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“Howletts - one of our favourites”

Howletts Wild Animal Park
Ranked #4 of 109 things to do in Canterbury
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Howletts Wild Animal Park is a 90 acre adventure in beautiful ancient parkland that is ideal for great days out in Kent with the entire family.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Rochester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Howletts - one of our favourites”
Reviewed March 26, 2013

If you like gorillas then this is gorilla heaven! They have a good breeding programme so invariably there's a baby gorilla to see.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Judith N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ashford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
424 reviews
246 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 578 helpful votes
“Lovely day out in the Kent countryside”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

This is a more compact zoo than Port Lymph and probably more suitable for families with small children.It is still located in a very pretty area and there are some lovely ancient villages, like Bekesbourne, to explore. Access is either through Littlebourne, or Bekesbourne if you are coming down from London. When you enter through the shop do not go charging off on the main path. Take a civilised stroll round the side enclosures, you will be surprised by the number of animals that you will discover that are often overlooked. John Aspinall started his love of animal conservation in London, in the back garden of his Belgravia mansion, where he kept a baby tiger and two bears. He relocated to the beautiful mansion at Howletts and began developement of the 90 acre zoo. Nowadays you will find the largest herd of African elephants in the UK, rhino, wild dogs and a huge display of different species of monkey.His collection of tigers is world renouned, although the policy of keepers spending personal time with them led to tragedy and controversy and ultimately the near closure of the entire operation. I must say that years ago, one of the great pleasures I will always treasure was watching John Aspinall playing with the huge, male gorillas and the pure joy that was evident in both their faces. One thing I like about this zoo is the use of strengthened glass, so you can get up real close to the animals. This is particularly good when the big old male tiger aims a jet of urine at what he hopes is the little oik banging on the glass for his attention. I like the old herb garden that you can wander round on the way to the main gorilla compound and the troup of spider monkeys that live near here and make such a racquet. The cafe is nicely situated and, as usual, predictably high in price. Bring a picnic and buy a plate of chips. I am not sure now but in the past there was a lovely walk that could be had through the old estate land opposite the zoo, through the watercress farm and into the zoo park and thence through some beautiful orchards ending up in Littlebourne. The footpath goes via a bridge over the elephant enclosure and I have spent many happy times watching these wonderful animals.You will need an ordinance survey map and you will not see anything but elephants. The other enclosures are screened off. Anyway, great day out, kids will love it, easy access from London, bring a picnic, enjoy. Pedroofpobla

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Pedroofpobla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashford, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Fabulous day!”
Reviewed March 21, 2013

We recently visited Port Lympne after a break (we live local) and were very disappointed with the changes made, despite management explaining the reasoning behind them. May suit some but not us I am afraid. So we decided to visit Howletts instead today and had an amazing day! We saw so much, we had a lovely chat with a keeper about the work Howletts do, staff all very friendly, good places to eat and drink, and all very well kept up. Amazing to watch Elephants and have a chat with their keeper. Visiting Howletts is more of a distance for us, but it is now our choice. Wish Port Lympne well but Howletts now suits our needs perfectly and we will continue to go there. Only downside was cost of food. Very expensive really though lots of choice. Bought a cheese and onion pasty for son priced at £1.00 cold but when bought hot (which we did for him) price jumped to £3.25 for same item and it was luke warm at best. Bit of a cheek really. Otherwise, all good, but we would take a picnic next time.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank ravgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Great day out in Kent!”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

I visited the zoo last week with my boyfriend we are both 22 and felt like exited little kids again!
Howletts has a great range of animals I was greatly impressed by the wild cat collection and was over the moon to see a snow leopard!

The park is clean and all the workers were very friendly, The animals all visibly appeared happy and healthy. For 24 pounds each we had a lovely day out and with out tickets we were also given a Howletts passport that allows you to come back for the rest of the year for free
I
would highly recommend this Zoo to family's or couples also if you visit on a week day you pretty much have the place to yourself - the workers and the animals

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank C H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Well loved by both adults and children”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

Great place with a fantastic deal for those who live locally - you can buy a gold pass which allows you access as many times as you want for about £24. Large, spacious, fantastic array of animals, plenty of places to rest on shaded benches, large picnic area, great little cafe and food not ridiculously expensive for a day out (nice danishes in the cafe)
All the workers are very cheerful and extremely helpful.
And important to those with little ones - plenty of loos dotted around + baby changing.
We now go once a month as it is our "local" zoo!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank l9boogie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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