Mini Moon: Port Lympne Reserve
2023 update: We loved our trip to Port Lympne so much, that we have booked to have our wedding in their new beautiful Pergola and Orangery in 2024!
Port Lympne is situated near Ashford in Kent and it perfect for a short break. We visited on the August bank holiday weekend, and despite it raining ALL DAY on our first day, we had such a fantastic time that I couldn't wait to share our trip with you all, as it could make a perfect pre wedding trip or a even a great mini moon!
Our journey time to Port Lympne was only an hour and a half (from Essex) and with the Sat Nav managed to find the park pretty easy. Finding our accommodation on the other hand was a little bit harder (confirmation email gave us directions to the hotel and not our accommodation, but staff were very helpful!) Check in time depending on your accommodation type is around 2/3pm. We arrived at the park at 1.30pm so took a quick wonder around to get our bearings before going to check into our Forest Hideaway.
I had booked the Forest Hideaway for the night which consisted of a VERY cosy and comfortable Treehouse with a full log fire, bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine, TV, outside seating area and our own Golf buggy! It was a gorgeous little tree house and beautifully decorated. Upon checking in our guide offered to book us dinner and breakfast at one of the many restaurants around the park. We booked dinner at Babydolls restaurant and Breakfast in the Moroccan Courtyard. Once we had unpacked we then went into the park!
As it was raining heavy all day we decided to take our complimentary Safari first so we could get a little bit of shelter before walking around the park. The Safari was amazing! Having been to South Africa on Safari this is the closest you can get to the real thing without leaving the country! You are taken on a guided trip around some of the larger exhibits and animals you cant see by foot (Bears, Bison, Buffalo,Cheetah) and then taken out to where the animals are all roaming free, you can spot all sorts including Rhinos, Zebras and Giraffe. If your lucky (like we were on our second day) the Giraffes come right up to the safari truck which is so special! Half way round the Safari you are given the option to get off and walk back to Base Camp where you can see the Tigers, Monkeys, Cats, Meerkats etc. We took this option and were the only people silly enough to get off into the heavy rain but it was so worth it! We got up close to the Tigers and Gorillas and where the only people around!
After walking back through the park we headed to the Guest Services cabin as I had booked for us to attend the evening Gorilla feed, this was such a great experience being able to behind the scenes and meet the Gorillas and even be in total awe of the cutest 2 month old baby! I just wanted a cuddle! These evening feed options are only available to guests that are staying at the park as they start only once the park is closed to the public so you really feel like you are getting the VIP treatment. Make sure you look at this on the email as they run lots of different options for guests all through out the week and year depending on when you visit!
We headed back to the treehouse to freshen up for Dinner and decided we would take the golf buggy down to the restuarant and maybe do a lap of the park first to see what animals we could see at night. Fair to say this didn't go to plan.....to cut a long story short our golf buggy lights stopped working and the engine light started flashing half way through our drive to the restaurant,we had to abandon the buggy and were stranded by the monkeys with only our phone lights to see. We had to be rescued to get a replacement buggy, then got stuck in the rhino paddock gate, finally got to guest services for the replacement which also didn't work so had to get a mini bus back to the restaurant and managed to order with 5 mins to spare before they stopped serving!!!! Scary then...Hilarious now!!! But Babydolls pizza was AMAZING a must visit if you go to the park.
The following morning we took our 'new' golf buggy down to the main hotel for breakfast in the Moroccan Courtyard, such a stunning little courtyard and would make amazing wedding photos. After breakfast we took the golf buggy on one last trip all around the park (before the public arrived) and say all the animals being fed, this was well worth it and i'm so glad we did this.
Port Lympne is such a great destination for a mini moon, stay cation or a pre wedding break! There are lots of different accommodation types including the main hotel, Wolf Lodge, The Bubble and Tiger Lodge. Its a must visit and i will definitely be going again!
The Port Lynmpne Hotel also host weddings for those of your who would love your wedding to be in such a special but unique venue. Head over to https://www.aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne/weddings/ for more information!
Would you take a mini moon to Port Lympne?