Port Lympne - A luxury escape
I've always loved the idea of a quick escape out of London, especially when luxury tree houses, wild animals, countryside and beautiful spring weather are all involved. Last week, my boyfriend turned the very big 3-0 and what better way to spend it than escaping the hustle and bustle of London for a bit of luxury and fun? So Port Lympne, was without a doubt my first port of call. I went there last year on a press trip and absolutely loved it, so heading back there was a must.
For those that don't know or have never been, I suggest you do! Port Lympne is a wild animal park based in Kent. Set over 600 acres, it is home to the UK’s most authentic safari experience, home to 100 acres full of African animals. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking.... It's basically a zoo, it's cruel for wild animals not to be kept in their natural habitats and trust me, I do not like the way animals are treated or the whole idea of zoos either. However, Port Lympne is owned by a conservation charity dedicated to protecting wildlife. They work alongside the Aspinall Foundation where they introduce animals back in to the wild. In fact, on our safari tour, all the amazing silverback gorillas we saw, were all shortly being sent back to the Congo. All the staff that work there have incredible knowledge and passion for the animals and you can tell they are all treated really well.
The minute we arrived, we were sent out on our own private safari tour with our guide, Jake, he was brilliant and so enthusiastic. The highlights of the safari, had to be feeding the giraffes and the endangered black rhinos, as well as seeing these beautiful Siberian tigers. It's home to so many beautiful, endangered and rare species and being at such close proximity is really something special.
As we finished our safari, we were taken to the clubhouse where we were presented with a couple of glasses of champagne and marshmallows to roast on the beautiful log fire. I mean, what a way to welcome your guests. Shortly after, we made our way to our accommodation for the night, the treehouses! I've always been a sucker for a treehouse and the feeling of sleeping outside in the wild. However, these are slightly more luxurious than your typical wooden treehouse. These are instead beautiful, small glass bungalows set high up in the trees, each with their own balcony overlooking the wildlife reserve. On a clear day, you can also see the coast, which isn't too far away, making for such breathtaking views.
We were also given access to buggies during our stay. So in the afternoon, we went round at our leisure, exploring more of the safari park and cruising round in the sun. In 2016 Port Lympne opened the Dinosaur Forest giving visitors the chance to step into a jurassic world with the largest collection of life-sized Dinosaurs in Europe which made for a quick and fun pitstop on our buggies. Port Lympne Reserve also incorporates a historic mansion and beautiful landscaped gardens which were designed during World War I, the grounds are stunning, so we were very much content just walking around them and exploring, which we did for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Before sunset, we made our way back to the treehouse, cracked open a bottle of wine and chilled on the outdoor sofa, watching the amazing sunset, which I must admit, even for England was an impressive one.
That evening, we were treated to a delicious dinner at the main hotel in this stunning room, intricately painted with wild animals, emanating the landscape around us. Now, I'm always normally one for staying up and out of the house but with accommodation like we had, I was all up for getting the buggies straight back to our treehouses to relax there for the evening, which is exactly what we did.
The next morning was absolute bliss. We were provided with two hampers full of cereals, bread, jams, you name it, a real luxury DIY brekkie! Genius idea! Forget the bother of having to wake up ridiculously early and trekking over to a communal breakfast room (not that I don't like that once in a while) but this was so much more relaxed.
With the choice in our hands, we made a full English breakfast and devoured it on our balcony, overlooking the rhinos and giraffes with the morning sun beaming on our faces. What a way to start the day.
We spent the early afternoon exploring more of the grounds and treating ourselves to some afternoon tea in the hotel until it was time to leave. What an absolutely great little escape from the City it had been. Beautiful weather, stunning views, wild animals, a breathtaking sunset, luxury accommodation.... and I'm pretty sure it scored a few girlfriend points too!
Thank you Port Lympne, I can't wait to come back!