The Big Cat Sanctuary

The Big Cat Sanctuary, Smarden: Hours, Address, The Big Cat Sanctuary Reviews: 5/5

The Big Cat Sanctuary
5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The Big Cat Sanctuary The Big Cat Sanctuary is a conservation charity, home to over 50 big and small cats across 16 different species. We are proud to have the most diverse collection in the UK, from the largest, to the smallest, to the most endangered in the world, hidden away in the Kent countryside. We are a centre of excellence whose primary objective is the breeding of some of the most endangered species on the planet as well as offering sanctuary to retired and homeless cats. The breeding centre is proud to be part of the EEP (European Endangered Species Breeding Programme). This is a body that regulates the captive breeding of endangered cats by making recommendations for breeding to produce a strong, healthy and diverse gene-pool within the captive population to ultimately be reintroduced safely into their natural habitat to mix with their counterparts in the wild. Breeding success so far includes the Amur leopard programme which is the world’s most endangered big cat, estimated between 70-80 remaining in the wild globally, also to the Sumatran tigers, Amur tigers and Pallas cats. Big Cat Sanctuary operates by way of personal big cat experiences including big cat tours, individual and group photography days, overnight big cat safari nights and adoptions. All of which need to be pre-booked in advance of a visit. The centre takes pride in delivering fully immersive, personal and amazing experiences that will leave any big cat lover with memories to treasure forever.
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5.0
1,064 reviews
Excellent
994
Very good
40
Average
13
Poor
4
Terrible
13

Leigh
1 contribution
May 2022
What a wonderful experience! Be able to get so close and feed these magnificent animals was incredible. And thank you to Joe for taking us round! I would highly recommend.
Written 23 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clearwood
13 contributions
May 2022 • Solo
Everyone should do this !! What a truly awesome day !! Such a huge privilege to get up so close to these majestic creatures. I did the (group of 4) photography day with Ryan and Sarah who were so passionate and knowledgeable on all things cats and cameras! I learned so much and am thrilled with my photos. With not being open to the public the sanctuary is so quiet, calm and magical. Amazing, inspiring, humbling, thrilling.... words fail me... just do it. A memory of a lifetime. Thank you guys and thank you Big Cats !
Written 23 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ltiggertaz
Santa Cruz, CA136 contributions
May 2022
Did the overnight with tour and feeding in the afternoon and the next day. The staff and food were amazing, watching Kzanga up close while enjoying afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast was amazing. The staff giving the tours are so knowledgeable and caring makes the tours just amazing. The cabins are spacious and very comfortable going to sleep listening to Kzanga roaring was so cool.

Will be back to do this again, thank you for an amazing time.
Written 17 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mike C
Kent, UK7 contributions
May 2022
Just returned from The Big Cat Sanctuary having been on the Big Cat Encounter experience with my wife and son and it was fantastic.
From the minute we drove through the gate to the minute we left we were made to feel special.
As the experiences need to be pre-booked the numbers in the sanctuary are limited which meant we felt like we were the only members of the public in there. We were greeted and offered a drink whilst completing the health and safety form and then introduced to our guide Joe.
Joe was brilliant, he explained each section in great detail and answered all our questions. During the tour each of us hand fed two big cats each guided expertly by Joe.
If you are undecided go for it as you will not regret a visit to this wonderful place.
Written 16 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pauline S
Worcester, UK28 contributions
May 2022
My daughter and I recently visited the Big Cat Sanctuary for the Maya and Willow experience and had a wonderful time hearing all about several of the cats from our very knowledgeable guide Joe and then hand feeding two of the cats. The sanctuary is extremely well run, the staff very helpful and the grounds well laid out and more importantly it was wonderful to get close to the big cats who all seemed happy and contented and certainly well cared for. A thoroughly enjoyable experience which I would not hesitate to recommend.
Written 11 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

H H
1 contribution
May 2022 • Couples
We had an extremely interesting tour of the Big Cat Sanctuary, on one of the “Big Cat Encounters”, with the option to hand feed some of the cats.
The sun was shining and we loved the layout of the sanctuary- easy to walk round, along with my father in a mobility scooter.
All of the staff are very helpful and friendly.
Our guide Clayton was so knowledgeable and made the whole experience really interesting.
We were expecting it to be over in less than two hours, but ended up being nearly three!
Would highly recommend!
Written 9 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dunck031
London, UK22 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
We came back yesterday from staying in a lodge for our overnight lodge experience. From arrival the staff made you feel welcome and treated you like family. The cabin was out of this world [Leopard] with the sun shining Kasanga roaring anyone could think we may have been somewhere like Africa! The whole site was exceptionally clean and there were hand sanitisers everywhere. The food was amazing both afternoon tea and the 3 course dinner, and the breakfast was lovely too. All the big cats and smaller ones looked well cared for and happy. Jo and her team in heritage lodge were amazing, friendly bc and professional Our guide was Clayton, he was so knowledgeable, professional and knew the answer to every question asked by the group we were in. The amount of knowledge he knew was incredible and how each cat he called knew who he was and bounded straight to him, he showed great empathy and love for those cats which was really lovely to see, and clearly someone who absolutely loves their job.
I’m sure we will be back at some point in time maybe with extra people too. Thank you big cat sanctuary we had a blast
Written 11 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lisa_LTN
Luton, UK514 contributions
Apr 2022
Ever since our last visit I have wanted to go back and experience the lodge stay. I was slightly put off by the cost but having now done the stay I can honestly say it's worth every penny and I would love to go back and do it again!

We stayed in the Cheetah lodge which was beautiful and incredibly spacious. Once checked in to our lodge we headed over to the Heritage Lodge for a glass of sparkling wine and a lovely afternoon tea. You have your own designated table in the restaurant which you use for all meals which I thought was a fantastic idea. When I first looked at the itinerary for the day it looked like we didn't have much time for the afternoon tea but actually it was perfectly timed.

Our group were split into two smaller groups with one group going to one area of the sanctuary and the second group going to the other part. We had a great time with Abbie and she was very knowledgeable about the cats. The tour lasted about 1 1/2hours and we were greeted with a drink when we got back to Heritage Lodge.

After a little time to enjoy our lodge we went back over for cocktails and dinner which were all very nice. We were asked to pre-order our breakfast for the next morning.

The following morning started with a lovey cooked breakfast and a nice selection of continental options before heading out on the second part of our tour and our handfeed. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain but we still had a fantastic time exploring the second half of the sanctuary and the cats were so gentle when taking the food from us.

We both had an amazing time and loved every second of it, I just would have liked to be able to check in slightly earlier so we could enjoy more time in our lodge.
Written 8 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeannette T
Bromley35 contributions
Mar 2022 • Friends
This 5 star experience did not disappoint in any way. From the excellent staff, superb cabin, good food and drink, experienced and knowledgable keeper and the fantastic condition and variety of all the cats. This was money well spent and I would highly recommend. Looking forward to a return visit.
Written 24 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

james r
Oswestry, UK894 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
Wow what a beautiful stay a perfect night,
I took my partner for a 40th surprise birthday. It was a amazing worth every penny what a experience.
The log is gorgeous and a great high standard.
The tour is perfect and seeing these wonderful cats. The food and service was 100%
Love it
My partner said it’s was better than Disney
Written 12 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Big Cat Sanctuary

The Big Cat Sanctuary is open:
  • Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00


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