Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve Visit
Summer hasn't quite turned out the way we thought it would this year, and with no trip abroad happening I made a decision to try and make the summer holidays all kinds of UK special for us instead.
Having heard great things about Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, we decided to go for the day and we weren't disappointed.
We had no problems at all finding the Reserve, and the parking and entry was a breeze with social distancing easy to observe and followed well by everyone. I also thought the monkeys you were able to see before you registered your arrival at the park were a lovely touch which as you can imagine got everyone excited to see the other animals inside reserve.
Since I'm notoriously bad with maps I didn't think to ask about getting one or looking for one, and instead we just wandered around one of the paths towards a couple of the lodges where we got to see some incredible Tigers just basking in the sun. We did have to wait a little to get a better view of them given the social distancing, but it was worth the wait to see them more clearly. What we didn't realise though, is that in going this way round Port Lympne, we would have to navigate the vast expanse of steps with the buggy!!! It's definitely at that point I was grateful for my husband being with us for the day to help carry it down to the bottom!! That said, the view from the top of the steps was spectacular - looking out across the countryside to the sea was a beautiful start to the day and made the mission down with the buggy 100% worthwhile.
Next up we headed to Palace of the Apes. Here we got to see a Gorilla very close up who seemed very chilled about people walking past to get a better look, and when Rudy slipped off the seat in front of it you could almost sense it was thinking how stupid he was for doing that which was hilarious! There were lots of other Gorillas in the enclosure too and some with smaller babies so it really was amazing to see them all relaxing together.
Around the same area were lots of other species of monkeys too, just hanging around (aha) and mostly eating whilst trying to stay in the shade since it was getting really hot. This area was definitely one of the better ones given that you could see the monkeys in almost every enclosure, whereas some of the other animals in the reserve we found it impossible to spot, such as the Tapir and small cats that followed on from the monkeys.
As a result, we just went straight on to the Dinosaur Forest which was a complete hit with the boys. The one way system in place made it really easy to navigate and there were so many different types of dinosaurs which all had information boards about them from their name and pronunciation, to their history. For any dinosaur fans this is a must but even if you're not its still great to wander around the forest.
Near the Dinosaur Forest was a refreshment van and loos, together with Babydoll's Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant (available for takeaway only) which made this area a great place for a pit stop. We had bought some food of our own for the little ones but the takeaway we saw coming from Babydoll's looked lovely. I would say though, try and get in for opening time as the queue built up pretty quickly otherwise.
After lunch we continued around the path to see some more small cats including the Pallas Cat which was tough to spot because they are really secretive and change their coat colour seasonally to allow them to blend into their rocky habitat, however on this occasion we actually saw it which was lucky. Too quick for a photo though typically! We also saw some Meerkats before stopping for a Gelato and then heading on.
Before we finished walking around the reserve, we did see some Antelope, the Eastern Black Rhinos who just looked majestic lying in the shade trying to keep cool I imagine, some Lemurs and then Wallabies whom you could get closer to in the Wallaby walk through. The walk around Port Lympne is fairly long - especially for little legs - and the last slight incline near the Rhinos was tough for our little ones but it was absolutely worthwhile to take in the beauty surrounding you and the incredible animals in the reserve.
In summary I would definitely recommend this to anyone fancying a day out in vast countryside to see an array of animals. It is a shame you can't go on the Safari at the moment unless you're staying at the hotel (because of Covid) but in our minds it gives us yet another reason to go back.....I've got my eye on their Lion Lodge for a night!!!