Meerkat Encounter


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Europe » United Kingdom » England » East Sussex » Ticehurst
December 28th 2021
Published: January 18th 2023
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It is our anniversary, Fiona and I have been together for 5 years. I wanted to take Fiona to European city for a long weekend, but with the Covid spike and further government restrictions, this was going to make things a bit more tricky; plus Jovie's nursery fees seem to be eating away quickly at my savings, so we decide to do something low-key and go away for the night.

Fiona had brought me the previous Christmas a gift voucher to meet Meerkats and locations around the UK where limited offering this experience and so I decide to find a hotel near one of the locations that will allow me to use my free-night stay that I had accumulated with Hotels.com. I find this hotel called Dale Hill Hotel & Golf Club in a small village in Ticehurst, some 20 miles away from Knockhatch Adventure Park, where the Meerkat experience is.

Our drive from Hampshire to East Sussex is three hours and we stop-off on the way at my mum's for her to have Jovie. When we arrive at the hotel, we are a little early for check-in, so we drive around the area looking for restaurants or pubs where we can eat later in the evening and find ourselves at the nearby town of Wadhurst, which seems to be a small but lively town. The area in general is quite rural and surrounded by beautiful countryside. This area is new to me and it is always nice to be exploring somewhere different.

Once back at the hotel, we check-in and enjoy some relaxation. It is nice not having any of the kids with us, so we can enjoy some quality time together and recharge our batteries. We enjoy a Cream Tea at the hotel's restaurant, which overlooks the golf course. In the evening, we enjoy some champagne in our room and I take the opportunity to swim in the hotel swimming pool. Afterwards, we walk down to The Cherry Tree Inn for dinner as I fancy getting out from the hotel, and we had noticed this pub on our drive earlier to Wadhurst. The pub is a short walk away from the hotel which is convenient as I had been drinking and couldn't drive. The pub is pretty quiet, which you would expect for this time of year. We find the landlords to be very friendly and welcoming and the pub has a really lovely cosy feel to the place. The food is delicious too!

Next day

After a cooked breakfast at the hotel, we are ready to check-out and head down to Knockhatch Adventure Park. This adventure park has large indoor and outdoor play areas and seems a great attraction to bring children; however, the reason for our visit is for meeting Meercats, which I am most excited about. I have always found Meerkats to be interesting animals whenever there is a documentary on the TV or when I have seen them in the flesh at zoos.

When we arrive at the park, we have to complete a disclaimer in case of injury and then wait for the zookeeper to come greet us and take us to the Meerkat enclosure. We find the zookeeper (called Ben) very knowledgeable as he shares how Meerkats would usually be in the wild. There are two separate Meerkat enclosures, the main one with the family of Meerkats (known as a gang or Mob) is the biggest enclosure and is currently out of sight from visitors as it is being refurbished. The smaller enclosure consists of two Meerkats that have not been accepted by the gang of Meerkats and therefore have to live together in a separate enclosure. They were both rescue Meerkats. Ben tells us that it isn't illegal to buy a Meerkat as a pet and so people do so because they are cute and then get overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to care and look after them. As these Meerkats are rescue ones, they are quite tame to humans and so the adventure park is able to offer this experience to get close to them.

We were told previous to our visit to wear long clothing, due to their sharp claws. Ben lets the Meerkats in with us and they are so adorable and cute, making their little noises. We are given food to feed them directly, allowing them to eat from our hands. They love climbing all of us, including standing on top of our heads. They are so incredibly friendly and playful. It is definitely worth the experience for any animal lover. Ben takes plenty of photos of the Meerkats as the climb all over us. In total, we get around 25 minutes with the Meerkats and it is an amazing experience to get so close to them.

The experience allows us to keep our entry tickets for the park, so we explore and look around at the birds of prey and there is a really cool dinosaur area with real life and size looking dinosaurs. We both agree that we should visit with at least two of our kids, as we are pretty sure they'd like it. Before we leave the park, we have a coffee and cake at the restaurant to refuel us for the long drive back to my mum's.

As we get close to my mum's house, we decide to stop off at a nearby shopping centre and have an early dinner (technically combining our lunch and dinner together). We eat at Chiquitos, a westernized Mexican restaurant chain, where I officially asked Fiona out 5 years ago to the day after many weeks of dating. We are grateful that this Chiqutios is still open, as the whole chain almost collapsed as a result of Covid and luckily this restaurant is only 1 of 4 to have survived.

Our anniversary getaway my have been short and not quite what we originally wanted for our special 5-year milestone, but it has been enjoyable and good to spend some quality time together, something we don't get much of these days.


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21st January 2023

Happy Anniversary
I can't believe it has been 5 years already. Looks like you found a great way to celebrate.
23rd January 2023

Celebrate
Thanks for the anniversary wishes, we had a lovely time!
21st January 2023
Cocktails in Chiquitos

Party On!
Excellent.
22nd January 2023

Meerkats!
Compare the Meerkats! Yay! These guys must have been so cute. What a lovely trip, and a Happy Anniversary to you both! I imagine it was indeed nice to be able to get some time away and recharge.
23rd January 2023

Compare the Meerkats
Thanks Alex, it really was a lovely trip. If you are into your Meerkats, then this experience is a must

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