A black rhino being cared for by a keeper at Howletts Wild Animal Park.

Howlett's Wild Animal Park

  • Howletts Wild Animal Park has reopened and is following UK government advice regarding COVID-19.
  • Go on an adventure at Howletts Wild Animal Park, the home of some of the most rare and endangered species in the world.
  • An animal park like no other, Howletts cares for almost 400 animals across 52 species.
  • The animal sanctuary is home to snow leopards, Indian and Sumatran tigers, small cats, lions, gorillas, rhinos and the UK’s largest herd of African elephants.
  • See real conservation in action and gain a greater understanding of endangered animals.

Enjoy a truly wild day out at Howletts Wild Animal Park, which is home to around 400 of the world’s most rare and endangered animals. Set in a stunning ancient 100-acre parkland in Kent, Howletts is a dedicated animal charity, which works in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation, to protect wildlife and return them to the wild wherever possible. Unlike a traditional zoo or safari park, Howletts main focus is conservation. The wildlife park gives you the chance to see a variety of exciting animals in their replicated natural habitats.

Visit one of the world’s largest collections of critically endangered western lowland gorillas – there are currently 29 in total! Split into individual and different family groups, there’s even the chance to adopt one of the magnificent silverbacks. See the largest herd of elephants in the UK. If you’re keen to learn more about the incredible herd, join a free elephant talk during your visit. Watch the three female black rhinos, Salome, Damara and Mizi, in action, and see if you can spot the beautiful pair of Sumatran tigers, Achilles and Aguia as they roam their habitat. Immerse yourself in the awesome walk-through lemur experience in their leafy enclosure. The wildlife park is also home to Amur tigers, lions, Northern Chinese leopards, wolves, giant anteaters plus many more. A successful breeding sanctuary, you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a baby.

A mammouth on the woodland walk and outdoor exhibition, Animals of the Ice Age.

Little adventurers can see the park from a monkey’s perspective on the Treetop Challenge, a high ropes obstacle course with zip wires, cargo nets and rope bridges. For younger kids aged two to five, the Animal Adventure Challenge is a fun course, featuring monkey bars, bird’s nest swings, a children’s zip-line, slides and a telescope and periscope. Drop in at the brilliant outdoor exhibition, Animals of the Ice Age, and unearth a world lost in time. Gaze in awe at the lifesize prehistoric creatures through the woodland walk.

Popular with Kidadlers, Fiona says, “We went to Howletts Animal Park in Kent today following a recommendation from a friend and it was fantastic! It’s a bit of a hike from North London but definitely worth it. There’s loads of different animals that you can spot in their natural environments and lots of talks, tours and opportunities to get up close and personal. We took a picnic lunch but there were loads of cafes, restaurants (with healthy kid friendly options) and picnic tables. It was totally buggy friendly, with highchairs and baby change facilities (in the ladies only). My 2.5 year old son particularly enjoyed the Animals of the Ice Age exhibition where we had a guided tour all to ourselves! We made sure we arrived early as it was a long weekend but we didn’t need to worry about crowds as it’s so spaced out. I recommend you also check out the playground which had things for all ages. It’s a total not-for-profit charity so all the money goes back into the conservation work they do. We’ll definitely be going again!!”

Whether you are on a day trip or staying for a mini-break, there are loads of things to do in Kent. Discover some brilliant National Trust properties or explore the beautiful coastline.

With so much to see and explore, Howletts is the perfect day for all the family.

What to know before you go

  • Howletts has new COVID-safety measures in place. There is a reduced number of visitors to the park to maintain social distancing. Please book online and in advance. There is an enhanced cleaning regime and play areas are currently closed, including the Treetop Challenge. Restaurants and cafes will only be operating a takeaway service. Please give keepers space when you arrive at an enclosure.  
  • Under-3s go free.  
  • Howletts is open every day except Christmas Day. During the summer, (1 April – 27 October) Howletts is open from 9.30am until 6pm (last admission is 4.30pm) During the winter, (28 October until 31 March) the park is open from 9.30am until 5pm (last admission is 3.30pm). On Christmas Eve, opening times are from 9.30am until 2pm (last admission is 12.30pm).
  • For the Treetop Challenge, kids have to be taller than 1.2 metres. No flip-flops, Crocs, slip on shoes or high heels are permitted on the course.
  • When you have built up an appetite, there are a variety of family-friendly restaurants to choose from, including the Pavilion restaurant, serving hot meals, salads and snacks, BBQ at the Pavilion, serving a selection of burgers and hot dogs and the Deer Park café, where you can enjoy a sandwich or a coffee. There are also benches available if you want to bring along your own picnic.
  • Looking for things to do near Canterbury? Whitsable is a lovely seaside town, five miles north of Canterbury. Or visit Canterbury Cathedral, England's oldest cathedral and the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with its beautiful architecture and wealth of history.
  • Enjoy experience days and animal encounters at the animal park. Meet an animal of your choice with an expert keeper and discover interesting facts and hand feed if possible.
  • Discover lots of fascinating animal facts on the free Howletts’ App. You can download it in the IOS app store.
  • There is wheelchair access in the park. It is also possible to hire wheelchairs from the Gatehouse.
  • Toilet facilities, including disabled toilets and baby-changing facilities, are available throughout the park and are marked on the park maps.

Getting there

  • Howletts Wild Animal Park location is Bekesbourne Lane, Bekesbourne, Littlebourne, Canterbury CT4 5EL.
  • If you are travelling by public transport, take the train from London Victoria to Bekesbourne station within 90 minutes. During popular times, Howletts operate a minibus service from the station to the park.
  • Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.
  • At only three miles south of Canterbury, Howletts is easy to find by car. The animal park is just off the A2 past Canterbury and is clearly signposted. It is also within easy driving distance to Folkestone and the southern coast of England.
  • There is a free on-site car park available with ample spaces. There is also designated disabled parking located on the hard standing.

Images © Howletts Wild Animal Park

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