Café Raystede will be closed from Monday 10 June for 4 weeks for kitchen refurbishment.

A limited menu of hot drinks and snacks will be available from the takeaway kiosk. We apologise for the inconvenience. All other areas of Raystede are open as usual.

Visitor FAQs

All your questions answered before you book your visit

Do I need to book our visit?

Booking was introduced during the pandemic and will remain in place as we have found that limiting the number of visitors is beneficial to the welfare of the animals in our care and our visitors have a better experience.

Entry is free and as visitor numbers are strictly limited it is essential to book a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment. You can arrive at any time between 10am and 3.30pm and stay for as long as you like until we close at 4pm.

We are delighted that Raystede’s sanctuary and lakes area will be open for Easter. This includes the paths past our hen and duck enclosures and Rainbow Bridge, and the dog walk. This area has been closed for a while due to avian flu restrictions and then the construction of Project Terrapin, our terrapin sanctuary, which is nearing completion.

The Aviaries walkway closes at 2pm every day. This is to ensure the best welfare for our birds.

There is a free daily guided tour at 11.30am – meet your tour guide outside Visitor Information for a gentle stroll around Raystede and an insight into our work rescuing, rehoming and caring for the animals.

All visitors will need to check-in either at the cabin at the entrance or at Visitor Information..

How do I book my visit?

Entry is free but all visitors are asked to book a ticket.

You can book your free tickets here, or call our Visitor Information Team on 01825 840252. You’ll get a confirmation of your booking which you’ll need to bring with you - please after booking check you have received this and read attached information. We regret that general visitors are unable to visit without a ticket.

You can arrive at any time between 10am and 3.30pm and stay for as long as you like until we close at 4pm.

What if I need to cancel or amend my booking?

This is 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 Visitor Information 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, and to avoid disappointment, we ask all visitors to book a specific date. If there is space, you can book on the day. Entry is free and you are welcome to stay as long as you like.

Do I need to print my ticket?

No need to print your tickets, just give your details to our friendly Welcome Team who will check you in on arrival.

What are your opening hours?

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

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

The Aviaries walkway closes at 2pm every day. This is to ensure the best welfare for our birds. We provide our birds with plenty of enrichment and spacious aviaries so they can behave as naturally as possible. Some of our birds love seeing visitors but others find it stressful and display negative behaviours. The welfare of our animals is our top priority so the Aviaries area normally closes at 2pm to ensure that all our birds have time each day to relax and unwind. Please walk quietly and calmly through the Aviaries. Thank you.

We are delighted that Raystede’s sanctuary and lakes area will be open for Easter 2024. This includes the paths past our hen and duck enclosures and Rainbow Bridge, and the dog walk. This area has been closed for a while due to avian flu restrictions and then the construction of Project Terrapin, our terrapin sanctuary, which is nearing completion. Find out more about Project Terrapin here.

What animals can I see at Raystede?

Visiting Raystede is an opportunity to share the tranquil setting many rescue animals call home.

We care for dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, goats, rabbits, exotic birds, geese, ducks, tortoises, terrapins and other animals.

On your visit you will see 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 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.

If you see rescue dogs being walked around the site, please give them the space they need.

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.

Please note that booking a visitor ticket does not enable you to meet an animal you are interested in adopting. If you are interested in adopting, please complete an online application form

Is the site fully accessible?

Yes, the site, toilets, baby changing facilities, café and shops are accessible and much is wheelchair-friendly. There are some paths around in the Sanctuary area which are a little uneven.

Can I bring my dog?

Raystede is dog-friendly and dogs on short leads are very welcome. There are dog-friendly trails around the site, although due to Preject Terrapin ground works some paths in the lakes area are are not currently accessible. Areas where dogs are not permitted are clearly marked.

What refreshments are available at Raystede?

Café Raystede is open from 10am to 3.45pm and the takeaway service is available until 4pm.

We ask visitors to please refrain from bringing picnics.

Café Raystede will be closed from Monday 10 June for 4 weeks for kitchen refurbishment.

A limited menu of hot drinks and snacks will be available from the takeaway kiosk. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Is there parking?

There is ample free parking. We have blue badge spaces and bike racks. Where possible, please car share.

How do I get to Raystede?

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

I want to rehome or surrender an animal

We very much welcome enquiries to adopt the animals in our care. If you are interested in rehoming or need to give up an animal, please apply online in the first instance. Our expert animal care teams will consider your application and contact you if we need a few more details, or to invite you to Raystede for the next stage of the process.

All appointments are pre-booked for the more advanced stages of rehoming and surrender

Please note that booking a visitor ticket to Raystede does not enable you to meet an animal you are interested in adopting.

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

If you wish to visit Raystede please remember you do need to book a ticket but if you are just dropping off donations, please let the Welcome Team know when you arrive, and they will direct you to the shop.

We are delighted to accept your donated goods for our charity shop every day between 10am and 3pm.

Please park in the main car park and bring your bags and boxes directly to the charity shop. All donations are welcome – please check all items are clean, sellable and in good condition. Click here for a list of what we do and don't accept.

We are pleased to accept donations of pet goods and unopened pet food any day of the week between 10am and 3pm.

If you would like to donate in support of our work, we are delighted to accept cash, cheque or via debit or credit card. Prior to visiting, please call the Fundraising Team on 01825 840747 if you would like to arrange for someone to pop down and meet you. You can also donate during your visit at the Visitor information area, or donate online, thank 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, attending a Training Course or workshop at our Meeting Place 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.

Is the playground open?

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

Are there toilets on site?

We have an accessible toilet and baby changing facilities next to our Visitor Information and Pet Goods shop, as well as additional toilets in our café.


Do we allow bikes, scooters and balls?

Bikes, scooters, balls, etc are not permitted for the welfare of the animals and people at Raystede.

We rely on your donations to help animals like Topsy.

When Topsy arrived with us, he was severely underweight and needed a lot of care. We couldn't help the amount of animals we do without your support. Please donate to help more animals get the care they deserve.

Donate