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have you visited the Hawking Centre at Doddington Place?

  • places to visit
June 19, 2019

Explore stunning private estates in the heart of Kent, while trying your hand at a variety of amazing falconry and bird of prey experiences at Doddington Place Gardens. Located only a 35 minute drive away from our beautiful Canterbury Reach Lodge Retreat, The Hawking Centre offers wonderful falconry experiences in a beautiful setting of parkland, formal gardens and woodland. Take in the peacefulness around you and enter a world where you’ll meet stunning owls, hawks, vultures, eagles and falcons, as well as getting to learn all about these majestic creatures.

There are a wide range of experiences and in-depth courses from half day, full day and five day options all being available.

about the Hawking Centre

First established in 1998, The Hawking Centre was founded and is owned by Leigh Holmes. Created out of a true passion for these fabulously fascinating creatures, Leigh was only 20 years old when he founded the centre and designed his dream job.

The Hawking Centre’s very first bookings came from Doddington Place Gardens and Farming World in 1998. Soon after the successful summer season, the centre was a full-time fixture at Farming World, and in 1999 Leigh’s partner Jo joined the centre too.

8 years later, Leigh, Jo and their two children moved to Leeds Castle, offering falconry experiences full time in the old halls of King Henry VIII.
Eventually the family business came full circle and moved home to Doddington Place Gardens. The centre now has 15 experienced and passionate members of staff, including Leigh and Jo’s daughter, Ellie Holmes.

As well as the team of humans growing, the family of birds have grown over the decades to include stunningly white gyr-falcons, some of the world’s largest eagles, beautiful owls and hawks, along with character-filled vultures!

what experiences can you book?

There is a large variety of experiences on offer at The Hawking Centre in Doddington, we’ve listed these below, but for up to date prices make sure to visit The Hawking Centre website.

  • Half Day Experience – spend the afternoon, or morning, learning to fly a fabulous team of eagles, vultures, owls and hawks
  • Full Day Experience – enjoy a whole day flying the team of vultures, owls, eagles and hawks
  • VIP Half Day Experience – take advantage of one to one flying experiences with the fantastic team of birds
  • VIP Full Day Experience – indulge in a whole day of learning about a flying with the team of beautiful birds available
  • The Big Four Experience – a truly wonderful half day experience flying the largest birds at the centre, while visiting all areas of the gardens
  • Talons & Targets – a fabulous full day experience, where the morning will be spent flying a spectacular team of birds of prey, you’ll then enjoy lunch. And the afternoon will test your target skills with games of archery
  • Falconer for a Day – take a sneak peek behind the scenes and have a backstage tour of the enclosures and the team of birds with a falconer
  • 5 Day Falconry Day – the perfect course for those thinking about keeping and flying their own birds of prey
  • 1 Hour Falconry Experience – a great taster session to kick start your obsession and love of birds of prey
  • Afternoon Tea & 1 Hour Falconry – enjoy a perfect introduction into falconry and indulge in delicious afternoon tea (available at Eastwell Manor location only)
  • Lunch & 1 Hour Falconry – enjoy a wonderful lunch and an hour introductory falconry session (available at Eastwell Manor location only)

enjoy Doddington Place gardens

Doddington Place Garden is a beautiful and imposing Victorian mansion, surrounded by 10 acres of magical wooded countryside, all in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Hawking Centre at Doddington perfectly uses the peaceful locations of the gardens as their falconry experience settings. Discover the expertly landscaped gardens, the beautiful woodland and large Edwardian garden, which includes extensive lawns, a stunning formal and sunken garden, as well as a picturesque rock garden with pools.

Doddington Place Gardens is recognised as being of historical importance by the English Heritage Society, you’ll love all the time spent exploring the gardens during your Hawking Centre experience.

Book your falconry experience at The Hawking Centre and enjoy a wonderful day with a passionate team and truly beautiful birds of prey.

Stay at Canterbury Reach Lodge Retreat, where our luxurious self-catering lodge accommodation will hold everything you need for a getaway, but a few little extras. Enjoy relaxing in the large, open plan living room, while indulging in breakfast on your private decking area. The spacious bedrooms offer a wonderful night’s sleep, with the stunning bathrooms having everything you need for a holiday away. Our beautiful lodges really do have everything you could want for a holiday in Kent.

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