A fab, family break in Kent - Bear Lodge at Port Lympne
What I loved about it:
Bear Lodge felt like a great family adventure even though we had not travelled far from home. The kids got to enjoy the camping experience whilst we still had our home comforts!
Value for money (out of 10):
Our stay at Bear Lodge
With Covid still very much a thing in 2021, we decided that for our holiday last year we would choose some small breaks close to home. We wanted something exciting that would appeal to the kids but also to us. That’s when my husband suggested staying at Port Lympne – a hotel and wildlife reserve with many different options for short stays. I checked out the website and it seemed just what we needed for a fab, family break in Kent.
As well as the beautiful hotel which once hosted great parties attended by literary greats there are a number of different accommodation options. From glamping and shepherds huts, to bubble pods and romantic cabins there is so much to choose from. For something really special there are the lion and tiger lodges where you can wake up with one of these gorgeous animals at your window!
We chose Bear lodge as it was family-friendly and looked great having recently been refurbished.
Bear Lodge – The Accommodation
When we arrived we were directed to our tent, which looked pretty standard from the outside. However stepping inside you could almost forget you were in one. There was everything you needed for a comfortable stay. This included a sofa, dining table, two double beds, two lots of bunk beds, log burner, kitchen area and ensuite toilet and shower, all beautifully decorated.
Everywhere was clean and comfortable. I would have had a great night sleep had it not been for my constantly waking 8-month old! The kitchen was equipped with a kettle and fridge so we could have breakfast or lunch in the tent if we so wished. However there is no other equipment for cooking meals.
We stayed as a family of 4 although you could easily fit up to 8.
Bear Lodge – The Site
One of the main reasons we chose Bear Lodge for a family break in Kent was due to its family-friendly appeal. There was a small play park on-site as well as some garden games. There was also a communal fire pit. This you could light yourself and we were given complimentary marshmallows.
The site is called Bear Lodge as it over-looks the spotted bear enclosure however we did not manage to spot them this time. We did later though whilst on safari! The site has fantastic views of the Kent countryside and also the Dungeness Coast. Perfect to sit outside with a glass of wine once the children are in bed.
There is a small restaurant, The Clubhouse which serves breakfast and dinner. There is a kids menu and it also caters well for vegetarians.
Bear Lodge – Visiting the Park
Included in the stay is entry to the wildlife park and its sister site Howletts. You can also book a safari to see some of the animals you wouldn’t see on the walking route. We booked an early slot and almost had the truck to ourselves.
What you see on the safari is based purely on where the animals are at the time. We saw many animals, however some of the more exciting ones such as zebras and giraffes were a bit further off in the distance. Despite this we very much enjoyed the safari, especially my little boy.
Highlights of the park include the gorillas (we caught them at feeding time) the lions and the tigers. My son’s favourite was the dinosaur forest. He made us do this bit twice!
There are numerous food options around the park including many kiosks – not all serve the same foods and they are spaced quite far apart so do try and plan your day especially if you have young children – we got caught out with a very hungry three year old. Must remember – always carry snacks!
All in all the Bear Lodge is a great choice for a family break in Kent. It feels like going on a mini adventure and we loved being able to visit two different zoos. We stayed for two nights and visited both! We would definitely book again or would consider some of the other overnight options at the reserve.