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“Words cannot describe !!”

The Big Cat Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Smarden
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Big Cat Sanctuary The Big Cat Sanctuary is a conservation charity, home to over 50 big and small cats across 16 different species. We are proud to have the most diverse collection in the UK, from the largest, to the smallest, to the most endangered in the world, hidden away in the Kent countryside. We are a centre of excellence whose primary objective is the breeding of some of the most endangered species on the planet as well as offering sanctuary to retired and homeless cats. The breeding centre is proud to be part of the EEP (European Endangered Species Breeding Programme). This is a body that regulates the captive breeding of endangered cats by making recommendations for breeding to produce a strong, healthy and diverse gene-pool within the captive population to ultimately be reintroduced safely into their natural habitat to mix with their counterparts in the wild. Breeding success so far includes the Amur leopard programme which is the world’s most endangered big cat, estimated between 70-80 remaining in the wild globally, also to the Sumatran tigers, Amur tigers and Pallas cats. Big Cat Sanctuary operates by way of personal big cat experiences including big cat tours, individual and group photography days, overnight big cat safari nights and adoptions. All of which need to be pre-booked in advance of a visit. The centre takes pride in delivering fully immersive, personal and amazing experiences that will leave any big cat lover with memories to treasure forever.
York, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Words cannot describe !!”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

This is one of the most inspiring, amazing experiences that I have ever had and the realisation of my dream to spend time with the Big Cats. Sarah & Matt were our keepers for the day & shared their knowledge and enthusiasm. We helped to clean out the enclosures, feed the cats & also hand feed one of the Amur Leopards. Athena, the Black Jaguar was stunning & I will not forget her steely stare. The staff and volunteers working at WHF are so enthusiastic and also love to share what they know with visitors. WHF is a wonderful place for all the cats and not a zoo but a spacious, clean environment where they help to support other breeding programmes to ensure the safety of endangered species for the future. An unforgettable day.

Visited September 2013
6 Thank Gillian S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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439 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
60 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2013

I originally went to the fun day which was excellent and we then booked an overnight stay for September. I can't really add anymore comments than previous reviewers because they are all true. Everyone treats you as a friend and shares so much information with you. The food is wonderful and Sophie goes out of her way to ensure it is what you want. Beccy and Rikki were great guides and let us share so many experiences. If you love big cats you will love it, they make it a personal experience and you will want to return.

Visited September 2013
Thank SusanMLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Omg!! Amazing”
Reviewed September 14, 2013 via mobile

Arrived here for my 10 o'clock app was greeted by a volunteer who was going to be showing us around. Entered the park and wow what a beautiful peaceful place, very very well kept, clean, and welcoming, all staff are friendly and it feels like home from home. We started off at the lion enclosure and our park ranger was full of info which we found to be very interesting, as we walked around the park and seen the different cats it was completely stress free and we weren't rushed one bit, we went into the tiger housing and got very close ( they are my favourites) it was amazing and it also makes you realise just how big they are! Just before the end of our tour I got to choose which cat I would like to feed, of course it was the tiger! I fed pan he is huge but was sooo gentle when he took the food we then went back to the lodge where we had a coffee which was complimentary and sat chatting to our ranger.

I can honestly say that if this is what you like then please do go as all the money they charge does go into looking after these beautiful cats and the up keeping of the beautiful grounds I take my hat off to all the dedicated staff there your doing a wonderful job and I will most def be back!!

One last thing if you have an experience booked here make sure you take someone with you to take the pic ands videos its cost £20 for them to go in but it is well worth every penny esp when you look back on your pics and videos . And they get to see and have a magical day too xxxx

Thank you for taking the time to read my review I hope I have helped ,

Visited September 2013
1 Thank maxy24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Another wonderful day”
Reviewed September 13, 2013

I have attended several photographic days and am always so grateful for the chance. Andy is fun and so good at sharing both his knowledge of photography and about his beloved big cats. To have the chance to come so close to these beautiful animals is a great privilege.
It is a joy to see how well kept and healthy the cats all are. I hope to keep returning to WHF it gives me some hope for the future.

Visited September 2013
Thank Marguerite H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sevenoaks, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“photo workshop”
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Fantastic experience and camera tuition too - I have now attended two group (10) photo workshops, both were excellent. Andy, photographer instructor is very knowledgeable both about the cats and camera's. He aims for all in the group to get the most out of day, taking the best shots with the right settings.

Wear comfy clothes as lots of bending and sitting of the ground (whatever the weather). The cats are lovely, they come right up to the fence, you have to be careful and are warned they can get their paws or arms through. what an amazing experience, well worth the money - I will definitely save to go again next year.

Visited September 2013
Thank Angela S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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