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“Do not visit”

The Big Cat Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Smarden
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed 27 August 2014

This place is not open to the general public as we found out.we wish to have seen the tigers as we are great lovers of the tigers. Very very discouraged.

18  Thank lesley m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WHFBigCats, Marketing and Fundraising Officer at The Big Cat Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 4 August 2016

Hi there, sorry you were not clear that we are not open to the general public on a
conventional basis prior to making your way to us. We operate by way of personal experiences, details of which can be found on the website, any queries our Admin Team will be happy to help you. Call any time on 01233 771915 between 8 am and 6pm.

Kindest regards,


Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (549)
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"open days"
in 70 reviews
"photography workshop"
in 22 reviews
"hand feeding"
in 21 reviews
"general public"
in 21 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 27 reviews
"camera settings"
in 10 reviews
"cat lovers"
in 9 reviews
"professional photographer"
in 6 reviews
"resident photographer"
in 8 reviews
"amazing photos"
in 7 reviews
"wild cats"
in 16 reviews
"these magnificent animals"
in 6 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 7 reviews
"birthday present"
in 19 reviews
"well worth the money"
in 19 reviews
"afternoon tea"
in 18 reviews
"breeding programme"
in 9 reviews

412 - 416 of 549 reviews

Reviewed 21 August 2014

I had the pleasure of attending a summer open day at this wonderful attraction. Fantastic animals, great enclosures, informative staff a great day out for all. I would recommend the WHF to anyone either to go for one of there many fantastic experiences or take advantage of the annual summer open days which are a great day out for the whole family.

2  Thank 88Winters88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2014

He most amazing big cat breeding centre. All the rarest cats in a beautiful and peaceful setting. I would recommend a visit and help to support these beautiful cats from becoming extinct.

2  Thank Catkin1944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Best ever Christmas present I've ever been given!

My one-to-one photography day at WHF was perfect in every respect - Jason the pro photographer was incredibly helpful, informative and imaginative and did his very best to make sure that I came away with some amazing shots of the beautiful big cats. Debs, the ranger/keeper who acted as guide, knows (and loves) each and every cat, is very knowledgable and provided masses of information about the animals in her care. They really are the A-team!

It was a real privilege to be able to get up close and personal with such a wide range of top predators while feeling safe and having the luxury to not only photograph them but to take time out to just observe and enjoy their awesome strength and beauty.

The WHF is beautifully laid out in well cared for grounds and with good-sized and interesting enclosures for the cats. The cats are in great condition and are obviously very well looked after.
Personal favourites are Neptune (the fishing cat), Ben (clouded leopard) and Athena (black panther) - she is pure muscle and oozes menace! But it's almost impossible to have favourites - every cat is fascinating.

I would thoroughly recommend WHF for either a one-to-one or group photography day for anyone who wants a truly special day - they run a variety of other experiences as well, which look equally interesting - and I will be returning as soon as I can :)

Thank you WHF for the work you do to help preserve and conserve these amazing and, sadly, threatened and endangered cats.

3  Thank Siubhan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 August 2014

We re-visited WHF a couple of weeks ago for a photography day on an extremely hot and sunny day, The day did not start well as sadly the male jaguar Ares had passed away that day and naturally the staff were devastated and in shock. We went for a "big cat experience day" last year and out of the two of them I think that the photography was preferable (though last year I got to feed Ares)as we were there all day from 9am until 5pm, we had coffee, lunch and more coffee in the afternoon. Andy was brilliant as indeed were all the staff, especially given what had happened at the start of the day. Fantastic- my partner knows what he is getting for Christmas again this year!

1  Thank Inez C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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