Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve
There are many reasons why Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve is a great family day out but it’s even better as an overnight stay.
We’ve visited Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve a couple of times, staying in different accommodation each time.
Our first visit was when my now 6 year old daughter was 2 and we stayed overnight in the Pinewood Camping pods.
My wife, who is not a camper, booked these by accident not realising that a “pod” did not include full en suite amenities.
In 15 years this is the closest to camping with my wife I have ever been. As a former venture scout who summer’s as a youth were spent camping on mountain sides in Eastern Europe in two man tents with three other adolescents, I was less fazed by the prospect of a shared toilet block.
Now in my forties I must admit to enjoying the luxuries of ensuite shower room with a log burner, wall mounted TV, mini fridge, and a Nespresso machine.
Thankfully these are all included in the Hog Deer Creek Shepherds Huts where we stayed on our last visit.
To accompany your stay in the Shepard’s Huts you are given use of a golf buggy.
I cannot emphasise enough how much joy this brought to my daughter. When asked what her highlight was there was very little hesitation in replying “golf buggy” despite the plethora of wildlife she’s viewed.
I can’t tell you how many times she either asked “when are we picking up the golf buggy?” or “can we go on the golf buggy again?”
I don’t know if there’s such thing as a golf buggy holiday in the UK but if there is please let me know so they can take my money.
There are other options for overnight stays that include a forest hideaway, a lion and tiger lodge and of course the Port Lympne Hotel.
A socially distanced experience
We visited Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve shortly after COVID restrictions were lifted so we expected a slightly different experience.
My daughter wore a face mask for the first time during our safari ride. Social distancing was in full force with us sharing a van which must have the capacity for over 20 people with just one other couple.
Social distancing around the park was not a problem at all until my daughter decided that our Shepard Hut neighbours wanted to share their marshmallows they were roasting.
We can only blame our own poor planning by forgetting to purchase marshmallows beforehand for this.
Unfortunately marshmallows were not available in the gift shop and had I been rating our stay on a five star scale then I’m afraid this oversight would’ve cost a half star.
We actually had our first meal out at the Babydoll’s Wood Fired Pizza restaurant which was very nice.
We ate fairly early but were still completely alone inside the restaurant.
If you like a sourdough pizza then you’ll enjoy this restaurant.
Feed times did not seem to be advertised as I’d imagine this would cause crowding but apart from this and it being quieter than our previous visits the COVID experience at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve wasn’t all that different.
The Animals at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve is home to over 900 animals and 75 species. See these magnificent animals during your stay. With Asian animals right on your doorstep there’s plenty to keep you occupied but you can also see wolves, bears, tigers, gorillas, giraffe, zebra and many more.
You’ll also do a fair amount of walking even if you have a golf buggy and go on the safari.
It’s hill walking as well which wasn’t fun with a 2 year old who wanted to be carried after 20 minutes.
My 6 year old also tried to negotiate this same form of transportation but I’m a little less wrapped around her little finger as I once was.
Animal highlight for my daughter were the rabbits that appeared behind our Shepherd’s hut in the morning. This was only tainted by the fact that she couldn’t catch them and take them home and the unfairness of my ‘no rabbit owning’ policy.
To be fair she was very excited to see the rhinos which she refused to believe were fat unicorns.
Wildlife cams at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve
Live from our lion enclosure
The new live-streaming camera allows viewers from around the world to enjoy a glimpse into the lives of the lion pride. Watch one male and two female cubs explore their expansive, expertly-designed enclosure as Adras naps in the sun and Oudrika keeps a watchful eye over the three adventurous youngsters.
Live from the tiger enclosure
Enjoy a glimpse into the lives of our Amur tiger sisters, Amba & Amura.
These two feisty tigers are five years old and arrived at Port Lympne in February 2018.
Amba is slightly more laid back around food, she has a tendency to hang back and let Amura do all the shouting. She is sometimes friendly towards keepers and sometimes she is not. She is very keen to chase keeper vehicles at anytime of the day in the hope that she might get a tasty treat.
Amura tends to boss it around food, happy to chase her sister off or just shout in her face. She can also be sweet towards keepers on occasion but is normally quite feisty.
This is a really nicely done Dinosaur trail with a lot of dinosaurs packed into the walk.
The trail is short enough to keep a toddler amused but has plenty to keep older children entertained.
Being a keen VR photographer I created a few Google Maps 360 images for you to get a taste of the dinosaur forest before you go.
Dinosaurs come to life!
Download the Port Lympne App in the IOS app store for free. Bring dinosaurs to life with our virtual reality app! The kids will love it! You’ll also find an interactive map, lots of exciting and useful facts about our animals as well as a handy spotter’s guide.
If you’d like to keep the dinosaur theme going then there’s dinosaur colouring sheets for kids.
You can also create your own dinosaur name using the dinosaur name generator, I’m a Michlodraptor.
Port Lympne Gardens and maze
With all the lions, tigers, monkeys and dinosaurs on offer it’s easy to overlook how wonderful the grounds of Port Lympne are.
Here’s a fun tip, start at the top from the tiger enclosure and make your way down the Trojan steps to the hotel and maze towards the dinosaurs. It’s a fun walk down and there’s the monkeys to see on your way back up.