Visitor FAQs - Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare
Raystede welcomes visitors to gain a unique glimpse into the work of an animal welfare charity.
Entry is free. To help control numbers onsite, visitors must please book a ticket – this is for the welfare of our animals and the safety and enjoyment of our visitors.
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Visitor FAQs

All your questions answered before you book your visit

Visitor FAQs

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From Monday 19 July 2021

COVID restrictions are relaxing from Monday 19 July, but as infection rates are rising in our local areas, we are continuing to take quite a cautious approach to protect Raystede and the animals, our visitors, staff and volunteers.

Visitor entry and check-in. Booking was introduced during the pandemic and will remain in place as we have found that this is beneficial to the welfare of the animals in our care, and makes for a better visitor experience when there are limited numbers of people at Raystede. All visitors must book a ticket for a specific time slot, but you can stay as long as you like.

Visitor Information and shops: The screens will stay in place. Staff and volunteers will continue to wear face masks. We suggest that visitors also wear face masks.

Café: We will keep the current table spacing, table service and takeaway, floor marking, face masks and screens.

Toilets: The visitor portaloos will be removed on 26 July and all public toilets will reopen.

Rehoming and surrender of animals: We will continue with pre-booked appointments. Face to face appointments are possible for the more advanced stages of rehoming and surrender - these will be socially distanced and conducted with screens and face coverings when indoors.

Dogs: Dogs on leads are most welcome to visit our shops, cafe and enjoy a walk around our site. There are some areas which are closed to dogs because we have nervous animals in our care - these are the Sanctuary area where our hens, ducks and cockerels live and also the Rabbitry.

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How do I book my visit?

Entry is free but all visitors are asked to book a ticket – this is essential to ensure the site is as safe as possible for visitors, the animals in our care, staff and volunteers.

It’s really easy to do online – just visit www.raystede.org and follow the instructions. You’ll need to book a time slot to arrive but you can stay as long as you like. You’ll get a confirmation of your booking which you’ll need to bring with you.

If you don’t have internet access or would prefer to book on the telephone, please contact our Customer Services Team on 01825 840252 – they will be happy to help.

What if I need to cancel or amend my booking?

This is really easy to do – if you booked online, there is an option to go back into your booking and cancel or amend it. Alternatively, please contact our Customer Services Team on 01825 840252 – they will be happy to help.

Can I just turn up on the day?

Regretfully no, you cannot just turn up on the day. In order to ensure our site is as safe as possible for visitors, the animals in our care, staff and volunteers, we are asking all visitors to book a date and time slot. Entry is free and you are welcome to stay as long as you like.

Opening times

Raystede is open seven days a week, apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Opening hours are 10am until 4pm.

All visitors will need to check in via the NHS app or leave their name and a contact number for test and trace purposes – these will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed, as per the legal requirement.

Visitors are asked to leave by 4pm when the gates will be locked.

Directions

Raystede is located on the B2192 between Ringmer and Halland, opposite the East Sussex Gliding Club. Please see the contact details on our website for a map.

What can I expect to see?

Visiting Raystede is an opportunity to get a rare glimpse into our work with animals.

We have dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, goats, rabbits, exotic birds, geese, ducks, etc.

You will get to see some, indeed many, of our animals but you may not see them all.

Some animals are here for rescue and rehoming so may be nervous – a lot of our work with dogs goes on behind the scenes – and animals like our rabbits are very nervous.

We ask visitors to be quiet and calm for these - and all our animals - to help them feel safe and restore their trust in humans. And then you’ll see how they behave naturally and learn more about them.

We ask visitors not to feed any of our animals – they have a natural healthy diet so have everything they need, while some of our more exotic creatures are on special diets.

Is the site fully accessible?

Yes, the site is very accessible and level, and much of it is wheelchair-friendly. There are some paths around the lakes which are a little uneven.

There is an accessible toilet and baby changing facilities.

Our café and shops are accessible.

There is a dog-friendly trail around the site – please note there are some areas which are not accessible for dogs because of the nervous or shy animals in our care.

What measures are there to ensure Raystede is Covid-safe?

We have the necessary measures in place – sanitiser, cleaning, social distancing, etc, to make sure everything is safe for visitors to enjoy our beautiful sanctuary and to find out about the animals we care for.

All visitors will need to check in via the NHS app or leave their name and a contact number for test and trace purposes – these will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed, as per the legal requirement.

Can I bring my dog?

Raystede is dog-friendly and dogs on leads are very welcome. There is a trail around the site where you can walk your dog. Please be aware that there are some areas in the sanctuary where dogs are unable to go because of the nervous and shy animals in our care but these are clearly marked.

I am interested in adopting an animal, do I still have to book?

We very much welcome enquiries to adopt some of the animals in our care. In the first instance, please visit our website and complete the application form online. Our Rehoming Team will then get in touch to process your application

I want to drop off a donation, do I still have to book?

We are currently unable to take any more donated goods for the shop at the moment as we are fully stocked, thanks to the amazing outpouring of support we had when we held our Charity Shop Drop in April. But do please save your donations for us and we should be able to start accepting them again later in the summer. When we do, we would ask you to please book a ticket to come on to the site.

If you would like to make a donation in support of our work, we are delighted to accept cash, cheques, debit or credit cards. Prior to visiting, please call the Fundraising Team on 01825 840747 to arrange for someone to pop down and meet you.

I’m coming to visit, can I bring a donation with me?

We are currently unable to take any more donated goods at the moment as we are fully stocked, thanks to the amazing outpouring of support we had when we held our Charity Shop Drop in April. But do please save your donations for us and we should be able to start accepting them again later in the summer.

If you would like to make a donation in support of our work, we are delighted to accept cash, cheques, debit or credit cards. Please pop into our Visitor Information Centre where the team will be very grateful to receive your donation. Alternatively, please call the Fundraising Team on 01825 840747 to arrange for someone to pop down and meet you.

I have a meeting, do I still need to book?

If you have a meeting booked with our Rehoming Team or our Fundraising Team or are coming for a job interview, you will not have to book a ticket. Please present yourself at the check-in point and the staff will contact the person you have come to see.

You will need to check in via the NHS app or leave your name and a contact number for test and trace purposes – these will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed, as per the legal requirement.

Can I get something to eat?

Café Raystede is open every day from 10am to 4pm, serving delicious hot and cold food, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, coffee, afternoon tea and lots of yummy cakes.

We are providing table service in the main café – on arrival, please wait to be seated. We ask all customers to wear a facemask when moving around the café but of course masks can be removed once seated.

We also have a brand new takeaway service – please queue at the hatch and place your order. You can then use the outdoor seating at the café or the outdoor seating area behind the charity shop .

We are accepting cash but would prefer contactless payment if possible.

All the profits go back into providing animal care.

Is there a shop?

We have an onsite pet supplies shop and a charity shop selling women’s, men’s and children’s clothes, accessories, books, CDs, DVDs, toys, games, bric-a-brac and some Raystede souvenirs – please do come and bag a bargain for you and your pets.

Both shops are open every day from 10am to 4pm.

All profits go directly towards providing care for the animals at Raystede.

Parking

There is ample free parking.

We have disabled spaces and bike racks.

Toilets

We have an accessible toilet and babychanging facilities.

As part of our Covid-safe measures, we have 4 temporary toilets. All toilets have sanitiser and are fully cleaned frequently throughout the day.

Is the playground open?

The playground is open and there is an outdoor seating area there too.

We ask visitors to please refrain from bringing picnics. Please support Raystede by using our café.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted anywhere on site at Raytsede.

How can I support Raystede?

Raystede is a charity. It costs over £2 million each year to look after all the animals in our care. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the support of our local community.

There are lots of ways you can help support Raystede:

Donate

It costs £5,495 to cover Raystede’s animal care costs for one day.

£15 helps us care for a dog for a week.

£20 helps with veterinary care for a cat.

£48 buys two weeks of food, toys and medication for a dog.

Whether you can give a regular monthly or a single donation, it really will help.

Rehoming – with the expected influx of animals needing a home as lockdown eases, we will need more rehomers.

Sponsor an animal – giving a regular gift to sponsor one of the animals in our care enables us to plan and budget for the future.

Fundraise – we have lots of exciting events and activities you can get involved in from kayaking and abseiling to running and skydiving. Alternatively, you can hold your own fundraising activity – we have got lots of hints and tips and will support you along the way.

Volunteer – we particularly need visitor volunteers and there are also some exciting new roles available in our Fundraising Team, including fundraising events volunteer (onsite and offsite), community champion volunteer, collecting tin volunteer.

Shop - we have an onsite pet supplies shop and a charity shop so lots of bargains to bag, and you can get delicious food in our café; all the profits go directly towards providing animal care. Please book a ticket even if just visiting the shop or café.

Further questions

If you have further questions, do please get in touch with our Customer Services Team on 01825 840252 – they will be happy to help you.

Your kind donation helps us to rescue and care for more animals in need.

We rely on your support to save animal's lives & do the work we do.

Monthly Donation One-off Donation