Howletts & Port Lympne
How your visit will be different
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park are open!
Following the latest advice from the Government on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, safaris at Port Lympne are not currently running for day visitors. As a result, you will not currently be able to see our giraffe, zebra, spectacled bears or any species which live exclusively on the African, South American or Asian Safari experiences. This decision has been made in order to create as much social distancing throughout the park as possible. Visitors can still enjoy a day out at the 600-acre reserve, with fresh air and open spaces. Please note that our wallaby walkthrough is currently closed.
With effect from 24th July customers are reminded that if they wish to buy food or drink from the Parks indoor takeaway facilities then the current government guidelines are that they wear a face mask when entering the premises. Face masks are not mandatory in any of the Parks sit down restaurants. Guests are required to wear a mask when entering our gift shops.
600-acre Port Lympne and 100-acre Howletts are Kent's largest Wild Animal Parks, offering huge amounts of outdoor space to explore and enjoy.
At Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park, a fundamental part of our mission is to create incredible experiences for animal-lovers. We place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our guests, animals and teams.
We have completed a series of thorough risk assessments and introduced a range of new health and safety measures that seek to reduce the risk associated with the presence of COVID-19 that are in line with government advice and the requirements of local health authorities. We have also ensured that our teams are provided with the correct PPE, follow social distancing guidelines and carefully monitor their own health to minimise risk.
Some of the measures set out below may be clearly visible to you from the moment you arrive at the Reserve and others require consideration and cooperation from guests to help ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit.
Before you book your tickets, please ensure you have read the below to understand how your visit will be impacted and the measures we have taken to ensure your safety.
Members/Season Ticket holders, please note that you will be required to pre-book your visit to allow us to responsibly manage visitor numbers. More information in FAQ below.
To ensure that social distancing can be properly observed at all times during your visit, we will be admitting a limited number of visitors to the park per day. To be certain you will gain entry, please buy online and in advance. The 2m (roughly the length of a tiger) social distancing guidance can be followed safely on all walking routes and additional toilet facilities will be available.
Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve have been thoroughly deep cleaned and our cleaning teams have been expanded. We have also installed additional hand sanitiser points around the park, have implemented strict cleaning regimes and have installed additional signage to remind visitors of hand washing guidelines.
We have taken the following measures to ensure your safety during your visit. Animal encounters and experiences have been limited, play areas are closed, Treetop Challenge at Howletts will be closed, our catering outlets will be operating on a takeaway only basis, all staff have been issued with the correct PPE, visitors will be encouraged to wear masks, protective screening will be installed at contact points and we will be accepting card payments only, no cash will be accepted.
A message from our keepers
We are pleased to be open again and finally after lockdown welcome our visitors back through our gates. We have worked desperately hard during the lockdown to keep the animals in our care as well as our colleagues, safe and healthy. We have implemented numerous additional cleaning protocols to increase bio secure safety measures against Covid-19, adopted a social distancing mentality between staff members and animals during this time, this has all meant that the animal teams and our charges have all been kept safe. Now that we are open again, we in the Animal Department would like to respectfully ask visitors to adhere to a few additional measures as they enjoy the animals and parks on their visit. This will continue to help the keepers and allow us to continue to keep our animals safe from Covid-19.
- Please allow keepers space when you arrive at an enclosure, do not crowd them and let them move through barrier gates whilst keeping your distance, after they have moved into a safe area, you will be free to enjoy watching them feed the animals
- Respect the signs around animal enclosures that ask you to keep your distance
- It is as important as ever to not reach across and feed or hand the animals any objects
- All feeds are prepared by keepers using masks and gloves, please do not lean into vehicles or get close to feed items
- Actively help keepers and the parks keep their staff and animals safe by observing as much social distancing as possible around other visitors, staff and the animals, reporting if necessary to a member of staff if you see something that doesn’t seem right.
Is it safe to visit?
The safety and welfare of our visitors, staff and animals remains top priority and we will be taking every measure to ensure your safety during your visit.
We will be limiting our visitor numbers for your safety and to ensure social distancing guidance can be followed at all times. We have also taken extensive measures to support social distancing, cleanliness and safeguarding. More information on the measures we have taken can be found above.
How will my visit be different to usual?
- Visitor numbers have been restricted and you will be required to book online in advance to ensure you'll be able to gain entry
- You are now able to book online tickets up to 11am on the day of your arrival
- Waiting times to enter and exit the park may be longer than usual to allow us to responsibly manage social distancing guidelines
- Limited catering outlets are open and will operate on a strict takeaway only basis. We offer ample outdoor seating in some of Kent's most beautiful parkland, perfect for enjoying a takeaway treat.
- Treetop Challenge at Howletts is closed, but you can still explore the ancient woodlands of Animals of The Ice Age
- Keeper talks will not be running to ensure social distancing can be properly observed
- Access to certain at-risk species may be limited
- Additional toilet and handwashing facilities will be available
How will queue times be affected?
Please be aware that our queue times to access Howletts and Port Lympne may be longer than usual to allow us to safely manage your entry and exit from the parks. Our teams will ensure that 2m markers are in place to allow you to safely wait to enter while observing social distancing guidance. Please be patient.
Where can I eat at the parks?
Our catering outlets will be operating on a takeaway only basis.
We are lucky to be able to offer extensive outside space at both parks to allow you to be able to enjoy your takeaway food in the glorious Kentish countryside.
Are the animals in danger?
Our keepers and veterinary teams are closely monitoring the latest guidance on animals and COVID-19. Additional cleaning and safeguarding measures have been put in place and we will not be offering animal encounters or experiences with any at-risk species. We are confident that with these additional measures the animals are quite safe.
Is your accommodation open?
Our short breaks accommodation at Port Lympne Reserve is now open. If you have an existing short break booking which you would like to discuss, please complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.
How are annual passholders/members affected?
Our members and season ticket holders are very important to us, more so now than ever as we endeavor to provide first class welfare, food and care for our animals. We will update your membership account with additional days to compensate for the closure period of 24th March - 1st June 2020. These additional days will be added to the end of your existing membership period.
While we are restricting visitor numbers, we ask our members and season pass holders to pre-book their visit to allow us to responsibly manage the number of visitors on-site.
Should I wear a mask?
Our staff will be wearing masks and relevant PPE when appropriate and guests are required to wear a mask when entering our gift shops. We do not require our guests to wear a mask around the outdoor areas. However, feel free to take additional precautions to ensure you and your family feel safe.
With effect from 24th July customers are reminded that if they wish to buy food or drink from the Parks indoor takeaway facilities then the current government guidelines are that they wear a face mask when entering the premises. Face masks are not mandatory in any of the Parks sit down restaurants.
Is safe parking available?
Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Reserve both have large, open air car parks which offer considerable space for you to safely park your vehicle.
Please be respectful of other visitors and observe social distancing guidance when parking and entering/exiting your vehicle.
What are your opening times?
Our normal summer opening hours of 9:30am-6pm apply.
How can I support the parks?
There are a range of ways in which you can support the parks and our animals during these uncertain times.
Which animals will I not see?
The safari experience at Port Lympne Reserve is currently closed for day visitors. You will not see the spectacled bears, giraffe, zebra or the species which live exclusively on the African, South American and Asian Experience areas of the safari route.