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Today I was very excited when I collected the post to see a letter from The Aspinall Foundation. I thought that they had read the review below and sent me a free pass for the safari truck at Port Lympne, but no, it was something even better than that. They are improving entry prices for everyone!!
Now, anyone who buys a full price ticket at Port Lympne will be able to come back to the park for a whole year at no extra cost! How good is that?
So now David and I have a choice.
We can keep our annual pass which now includes free safari or exchange our passes for passports which do not include the safari and so we would get £30 in gift vouchers. We have not yet decided what to do as it will depend on whether or not the passport is an open ticket meaning that anyone can use it not just David or I. We have decided that we will return to Port Lympne for Mothers Day and go on the safari and talk to the staff there to help us make up our minds.
I am so glad that Port Lympne have made this change and I am certain that lots of local people will now visit the park and support the conservation work ongoing there more frequently as it is now more affordable for families.
You can find out more about the chane here
and I will write a full review including the safari after our Mothers’ Day visit. Hurrah!
Original Review dated 27th March 2011
For Christmas David and I were lucky enough to be given annual passes for Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. So far we have been three times and today was definitely the best. The sun was shining and the animals were out and playing. We had a lovely walk around the park with our giant double buggy. It was a great afternoon.
Port Lympne is near Hythe on the Kent Coast. When walking around the park you can see the sea in the distance. Hythe is just 20 minutes from our house and so to receive an annual pass for the zoo was just such a fantastic present. We hoped that they would be open tickets like the ones given at Leeds Castle but at Port Lympne each ticket can only be used by one person and there is a photograph attached to each card to ensure that they are used properly. As a local girl I found this disappointing as I was hoping to go there lots throughout the season with different companions as it is so good for young children and double buggies! But alas that is not to be so David and I will just use our tickets as often as we can. Port Lympne will lose out on the refreshment money that we would have spent with other guests.
Port Lympne is on a hilly site and so the paths are quite steep in places. The park is well signposted so that you know where to go to see the animals that you want to see. There are also specific signed routes for buggies and these are wide enough for a double. Dotted around the park there are various places to get refreshments and there are also toilets and baby change facilities.
Today we found a new area with a cafe, an outdoor classroom area and a play area. If you look through the gallery below you will see that I viewed this facility very much with my teacher hat on as it would be perfect for a school trip. The children could eat in the classroom area, the adults in the bandstand which would also enable them to clearly view children on the play equipment. It seemed to me very well thought out with schools or large groups in mind.
Port Lympne is a great place for a picnic and again there are lots of perfect spots dotted around the grounds some with spectacular views over the downs to the sea.
As well as places to get food and drink you can also play in different play areas around the site. This again has been well thought out so that families can sit at regular intervals for a break from the animals to let off some steam. I think that this is really important for a family day out to have opportunities to let the children, and sometimes the adults, play.
Today we saw lots of animals including the elephants, two terrific tigers, some playful lion cubs and a beautiful baby rhino. The gorillas are a highlight at Port Lympne and so are the giraffes. I was very sad not to be able to see the giraffes today as they can only be seen if you take a trip on the safari lorry. We were a bit late arriving today but also the safari is not included in our annual pass and so we would have to pay extra for this. I was very disappointed that for £100 we did not even get one complimentary safari ride throughout our year of membership. This is a real shame as it is only on the safari that some of the main animals can be seen and you also miss the Reptile House and a lovely cafe with viewing platform over the safari plains. I think that annual pass holders should be able to also use the safari facility to ensure that they are able to make full use of the park.
The safari is something that again has been well thought out and they have a buggy park where you can leave your buggy under cover whilst you are on the trip.
Port Lympne has so much to offer all the family and they do amazing work in conserving and protecting endangered species. It is a tremendous treat for all the family and if you do live locally then I think that the annual pass is well worthwhile though you may want to ask for one free go on the safari!!
Here are some photos from our day.