Home Animals Zoos Search Zoo Mall Contents Feedback
Welcome to The Good Zoo Guide Online (goodzoos.com), the essential guide to the best zoos, wildlife parks and animal collections on the planet
Now more than 200 Pages of Zoo Reviews and discussion - and growing with the help of Internet Zoo Critics from all around the world
And while you're here - check out our world famous 'Zoo Noticeboard'  Can you help zoos and animal lovers from around the world with their zoo enquiries?

wpe73.gif (2084 bytes)

goodzoos logo.gif (3461 bytes)

Port Lympne Zoo

Address Port Lympne Zoo
Telephone Phone: 01303 264647
How to Find it: How to get there: Road; on the B2067 just off the A20 or exit 11 off the M20. Follow the signs to ‘Lympne’. There is a free car/coach park.
Open: Opening: 10.00 to 17.00 in Winter (last entry 15.30) and 10.00 to 18.00 (last entry 4.30) in Summer.
Prices: Please refer to zoos website.
No of Species No of Animals Star Rating
Mammals Conservation
Birds Enclosures
Reptiles Education
Amphibians Recreation
Fish Research
Total 0 0
Click here for a Link to the Zoo’s own Web Pages
Write a review of this zoo
This critique last updated:  Oct 2010

Official Description

Please see below details of our website, we have the world's largest breeding Family groups in captivity of African Elephants, Western Lowland Gorilla and Black Rhino, we have been very successful in breeding Snow leopards, Pallas cats, African Hunting dogs and much more.

At our Port Lympne site which is over 400 acres we have just introduced a new attraction the African Experience, an additional 100 acre park adjacent to Port Lympne with over 200 animal roaming free including, Zebra, Giraffe, Black Buck, Waterbuck, Ostrich, Black Rhino to name but a few.

Visitor Reviews

Review submitted by S.Dickinson, August 2010

For two adults and a small child(3yrs old) it cost us £61.85. That included a Safari Experience which was the only way to see the larger animals, and that was from a considerable distance away, sitting in the back of a lurching truck. In spite of paying £17.95 for the child, she was expected to sit on our knee.

The restaurant meal was quite poor and of the worst sort of motorway catering;all dried up from being kept warm too long.

The rest of the animal park was very spread out for a small child on foot, and the animals were difficult to see due to the overgrown weeds in many of the enclosures. The maps placed in several places in the park would have been better with a “You Are Here” put on them, and the sign posts could be better, as the site rambles over quite a large area with no “short cuts”. Also,there was poor access for the disabled, due to steep slopes and uneven loose surfaces. A buggy would have be difficult enough, although some people struggled, having no alternative. Not visitor friendly at all.

I have visited this site before, several years ago, and it seems to have gone down hill, while the prices have risen exorbitantly.It is all very well, knowing that the animal`s breeding programmes benefit from the visitor`s fee, but we really went to see more of the animals.

Review from Phil Dennis April 2006
I have wanted to visit Port Lympne/ Howletts for many years and my wish was recently granted when we travelled to Kent for a few days and went to both parks. The staff are exceptional, saying hello when you meet them and always looking that they love what they are doing. Port Lympne is quite large so it is very easy to find yourself alone looking at an enclosure. The animals are very well cared for and act naturally in enclosures that are designed for them not the public( all zoo's take note). The baby Black Rhino was gorgeous frollicking about with it's mother. The icing on the cake though has got to be the Gorilla's. I have been to many zoo's around the world but the gorilla's in family groups and their enclosures beat everything else I have seen. At one point in the park you can get quite close to a couple of Silverbacks and when we were there they were teasing each other. The power they were displaying at only 3 or 4 foot away was just awesome and it made you feel very humble to spend time looking at them. I could go on for ages but the best thing to say is please pay your entrance fee and spend a day that will stay with you for many months and years to come. John and now Damian Aspinall have created the blueprint that all zoo's should follow.

Review by Tina Taylor, August 2005

We, as a family, recently visited Port Lympne zoo. This was the first time we had been there and it definitely will not be the last. What a fantastic place! there was so much to see and do, which is especially helpful because everybody has different needs for their family. The staff were very friendly and the keepers were very informative and engaged the children enthusiastically, so everyone came away with a little more knowledge than they came in with.


The animals and their pens, i must say, were so natural, had plenty of space and incredibly clean (which must be a feat in it's self as the animals did throw their food about a bit, much to everyone's amusement).

 The grounds are kept immaculate and there are lots of different routes you could take, which makes it all the more interesting. There is an african experience which is an 1 1/4 hour tour, but you have to book early as this sells out extremely fast

A thoroughly great day out for everyone.

I VISITED PORT LYMPNE ON AVERY HOT DAY IN JULY 2000 after its sister park Howletts it is in my mind the finest zoo in the UK (I have visited most of them during the past few years) Port Limpne has a varied collection of, mostly large mammals They are kept in conditions that put put most of our flagship zoos to shame the animals are healthy and well cared for  the information available is excellentat times it may be difficult to see some of the animals as they are not displayed purely   for the publics benefit but for their own well being I am avery severe critic   of Zoo cculture and find little in many zoos  to justify their existence however if animals need to be kept in captivity these to parks are as near to perfect conditions as you will get In particular  Port Lympne has alarge herd of elephant a superb displayof african hunting dogs And surely the finest colection of rhino in Europe not to mention a group of batchelor gorillas that would be the envy of any zoo in the world Ontop of all this there is a safari ride which as well asgiving you a close up view of  wild horses deer cattle and antelopes enable you to take a well earned rest asd Port Lympne requires some stamina to do it full justice The house & gardens are probably worth the admission fee alone  A mention must be made of the catering   and shopping facilities at both Howletts  and Port Lympne  they are both excellent reasonably priced and of high quality It gives one a sense of the importance which ALL members of staff give to the animals when I was asked to help myself to drinks and ice cream from a kiosk at Howletts  as the staf were too busy watching the gorillas too serve me!!!!

GoodZoos.com Reviews

It's six years since we visited Port Lympne to review it for The Good Zoo Guide. But it remains my favourite zoo in the world. What more can I say? I don't want to write an out of date review – here are some of my original comments. If you have been here recently – please send us a review How to contact us [Click Here]

Port Lympne Zoo Park is the second, and more ambitions of the late John Aspinall's zoos. (See Howletts) In 1973 very few conservationists had even heard of Aspinall. They might have known of him as a millionaire gambler, and an unorthodox keeper of animals – but his extraordinary achievements with endangered species had scarcely been reported. Howletts Zoo was not yet open to the public, and he had yet to see his first gorilla birth.

In 1973 however, John Aspinall was no longer a gambler, and was far from being a millionaire. He was in fact, nearly penniless after a massive loss on Wall Street. What remained was berely enough to pay the wages of the dozen or so staff that worked at Howletts, or to feed the animals. There could not have been a worse time to start a completely new zoo. Yet on the cold February morning that he first saw the estate of Port Lympne with its 300 rolling acres of dense woodland and pasture, and its breathtaking views out accross the Romney Marshes and the English Channel, Aspinall knew that his seven year search for a new home for his growing collection of endangered animals was over, and straightaway he bought the entire estate for £360,000.

It is hard to imagine that any visitor could come to Port Lympne without being deeply affected by the place. It is without doubt one of England's most beautiful estates, and it is arguably Europe's finest zoo. That it survived the early years of penury was due in no small part to the investment and guarantees of the financier James Goldsmith, and the support of many of Aspinall's friends and associates. But survive it did. The estate is not an ancient one like Howletts. It dates back little earlier than the first world war, having been commissioned by the young millionaire Philip Sassoon exclusively for his use during the month of August, when the famous and the fashionable were lavishly entertained here. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York (Edward VII and George VI) stayed here; so too did George Bernard Shaw, T.E.Lawrence, Lloyd George, and Charlie Chaplin. Winston Churchill, a regular house guest, painted several views of the house – threee of which are here on display. The painter Rex Whistler painted decorative murals on an entire room (the tent room) and this is open to visitors to the zoo. To complement this, Aspinall commissioned the wildlife artisit Arthur Spencer Roberts to paint another drawing room in the house. The reulting mural took three and a half years to complete and is quite magnificent, featuring more than 220 species of South East Asian animals.

The park at Port Lympne is a huge natural ampitheatre, and the complete walk around the zoo is a gentle endurance test of probably more than three miles. It you add to this the great number of spectacular animals to see, the views to admire, and of course the house to visit, you should really allow a whole day to get the best from the visit. Arrive early and do not expect to leave until late.

Tha animal collection at Port Lympne reads like a roll call of some of the rarest and most endangered creatures on the planet: animals like the Barbary lion (extinct in the wild), the African golden cat, swamp deer, Siberian tigers, Indiuan elephants, Malayan tapirs, lowland gorillas, and black rhinos. Just as at Howletts the Aspinall philosophy applies here; the animals are treated as friends; they are pampered, their food is the finest quality, the most varied, and without a doubt the most expensive in the world. And the emphasis is upon keeping animales in large numbers, as many as possible of each species, with as much space as possible. Like Howletts, the final adjudicator of the technique is success. The animals at Port Lympne are vigorous, healthy, and every species has either bred here or can confidently be expected to breed here soon. The optimism of the place is heady, and the affection lavished on the animals is evident.

There are few zoos quite like Port Lympne for walking around. At various times the path weaves through dense woodland – the across open grassland – then through exquisite ornamental gardens – then along a splendid avenue of horse chestnut trees. It is a farm and a stately home and a forest all bound into one.

The car park is in an adjoining farm – one of several where the zoo grows much of the fresh produce for feeding the animals, mangold, lucerne, maize, red clover, and kale. 150 tonnes of mangold alone are grown here between January and May for the elephants, the rhinos, and the grazing animals.

My own notes on Port Lympne are too out of date to dwell much on the animal collection. Maybe readers of goodzoos.com will update this site. Alas, the Sumatran rhinos have now returned to Indonesia. But I am sure those wonderful gorillas are still there, that fantastic herd of Pere David's deer, those black rhinos, the snow leopards. Take binoculars. This will be probably the best zoo you will ever visit.

Species List


[Find and Read a Review of the zoo you want to visit ] [Buy Books on Zoos and Wildlife[Zoo Animals] Home ] Up ]
[ About Zoos ]  [ News ]  [Conservation in Zoos ]   [Zoos and Education ]  [Zoos and Recreation ] [Zoos and Research ] [Are Zoos Cruel?]  [Sign our Visitor's Book]

Become an Internet Zoo Critic and contribute to a worldwide databank of knowledge on mammal and bird conservation. Click Here.

Editor: Jon Clarke    Research: John and Sue Ironmonger, Ray Heaton, and the readers of goodzoos.com   Illustrations by G.L.Grandy. Thanks to John Ironmonger for the original idea of GoodZoos.com.

Send mail to [email protected] with questions or comments about this web site.
Site monitored by Website Monitor
Last modified: