It seems only fitting that the first post I’ve written in ages should be about the great British summer and holidaying in the UK. Even more fitting perhaps that we chose to tick off an item from our wish list and take the opportunity to spend a weekend in a Treehouse at the Port Lympne Reserve – somewhere that’s also been on the family bucket list for ages!
Arriving at Port Lympne
With the weather fully aligned in our favour this was to be one of those holidays where you feel the need to keep pinching yourself. We always consider that holidays are best enjoyed when the accommodation is better than your own living arrangements. In this particular instance, the fact that we don’t live in a Treehouse set the bar quite high. We wasn’t disappointed!
Running from room to room to check a place out is not just the preserve of kids. We all got involved in this one! I’m sure you get my drift here though. We’ve all turned up to find an underwhelming hotel room and wished we’d stayed at home.
And then of course being on a Safari Reserve – well there’s no comparison is there. We could never rival a view looking out over the Rhino enclosure and being privy to their feeding regime from the comfort of our balcony.
Keen to get started as soon as we arrived and with time to kill before check in, we jumped aboard the Safari truck for our tour. The safari truck takes you to the areas of the park that you are unable to explore on foot.
The park is home to over 700 animals, including the largest herd of black rhino in the UK, western lowland gorillas, the only giraffe in Kent, tigers, lions, leopards and bears to name but a few.
Up close and personal!
In the heat of the glorious August sunshine – well we may have been heard to say ‘wow we could be anywhere’ more than once. The familiar sight of parched grass seen everywhere in the UK this summer was testament to this.
The end of the Safari timed perfectly with our check in time and we were whisked off on a buggy with our luggage to our Treehouse.
No check in is complete without a glass of Prosecco in the comfort of the Treehouse Hotel whilst getting the keys to our Treehouse.
Checking in to the Treehouse
To our delight we were staying in the ‘Babydoll’ Treehouse. Babydoll is significant to the Aspinall Foundation as it is the name of the much loved 55 year old Gorilla who can be seen at Howletts (the sister park to Port Lympne) who was brought up as an infant and is the oldest surviving Gorilla in the park.
We were also handed the keys to our very own golf buggy which was to be our mode of transport for the duration of our stay. The park is open to the residents of Port Lympne to explore until 10pm. This is a real treat as it meant that we could visit the public areas of the park at leisure after the day visitors had left.
The buggy was to be a real asset to our stay as the park is set in over 600 acres and we were able to whizz around under our own steam taking in the animals and still have time to take advantage of the luxury of our Treehouse.
Inside the Treehouse
Definitely not a Treehouse without steps! Worth it though.
The Treehouse had been designed by British Designer Tara Bernerd. You can take a little look at the pictures below. We certainly wasn’t disappointed. The glorious weather meant that we could also take full advantage of the outdoor area and the lovely seating while taking in the views from the balcony.
The fabulous kitchen facilities along with a little advance meal planning and shopping also meant that we could enjoy a fabulous meal on the balcony as the sun set. Can’t argue with that.
Babydoll’s Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant
Babydoll’s Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant is another nod to the beloved Gorilla, Babydoll.
Choosing to jump into the buggy and eat here on our first night was most definitely the right one. We tucked into our delicious pizza – al Fresco of course. Babydoll’s enjoys an enviable setting with the Leopard enclosure to the right of where we sat and the Lion’s not too far away. Just perfect!
And The Best Bits?
Well it turned out that it wasn’t just us getting caught up in the excitement. Every single adult (and child) were doing the same happy dance.
But the best bit – which was really quite remarkable – was that real life took over! You know that thing we used to do before Social Media? Before we got so busy sharing things online that we forgot to be in the moment? Yes that. We shared the joy of the experience with others in real life. We all got involved with what others were doing.
Because when you happen to be staying somewhere a little bit out of the ordinary, there are so many reasons to connect with others. Not least because we got to look around some of the other fabulous locations and duly returned the invite to our Treehouse.
And why not? You see the thing about Port Lympne is that all of the accommodation is spectacular. From the glamping opportunities, to the cottages and Tiger Lodge – there really is an experience to cover all tastes.
You could even immerse yourself in a Bubble for the night. Yes we looked around this one too!
So, the cost. Well, it goes without saying it wasn’t cheap. It is the most expensive per night break that we have ever taken. But it was an experience that you couldn’t put a price on. A treat with a priceless experience. Suitable for the whole family, Port Lympne gets a very BIG tick.
Have you been?