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My boyfriend and I recently celebrated our 3 year anniversary (how he’s put up with me for so long I really don’t know!) and to mark the occasion, we thought we’d have a mini getaway to the good ol’ British countryside! A weekend filled with animals at Port Lympne Zoo, paired with relaxation and shopping? Yes please!
To mark our first anniversary, we stayed in a gorgeous Deluxe room at Apex Temple Court Hotel, and for our second year we stayed in an Energy room at ME London. This year, as we now both work in London and the novelty of a London hotel has worn off a tad, we thought a quiet retreat would be much nicer, so booked the gorgeous Alpaca Lodge on Airbnb for the weekend.
The drive down to Lympne was a lot quicker than I expected – it only took us about an hour, and Alpaca Lodge was really easy to find thanks to the helpful directions from the host, Maxine.
As soon as we checked into Alpaca Lodge, I fell in love. Downstairs there is a large open plan kitchen and living area, fully equipped with absolutely everything you need, and Maxine was even kind enough to put some orange juice, fresh milk and water bottles in the fridge for us, as well a breakfast hamper full of tea, coffee, pastries and cereal. There were even fresh flowers dotted around too! Upstairs there is a large double bedroom and a stunning bathroom – my favourite feature had to be the deep free standing bath – it was just SO relaxing! Taylor was impressed with the sound system – there were speakers in the ceiling of each room which you could connect your phone to via bluetooth. The lodge also had a picnic bench outside, which was the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine of an evening.
After we had checked in and explored, we headed off to Port Lympne Zoo. I’d never been to Port Lympne before (at least not that I can remember), and I was so surprised – it is completely unlike any other zoo I’ve ever visited. It is absolutely huge, meaning there is plenty of space for the animals and they aren’t confined in tiny enclosures or packed close to a predator. There is also an amazing part of the zoo in which the animals are free to roam a massive patch of land – you then take a safari truck through so you can catch sightings of the animals as though you were in a natural reserve in the depths of another continent. We may or may not have taken advantage of the 10mph truck ride and hatched our Pokemon eggs too!
To help answer any queries you may have about Port Lympne Zoo, I’ve answered some popular questions below:
Port Lympne Zoo is in Lympne, near Hythe. The full address is: Port Lympne Reserve, Nr. Ashford, Kent, CT21 4PD. The easiest way to get there is via car – take Junction 11 off the M20 and follow the brown tourist signs.
Port Lympne opens at 9:30am every day except Christmas! In Winter (29th October to 31st March), the Zoo closes at 5pm. In Summer (1st April to 28th October) the Zoo closes at 6:30pm.
The ticket prices can be found online here. As of August 2020, it costs £73.85 for an online family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children. Port Lympne is a charity, and so the ticket price directly funds the conservation work they do.
Port Lympne Zoo lodges are available to stay at?! For example, you could stay at the Lion Lodge and be up close and personal with the lions during your stay!
After a good few hours at the zoo, and seeing a Gorilla pick his nose and eat it, we decided to head off to a supermarket to grab some supplies for dinner. A 5 minute drive to Hythe and a £50 Sainsburys trip later, we had everything we needed for a quiet night in – food and wine! After I made use of the beautiful bathtub, we had a lovely three course meal and cosied up for the night. A relaxing weekend was just what I needed before my operation the following week! P.S – how nice is the Vanilla Underground top (PR Sample) pictured below?!
After saying goodbye to our lovely little Alpaca Lodge and thanking Maxine and Ray for a wonderful stay, we headed off to the Ashford Outlet to hit the shops. I stocked up on some Body Shop and Yankee Candle goodies (50p wax melts!!!) as well as treating myself to a new pair of Kurt Geiger work shoes, and Taylor hit up Ralph Lauren and Adidas. A quick takeover of the Pokemon Gym in the food court, and we were on our way home in time for Taylor to catch the football at the pub and me to get home and have my weekly Sunday pamper session. What a perfect weekend!
One thing that definitely topped off our stay at the Alpaca Lodge was the real life Alpacas. Yep. That’s right. ALPACAS!!! In an enclosure just behind the lodge, there was an alpaca, sheep and two geese. In a separate enclosure there were four more alpacas! They were so cute and I enjoyed watching them run around happily or lay and enjoy the sunshine. I even caught the geese snuggled up to the alpaca on one occasion – I wish I had got a picture, it was too cute! I cannot recommend this Airbnb enough – for an amazing price you get a beautiful home away from home!
Have you ever been to Port Lympne Zoo before? Let me know in the comments below!