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“The weather was a big plus!”

Port Lympne Reserve
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Lympne
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Port Lympne 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 Reserve offers a treat for everyone.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Stroller parking, Activities for older children
Reviewed June 1, 2013

I visited with my Granddaughter (11) to use her passport for the last time before it expired. We picked a good sunny day for a change and that helped when we spent ages in one queue after another! We decided to do the walking part first and apart from a rhino and the gorillas, saw very little in the other cages. We then decided to have our lunch in the mansion grounds only to find that it is now off limits to day visitors, very disappointing as it was one of the highlights of our past trips, especially the lake with the koi carp. I found the signage very poor and we kept going up tracks only to fine "no entry" signs. The park definitely needs more direction signs as the maps just aren't that helpful and I wasn't the only person who felt that, after speaking to another family who looked equally bemused by it.
We then had to queue again for the safari truck, but not bad as they were running every 10 mins. I have to agree with others in that they are very uncomfortable and so noisy that we also couldn't hear what little commentary there was. We got no chance to take photos as the driver just ignored any animals within camera-shot and carried on as fast as possible. There was yet another long queue for food and ice creams and only one girl serving, so I had to wait 30 minutes for 2 ice creams, which were expensive in my opinion.

I used to enjoy Port Lympne, but will not come back again as I feel that it is too expensive for a day out where there is not a lot to see. I also miss the walk around the park where I could stand and watch the elephants for a decent amount of time. We only saw a couple for a few seconds. Such a shame.

Thank susieh109
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HowlettsPortLympne, Manager at Port Lympne Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback and we are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your visit with us.

Port Lympne is one of the largest wild animal parks in the UK and is home to over 200 animals and 80 different species.

We are not a zoo, more a breeding sanctuary for some of the world’s rarest animals. We have larger than normal enclosures and never shut the animals into public viewing areas. This means that some of our more elusive animals like the small cats are difficult to spot – although some do come out to explore later on in the afternoon.

The Mansion and Gardens are exclusively booked for weddings, conferences and events however tours can be arranged via the main Port Lympne offices and the lower part of the landscaped gardens is still open to the public

Our park maps have been recently redesigned to make them easy to follow and a copy can be downloaded from our website prior to visiting. Alternatively they are free at the Gatehouse. Changes to Port Lympne – Kent’s only safari experience were implemented two years ago to ensure that we were accessible for all and this means that some of the more challenging walks are now covered by safari truck. The elephants are still visible in their paddocks from the safari trucks or, if they are in their sand paddock, by walking up Elephant Hill via Rhino Walk.

During busy periods visitors may experience some queues however we do aim to keep these to a minimum and we employ independent mystery shop companies so that we can improve systems as and when necessary.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,263 - 1,267 of 1,571 reviews

Reviewed May 31, 2013

this is one of the best places to go for a family or couple day out - you can adopt animals as gifts (we adopt a lion!) they have large safari trucks and loads of animals - this isn't the best place to go if you have a buggy or wheelchair but it is possible if you have strong arms and lots of stamina! again we take a picnic but have eaten here its expensive for what you get but they do have lots of choice, plenty of drink stops and loos, you can hire rooms in the mansion for partys our daughter had a great room, lovely food and a personal safari jeep for her birthday and it cost less than your average kids party too! this is a large park, can be done in a day, but get there when they open and stay till the end! - they cater for all sorts of things you can get animal experiences like feeding the lions - hubby kept his fingers! after park closing safaris - so much going on and its all been newly re done, cant wait to go again!

Thank lisa c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

Port Lympne, the big sister of the Howletts park near Canterbury, has enormous enclosures (so the animals can be hard to find) but there are plenty if you look long enough and they all look great. No ruts along the fence made by bored animals either. The park is in two parts. The first can be walked (and this is the best bet) but the African area has to be seen from a lorry. Pretty uncomfortable too as the wooden slat seats are not designed for a good ride. I can see the point of having visitors inside lorries as the animals are mostly free to roam but it is a pity that there is no pedestrian alternative. The only negative criticism is that the arrangements for the return journey could have been better managed given the biting wind and drizzle - a long wait for a return ride spoilt the end of the day (as did the decision to empty the septic tanks from the tented accommodation which is right by the bus waiting area) while we froze waiting to the ride back.

The food options are not as good as at Howletts but adequate and not expensive.

It is important to recognise that Port Lympne is not a zoo. The animals come first. We had several marvellous experiences with animals up close eg the rhinos, sometimes the vast area of the park means that visitors may be disappointed. But Port Lympne is a great place with caring people doing a great job. A little more attention to visitor comfort would be good but Port Lympne delivers. Well done

1  Thank Maureen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

I have recently visited Port Lympne and what a great day out ! Staff were really helpful and knowledgeable.
The animals were great and appeared to be well looked after.
We brought a "Passport" ticket which allows us to go back as many times in a year as we want.
Food and drink is a little expensive in the park but there are loads of places to sit and have a picnic.
Tip: Take the "Safari" ride its included in the entrance fee and its well worth it !
And there are numerous "Free Buggy" parks (There are buggies for little ones deposited for free use all over the park so no need to take your own).

1  Thank Ian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Visited on Sunday 26 May, £68 for a family of three so an expensive day out. It was a lovely sunny day alas the animals seemed to all be hiding - I know the reasons why and that PL do not encourage the animals to perform, they encourage them to do their own thing in as natural a way as possible....However, that does not make for a very interesting day for visitors. Added to which the African Experience was a major disappointment and I can say having been on safaris in Africa this is NOTHING like the real thing, why doesn't the truck stop for photo opportunities for example? Why does the truck driver miss so many animals in his rush to get around? There were some examples quite close to the road but he drove on by without apparently seeing them, a few seconds taken to pause and take photos and observe would have changed the experience for the better,I could go on but don't want to nit-pick because I realise it is not Africa, the saving grace is that you can go as many times as you like with the annual ticket which only costs the same as a day ticket, if I didn't have this I would be asking for a refund.
The animals appear well looked after and no one can criticise the work carried out by the Aspinall Foundation but they need to heed what their supporters think as without them the foundation could not continue.

2  Thank Iloveholidays961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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