereal and pancakes.

Check out was 11 and we then spent the day driving round as much as we could before we had to give the golf buggy up at 1. (Partner was devastated).

There is a fab dinosaur walk through the forest as well which the kids loved, you can drive through a part of it and it was a bit like being in Jurassic park. 10 year old loved it, 2 year old was not so sure 😂

Had such a good time, honestly I can’t think of any negatives. Every staff member we encountered were polite and friendly and so happy. It seems like everyone really loves working here. We can’t wait to come back next year with more family!
Written May 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your lovely comprehensive review. It is good to hear how much you enjoyed your time with us and we are looking forward to seeing you again next year. Thank you once again.
Written May 10, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Hastings, UK26 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
My partner and I visited on 25th/26th May. We booked one of the basic pinewood pods for an overnight stay and a gorilla experience.
Arrival is a little bit confusing, we got sent down to guest services needlessly, but that definitely wasn’t representative of the rest of the stay.
We’ve been to port lympne a few times so we were totally prepared not to get a close up view of all the animals, this isn’t London Zoo so if you’re visiting to see sad animals in tiny cages this place isn’t for you.
We were so surprised to get at least a glimpse of every animal, the safari was amazing and I would definitely recommend booking one, you miss half the park if you don’t. We had Trevor running our safari and his knowledge and anecdotes made it 10x better.
The gorilla experience was well worth the money, you go in with an experienced keeper (I think mine was called daisy? She was great!!) right in to the back end of the enclosure, the gorillas are of course behind a cage, but no more than a metre away from you.
You then go up the stairs and walk over a platform over the top of the enclosure to the roof, where you scatter feed the gorillas in to their outside area, then they come up to the top of the enclosure and you can pour food in to their hands and mouths. (Wouldn’t recommend if you’re scared of heights or a bit unstable as you are very high up)
We booked the most basic overnight accommodation the Pinewood Pod, and for one night it was great, beds were comfy, I would prefer white sheets but you can see why they don’t do it as you could bring in a lot of mud.
The toilets facilities and showers were very clean, and accessing water is so easy as there are taps dotted about near the pods and washing up facilities available.
The pod could have done with a blackout curtain but for the price and how close it is to the lions, we weren’t going to complain.
The pods do sleep four, but I wouldn’t recommend it as they’re not that big.
We got food at Babydolls pizza which was also great, just bear in mind this is very popular for parents with young children, so book after 7pm if you prefer a quiet meal.
Every staff member we encountered was really friendly, as as always the park was amazing and animals looked really happy!
We would return again but are considering Wolf Lodge, as for the price this also looks good.
Written May 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Guildford, UK56 contributions
Apr 2022
My partner and I have been to a lot of zoos and wildlife parks before (including Port Lympne's sister park, Howletts) and I was really looking forward to this one, from everything I'd heard and seen I thought it would be something truly special. We debated staying in one of the accommodation options as it was a special occasion for us but even the cheapest one, Pinewood, would have been £250 a night and we just couldn't justify that to ourselves. Perhaps we would have had a more exciting time if we had stayed overnight, but as a day visit, Port Lympne was actually kind of underwhelming. We certainly enjoyed it, but no better than any other zoo, and definitely not as much as Longleat, which is the kind of place I was expecting it to be like.

If you visit, do take the safari tour, you will see plenty of animals even if you don't see them all, and you will hear one or two interesting stories, at least if you have the same guide as us! One thing I will say for this place is the animals have been given plenty of room to themselves, which of course means you may not see them. Perhaps this is the reason I was underwhelmed, for example, we hardly saw any monkeys or primates, aside from the gorillas. I thought we would spend the entire day at the park, but - perhaps due to the absence of visible animals in many enclosures - including the 1 hour safari and a 45 minute lunch at Babydoll's, we were finished in just over 4 hours, and we didn't feel like walking round a second time.

(As for Babydoll's, by the way, it was better than the vast majority of zoo restaurants I have visited, but worse than the majority of wood-fired pizza restaurants I have visited.)

If you have lots of money, it would probably be worth staying overnight to get more chances to see the animals, and it certainly seems from the other reviews that there is no shortage of such people. For everyone else Port Lympne is still definitely worth a day visit, just treat it like any other zoo and don't go with your hopes too high!
Written April 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for taking time to leave your review. It is disappointing to hear that your day did not live up to expectation. We are very clear that we are not a zoo as we make every effort to replicate our animals natural habitat in addition to never shutting them out. This does mean that it is quite likely that our visitors will not immediately see all our animals as they are not on 'display'. We believe this philosophy has made a major contribution to our world renowned breeding successes. Bearing this in mind we recommend to make a return visit to enclosures where you may not have seen shyer species earlier in the day . We appreciate all feedback whether positive or negative so thank you once again.
Written June 8, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

3 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
We visited Port Lympne Reserve incl a two-night stay in one of their treehouses (GBP 900/night !!!) in August 2021. We were looking forward to the unique wildlife experience that they promise (‘hear the lions roar when you are about to go to bed’).
The reality looks like that: from the moment we arrived on Saturday lunchtime all we could hear was a Mariachi Band playing as there was a wedding reception! Basically any animal was hiding away, who could blame them given the noise level.
The wedding reception then turned into a party/disco, our four-year old couldn’t sleep as the music from that party was that intense, we could name the songs the dj was playing from our accommodation which was 5 minutes drive in a golf cart away.
When we complained to the night manager , we were basically told there’d be nothing he could do.
The music did not stop till well past 1am !
We complained the next morning to the manager at guest services, she cleary couldn’t be bothered.
We advised her that at checkout the following day we would expect a suggestion as how they intend to charge the first night.
At checkout the manager was not available, no one had any clue about our complaints.
We advised the staff at checkout that we would be putting any payments on our credit card on hold until we would have received a call from management.
To date, no one bothered calling us!
Port Lympne could be a great place to visit, beautiful setting, the staff (Rangers, Keepers, Restaurant staff, Reception staff) was brilliant!
Such a shame that they are all let down by incompetent, ignorant and arrogant management.
I wonded how far their love and care for animals go if they expose them to such an absurd level of noise pollution.
Written September 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jack W
Guildford, UK8 contributions
Oct 2021 • Couples
My partner and I visited Port Lympne early October and had the most fantastic time. We booked the AAA Safari for 10 am which was a 2.5 hour experience that consisted of feeding a rhino and also some giraffes! We were greeted by one of the Rangers called Charlie who is absolutely fantastic and had impeccable knowledge of the animals! Charlie was very happy to answer any questions we had during the tour and we learnt loads!

We were very impressed with the Covid safety measures that they had in place during the tour as they aren’t sure how the virus passes across to the animals. Therefore, we had to wear a mask and gloves when interacting with any of them.

After the tour we went to lunch at The Garden Room which was really nice and the food was delicious. The service however, was a little bit slow and they did forget a few drink orders despite the fact the restaurant was relatively quiet.

We also had the opportunity to take part in a gorilla scatter feed with some of the younger silverback gorillas. You were given a rather small amount of “snacks” to throw over to the gorillas which I was slightly disappointed with as it was over after throwing a few handfuls. (But it was an brilliant experience that I would do again though!)

Overall we had a fantastic time and can’t wait to come back! Highly recommend!
Written October 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you very much for your lovely review. We appreciate all feedback which enables us to continue to improve our guests experiences and we hope to welcome you back again soon. Thank you once again
Written October 26, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

United Kingdom145 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
Had such a lovely day at the reserve with my partner. Stunningly beautiful grounds. The mansion and gardens are breath taking.

We arrived on a Monday afternoon it was so quiet even though we were informed there were five school buses in attendance. I walked 13’000 steps that day very large grounds, some steep hills. Shops with refreshments and portaloo’s dotted about.

We had pre booked the safari Im not sure it was worth the money, couldn’t get close up, bumpy ride and uncomfortable seats. Most animals are viewed from the right hand side and as we were sitting on the left it was very limited viewing.

However it was such a lovely day, free to casually stroll so I would recommend for a day out.
Written June 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for taking time to leave your review. It is good to hear that you enjoyed your day with us taking in our lovely location. Our safari drive takes our visitors out around over 100 acres where the animals are free roaming so this means every safari ride is different. Thank you once again and we hope to welcome you back to our Park.
Written July 2, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kingsnorth, UK51 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
We did the giraffe safari, it was excellent. The ranger, Will (I think), was knowledgeable, interesting and wanted to ensure we had a good time. We got to see the animals very close up, feed the giraffes, and have an intimate encounter with an ostrich! It was a marvellous adventure and my partner who the surprise was for, was absolutely over joyed with the giraffe experience. We were told to go and wait in the wrong place by the person on entry, which meant it was a lot of unnecessary walking for my partner. There was no staff around to ask questions and if we didn't get a call to advise a ranger was waiting and where to go, we would have been standing around for a long time and missed our experience. It is also quite pricy, and if you're going as a family on a day trip, you will be shocked. You have to pay for the entry + safari experience of your choice. We didn't explore the park except for the safari so I cannot comment. Finally, we stopped for a drink in the restaurant, and I was given an apple juice which had mould in the juice. I was not suitably impressed having not looked in the glass until I had taken a few sips. Unfortunately the bar lady didn't seem to fussed about it but we were on a strict schedule so left it with some advice to check the apple juice cartons. Nevertheless it didn't detract from the amazing giraffe experience and that was the sole purpose of the morning we spent there. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort prior to our arrival and whilst we were there. I'd recommend it but give caution that some days may not be as fruitful due to weather and animal behaviours or even just trying to find them in the vast land they have. This really set the tone for a very memorable day which resulted in me taking my partner to Leeds Castle after the experience and leaving there with her as my Fiancee! So all in all the best day!
Written September 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you very much for your comprehensive review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your Giraffe Safari which is a two hour safari and also a wonderful opportunity to hand feed our Giraffes. Our day admission ticket gives our visitors access to the walking route set over 500 acres and is home to our Large and Small Carnivores, Gorillas, Primates, Rhinos and Hoofstock. We recommend to allow 3-4 hours to follow this route however this can vary as we never shut our animals out. So you may need to return to an enclosure to see a favourite animal if they were inside earlier. Our staff take great pride in our Parks and our conservation projects so it is especially disappointing to hear your comments regarding the response you received. We welcome all feedback whether positive or negative so we may continue to improve our visitors experience. Finally our congratulations to you both on your engagement and we hope to see you again in the future.
Written November 7, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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