The Big Cat Sanctuary
The Big Cat Sanctuary
5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
The Big Cat Sanctuary is a conservation charity, situated in Rural Kent. Our site spans 32 acres of grassland and is home to over 15 endangered species of Big and Small Cats. We endeavour to provide peace and tranquility for our resident cats, in habitats tailored to each species, in order to provide them with the best possible lives in captivity. As participants in the International breeding programme, we are instrumental in preserving the captive populations of these endangered and iconic cats. We do not operate like a traditional zoo, but instead you can visit to undertake a variety of experiences, which must be pre-booked. Our experiences include, Overnight Lodge Safaris, Ranger for the day, Photography Days, Big Cat Encounter (Private tour with hand feeds), Afternoon Tea and Adopter Days. Once a year we open our doors for 5 days to the general public, for our Annual open days. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and takes place at the end of July.
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  • Jeane1596
    London, United Kingdom4 contributions
    Fantastic or round
    So glad I did the over night stay had the best time ever, all the staff were fantastic and could not do another for us. The big cats were loved and looked after very well so healthy. The lodge we stayed in was beautiful and spotless and very cosy. We had after noon tea when we arrived then a brilliant two tour with a Member off staff very knowledgeable off all the big cats. We had a three course meal which was lovely with helpful staff. In the morning we had a lovely breakfast and then another tour which we hand-fed tiger and Leopard. I will recommend this too anyone who would like too go can’t wait too go back again
    Visited November 2022
    Written 10 December 2022
  • Colin A
    1 contribution
    Big Cat Experience
    What a fantastic event, two hours learning so much about their cats, conservation and a chance to feed a tiger and a puma. Not a zoo but a true conservation centre and all the staff so friendly and passionate about the sanctuary. Our guide Connie, despite only being there for 7 months was so knowledgeable and obviously cared for the animals. If you get the opportunity I'd highly recommend visiting
    Visited January 2023
    Written 23 January 2023
  • Tracey C
    1 contribution
    Amazing birthday gift, did not dissapoint
    We had a 10.45 experience tour, many of the cats had not long had meat hidden in their enclosure... it was wonderful to see the leopards trying to retrieve their breakfast. Thanks to our guide Rick, we were luck enough to see the lions racing from their den, to claim their lump of meat! Rick was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about all the cats in the care of the Sancturary, and the conservation projects they support around the world. Feeding two of the cats, breif but such a experience. Had a wonderful ploughman's platter each, one vegetarian, so deliciousand filling... not your every day ploughman's. Great that the chef came out to talk to us. Everyone was very friendly; enclosures/sanctury very clean, and the Cats wealfare top priority, along with health and safety. Lots of evidence of new enclosure building and plans. Well worth a visit, especially for a special occasion.
    Visited February 2023
    Written 10 February 2023
  • Kymex
    27 contributions
    Great place, great team, a must do
    This was a birthday present for my wife to feed the cats and it was so much better than I expected it to be. As it is appointments only, the place is quiet, there were only 4 other people going round at the same time as us. We had the ploughman's for lunch before our tour and the food and service was excellent. The tour was amazing. Michael was full of knowledge. He kept us enthralled for the whole way round and answered our many, many questions. Watching the joy on my wife's face as she fed first the lion and then the tiger was priceless. The whole experience was amazing and I cannot rate the entire team here highly enough. They are all so passionate about what they do and look after their guests so very, very well. We will definitely be back
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 11 February 2023
  • Del M
    4 contributions
    Ranger for the day
    What an amazing place to go. All the staff are friendly, professional and welcoming. Emily and Abi the keepers that should us round on our ranger day were incredibly knowledgeable and can honestly can say that I have learnt so much about the cats and the conservation projects they are involved in now and in the future. The ranger day itself was a packed day and worth the money. I would definitely recommend the Big Cat Sanctuary as a place to visit.
    Visited February 2023
    Written 18 February 2023
  • Tasha E
    38 contributions
    Amazing experience for big cat lovers!!
    Need I say more? Keepers and staff are super friendly, and the cats themselves are a delight to see! We went for an Afternoon Tea experience and certainly got our money’s worth! You get roughly two hours to explore the Sanctuary’s enclosures after being served a lovely array of food and drinks for your afternoon tea. Would highly recommend!
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 February 2023
  • TanaP68
    Kent, United Kingdom32 contributions
    Afternoon tea experience
    Today we went for Paul Hollywood afternoon tea. You will be seated n the conservatory overlooking the lion enclosure. The food (meat, vegetarian or vegan) was delicious and freshly prepared, topped off perfectly with a glass of bubbles. We took a relaxed tour around the sanctuary for more than an hour, it’s such a peaceful place. Next visit is an overnight lodge stay, the price tag initially feels like a huge treat, but so worth it for everything that is included. Big birthday? Special Anniversary? Actually, no excuse is needed!
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 4 March 2023
  • P1P1968
    Hastings, United Kingdom26 contributions
    Fabulous Big Cat Feeding Experience
    Fabulous big cat feeding experience, something I will remember for the rest of my life. We had an expert private tour and then fed two big cats each, the animals are obviously well cared for and their environments are clean. We learnt a lot about the animals and their conservation, would thoroughly recommend.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 21 March 2023
  • Peter J
    3 contributions
    Wonderful weekend at the big cat sanctuary
    Started our weekend with a cream tea over looking the lion enclosure which was lovely, then our guide Ben took us around the park explaining and answering lots of questions, his knowledge was fantastic.,but his passion and love for all the cats really shone through . We fed a black jaguar which just blew us away at just his beautiful it was . We then relaxed in the large warm lodge before going back to the restaurant for a lovely meal which we were looked after fantastically well by the staff . Next morning after a lovely breakfast, (so much choice) Ben took us around once more and this time we fed a tiger again was amazing . Lastly off to the souvenir shop before leaving. Thank you too all the staff for a truly unforgettable weekend, I'd advise everyone to do this experience if they can ,it's not cheap but it's worth it ,the cats really were looked after so well which was gr8 to see and the most important thing . Can't wait to go back ASAP, Peter Jennings
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 April 2023
  • Colin T
    Croydon, United Kingdom4 contributions
    Over Night Lodge Stay - FAN-TAS-TIC!
    What a fantastic experience! I took my wife as a surprise 60th birthday present in April 2023 and we stayed overnight in the lodges. Everything right from the welcome at the gates was brilliant. We were made to feel like VIP's the whole time. A big shout out to Jackie who met us on arrival, showed us to the lodge and greeted us for dinner and also Nathan the keeper who took us round the site. No question was too much for him (and there were quite a few!) he certainly knew his stuff. Our lodge (Leopard) was very comfortable and cosy and had only recently been refurbished. Access to the cats was also very special with my wife getting to hand feed as well. For that extra special visit or special occasion I would certainly recommend and give it 5 stars!
    Written 17 April 2023
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5.0
1,180 reviews
Excellent
1,095
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46
Average
16
Poor
5
Terrible
18

Sally N
East Sussex, UK7 contributions
Dec 2023 • Couples
We went to the cat Sanctuary booked our tickets a while ago Was a lovely day not to busy lovely sunny day Friendly staff & Beautiful Amazing Cats well worth the visit
Written 6 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

V, Giddings
19 contributions
Nov 2023 • Friends
The lodge was very warm and comfortable there was even a xmas put up inside, the food was plentiful and delicious, we had cream tea and a glass of prosecco in the afternoon, a 3 course dinner and complimentary drink in the evening and then a cooked breakfast in the morning.
All the staff were very welcoming, polite and friendly
Richard was our guide taking us around the site seeing all the cats and feeding some, he was fantastic very knowledgeable,and it's all done with health and safety in mind for both humans and cats
The cats themselves are so adorable and Richard explained all about each cat individually which was very interesting.
The whole experience was fantastic well worth it.
Written 28 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to write a review following your recent lodge stay. We were so pleased to hear that you had an amazing time and that you appreciated the quality and quantity of the food that you enjoyed during your visit. It sounds like you learnt a lot from the experience. Hopefully you will come back and see us again at some time in the future!!
Written 5 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kim W
2 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
All the staff are friendly, we were made to feel very special. This was amazing, we were greeted on arrival, we were shown to our lodge to unpack. The we then met for our afternoon tea. Afterwards we met our guide to walk around part of the sanctuary, our guide was very knowledgeable, he explained everything about each cat.
We had a bit of time to relax in our beautiful lodge. We then had a delicious meal in the restaurant.
Next morning we had a delicious breakfast, after breakfast we met our guide for another tour, this included a had fed with a big cat, this was amazing.
Overall this was the best experience we have had. Thank you all at the Big Cat Sanctuary.
Written 23 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We really appreciate you taking the time to write such a fantastic review following your recent lodge stay. It's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed every element of your stay and that you were treated like VIPs whilst you were here!! We hope that you will come and visit us again in the future.
Written 5 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Michelle H
3 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
What a day! Highly recommend the Ranger for the day experience. We were fortunate enough to spend time with so many incredible cats, hand feeding and getting stuck into cleaning out enclosures (it's surreal to be inside a tiger enclosure!). The keepers passion and knowledge for their animals is evident and we came away knowing so much more about habitats, breeding programmes and the importance of protecting the planet's incredible animals. It was a privilege to be given a glimpse into the work that goes into ensuring species survival. The adoption package is full of information & resource (not to mention cute posters of Zaya & Attan!). Lunch was included & overlooks the lion enclosure - great food, friendly service, and interesting to watch the lion behaviour. The male rescued from a circus is now living his best life! We had such an amazing time we're going back to stay in one of the lodges next year. Thank you for such a memorable birthday experience.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for your amazing review following your Ranger for the day experience. We are so happy to hear that you had a truly memorable day with us and that you learnt so much whilst you were here. It's fantastic to hear that you are keen to come back again for a lodge stay next year. We are certain that you will love that too!! We look forward to seeing you in 2024!!
Written 5 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Little Jax Corner
London29 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
We experienced the Big Cat Safari and stayed overnight in a lodge right next to the Lion’s enclosure.
A magical experience - listening to the roar of a lion as I went to sleep!
We had 2 tours with Emily and Gemma over the 2 days - both who were very knowledgeable, funny and left us far more knowledgeable about big cats.

We had chance to feed the cats and on the 2nd day I hand feed a tiger - ticked off of the bucket list 😃.

We stayed in the Lion Lodge which was lovely - lots of lions (as you’d imagine), coat and warm and the closets lodge to the Lions enclosure.

The food was really good. Upon checking the menu I was pleasantly surprised to find not one main meal has sulphite ms in! (Something which very rarely happens for me!). The chef also helped with afternoon tea and breakfast tweaks.

The food choices were good - it was nice to see some healthy choices alongside the steak and chips. I had the butternut squash salad followed by the sea bream and ratatouille which were both amazing. Obviously I snuck a pudding in their too 😉

All staff we came scores, at reception, in the shop, in the restaurants were all helpful, polite and chatty.

This is not a massive company with loads of people wandering around - it’s a personalised experience with knowledgeable staff who obviously care a lot about their animals. A magical weekend we will remember for a long time.
Written 12 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for your amazing review following your recent overnight Big Cat Safari. We were delighted to hear that you have left us with fantastic memories of your visit. It's also great to hear that you enjoyed the food and that you appreciated the welcome from all the staff that you encountered. We genuinely hope that you will visit us again at some time in the future.
Written 29 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter A
1 contribution
Oct 2023 • Solo
The first big difference about this sanctuary that it is not open to the general public on a daily basis. Visits are made by appointment, therefore the sanctuary is not over crowded allowing visitors to observe the various 'big cats' without the hustle and bustle of other animal parks.
The experience gift I had received was for a 'Big Cat Encounter'. This entailed a tour around the sanctuary accompanied by a guide and the chance to hand feed two of the big cats on site.
My guide for the visit was 'Izzie' who was very knowledgeable and it was a real pleasure listening to her talking about the various cats and their natural environment. I asked many questions about the cats and the parks objectives which she answered confidently, with no shrugging shoulders or waffle.
The two cats I 'fed' were 'Puna' an elderly Sumatran Tigress, who when she took the chicken thigh from my hand was so gentle it was hard to believe that she could easily take my hand of at the same time. The other cat was a 5 year old Black Jaguar, Neron, who crunched the chicken thigh as if it was the first meal of the day.
Apart from the well known breeds of big cat, there were others smaller cats, such as Pallas and Servals.
The guided tour took around 2 hours but I could have spent much longer there. I will visit again as there is so much to learn about these beautiful animals some of whom are endangered. I would strongly recommend a visit to the sanctuary you will not regret it.
Written 2 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a fantastic review folllowing your recent visit. We were delighted to read that Izzy made your visit so memorable and that you left the Sanctuary with a good understanding of the conservation message that we are committed to impart to our guests. We very much look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.
Written 8 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sheelagh123
Melton Mowbray, UK130 contributions
Oct 2023 • Friends
Our visit fulfilled a long held ambition. Lovely Izzy took us around the sanctuary telling us about every animal and answering all of our (many) questions! The variety in shape, size, colour, lifestyle and habitats of the cats we met was amazing. We saw behind the scenes at the new feeding and veterinary building. Then the highlight was hand feeding the Sumatran tiger Puna, the cheetah Willow and the Asiatic lioness Sonika with chicken through the mesh fence. To be so close to such animals..... We need to conserve them and work to ensure their natural habitats are preserved for the future.
Written 20 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a fantastic review following your recent visit. We're delighted to read that you learnt so much during your tour from Izzy and that the all important conservation message, which we endeavour to convey to all our guests, resonated with you. We very much hope that you will visit again in the future. The Big Cat Sanctuary Team
Written 28 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kelly Dudson
4 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Had the most amazing day here today for my 40th birthday. We did the ranger day and it was well worth it. Every member of staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, we learnt a fair bit on our trip. We will definitely be visiting again
Written 16 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for your review of your Ranger for the Day experience. We were delighted to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed your day and that you will be back to visit us again. We look forward to seeing you. The Big Cat Sanctuary Team
Written 31 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alonso xoxo
Farnborough, UK115 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
We did the cat experience and it was amazing. All staff members from the moment we arrived were friendly and attentive.

The experience itself was great, it was just us and our two handlers and it felt like such a personal experience. We got to ask lots of questions without ever feeling rushed.
We fed a Jaguar, lion and two tigers.
I’d highly recommend this experience, it is so much better than other experiences we have done in zoos etc, and the handlers were so knowledgable and really seemed to care.

It’s a shame it isn’t more advertised or even road signs as we didn’t see anything at all on the way.
Written 12 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review following your recent Big Cat Encounter and for your kind comments about our Team. We are delighted to read that you enjoyed all the personal elements of your visit. We hope to see you back here again at some point in the future.
Written 31 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lyndsay_13
Liverpool, UK30 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
A very long drive from home but well worth it. We did the 2 hour experience and hand fed 4 big cats. Our ranger guide was Gillian - she was excellent! Very knowledgeable , gave us some fun facts and really cared about the cats there. They could do with putting some signs up around the area - we had no idea it was there and may gain more interest. Beautiful cats and lovely gardens
Written 9 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks so much for your fantastic review of your recent Big Cat Encounter. We were delighted to hear that Gillian ensured that your visit was both fun and informative. We hope to see you here again at some time in the future.
Written 31 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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THE BIG CAT SANCTUARY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about The Big Cat Sanctuary

The Big Cat Sanctuary is open:
  • Sun - Sat 09:00 - 16:00


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