London is home to some of the most famous and best zoos in the world. With a wide variety of exotic animals, immersive habitats, and educational experiences, visiting the zoos of London makes for an unforgettable day out.
Here is our list of the top 10 zoos in London that you and your family must visit:
Best Zoos in London
The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, having opened in 1828. Home to over 720 species of animals, this zoo in Regent’s Park provides an interactive experience for visitors.
- Large collection of endangered species: It has several endangered species like gorillas, Sumatran tigers, penguins, Komodo dragons, etc.
- Immersive exhibits: The zoo features immersive habitats like the Blackburn Pavilion with its colony of 65 dwarf mongooses and the Land of the Lions, which showcases Asiatic lions.
- Educational shows: There are several educational presentations, like the reptile show and the bird show, highlighting animal behavior and biology.
- Children’s Zoo: The zoo has a petting zoo and an interactive zoo for kids to feed and touch animals.
Location: Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY
Opening Hours: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily (opens at 9:30 a.m. on weekends)
Ticket Prices: £38.75 for adults and £27 for children
Nearby Attractions: Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park, Little Venice
The Whipsnade Zoo, the largest zoo in the UK, occupies over 600 acres of parkland and is home to 3,500 animals from all continents.
- Large open enclosures – Animals like giraffes, rhinos, deer, bison, etc. roam freely in the vast open spaces.
- Rare species – It houses several endangered species like Amur tigers and leopards, Asian elephants, and giant anteaters.
- Butterfly house – The zoo features England’s largest butterfly house with over 26 species of tropical butterflies.
- Kids play areas – There are five outdoor play zones and an indoor soft play center for kids.
Location: Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2LF
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Ticket Prices: £34.50 for adults, £21.90 for children 3-15 years
Nearby Attractions: Dunstable Downs, Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, Ivinghoe Beacon
3. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Occupying a 7.5-acre site in Battersea Park, this small zoo is tailored for young children and features interactive exhibits of farm animals, birds, and small mammals.
- Hands-on experience – Kids can pet, groom, and feed the friendly domestic animals in the farm area.
- Learning zone – Children can learn about bugs, butterflies, chickens, and caring for animals in the educational space.
- Eco-garden – The zoo has an eco-garden for children to identify plants and insects.
- Play area – There is an outdoor adventure play area with swings, slides, and climbing frames.
Location: Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ
Opening Hours: 10am-5:30pm daily
Ticket Prices: £13 for adults, £11 for children 2-15 years
Nearby Attractions: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, Pump House Gallery, Peace Pagoda
4. Chessington World of Adventure Zoo
Combining a theme park and zoo, Chessington provides a fun day out with rollercoasters, rides, and a wide variety of animals.
- Theme park rides – Zootastic rollercoaster, pet’s Playland, jungle cruise, and a 5D cinema experience.
- Walkthrough exhibits – SEA LIFE centre, Creatures of the Rainforest, Butterfly Walkthrough
- Shows and talks – Lions of the Serengeti show, penguin, otter, and seal talks.
- Children’s zoo – Kids can interact with animals like llamas, donkeys, sheep,, and pigs.
Location: Leatherhead Road, Chessington, KT9 2NE
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm weekdays, 10am-6pm weekends
Ticket Prices: £39-£56 for adults, children’s tickets from £29
Nearby Attractions: Thorpe Park, Hampton Court Palace, Sandown Park Racecourse
Spread over 250 acres, Woburn Safari Park provides a drive-through wildlife experience with endangered mammals and exotic birds.
- Drive-through enclosures – Visitors can drive through exhibits viewing lions, rhinos, bears, tigers and more up-close.
- Foot safaris – Walkthrough areas feature giraffes, penguins, lemurs and endangered white rhinos.
- Amusement rides – There are kid-friendly rides like jungle express train, flying cheetah, sky maze, and jungle towers.
- Talks and feeds – Daily animal talks and feeding sessions with keepers.
Location: Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9QN
Opening Hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily
Ticket Prices: £25 for adults, £20 for children under 13
Nearby Attractions: Woburn Abbey, Center Parcs Woburn Forest, Black Cat Farm
One of the top zoos in the country, Colchester Zoo is home to over 260 species set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland.
- Rare species – They have successful breeding programs for endangered species like Amur leopards, Brazilian tapirs, and eastern black rhinos.
- Natural habitats – Immersive exhibits recreate animals’ natural habitats with plants and features from their native lands.
- Talks and feeding – Daily keeper talks explain animal behaviors and biology. Visitors can watch feeding sessions.
- Adventure playgrounds – There are indoor and outdoor play zones with equipment for all age groups.
Location: Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester CO3 0SL
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm daily
Ticket Prices: £32 for adults, £22.99 for children 3-15 years
Nearby Attractions: Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum, Escape Live
8. Wildwood Escot
Set across 225 acres of beautiful Devonshire countryside, Wildwood Escot features British wildlife in natural woodland habitats.
- Native species – The zoo focuses solely on British species like red squirrels, otters, wildcats, owls, bats, badgers and more.
- Woodland habitats – The animals live in extensive naturalistic woodland, wetland, and meadow enclosures.
- Nature trails – There are 2.5 miles of walking trails winding through the zoo habitats and nearby countryside.
- Talks and feeding – Daily otter and bird of prey talks and feeding demonstrations.
Location: Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1LU
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Ticket Prices: £15 for adults, £13 for concessions
Nearby Attractions: Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Otterton Mill, Pitt Farm Shop & Café
9. Howletts Wild Animal Park
Home to the world’s largest herd of African elephants, Howletts features rare and endangered animals from around the world.
- African elephants – It has a pioneering breeding program and herd of over 19 African elephants.
- Predators – Lions, tigers, cheetahs, and leopards prowl large paddock habitats.
- Ape experiences – Gorilla experiences provide close encounters with the majestic primates.
- Conservation breeding – Endangered animals like black rhinos and Przewalski’s horses.
Location: Bekesbourne, Canterbury, Kent CT4 5EL
Opening Hours: 9.30am-5pm daily
Ticket Prices: £24 for adults, £20 for children 3-15 years
Nearby Attractions: Canterbury, Dover Castle, Rare Breeds Centre
Which is the biggest zoo in London?
The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire is the biggest zoo in London and the UK. It covers over 600 acres of parkland and is home to around 3,500 animals.
Which London zoo is best for small children?
The best London zoos for young kids are:
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo – Tailored for toddlers and young children with hands-on interactions.
Chessington World of Adventures – Great mix of zoo and amusement rides and play zones.
London Zoo – Has a petting zoo and children’s zoo area.
What is the most popular zoo in London?
The most popular and famous zoo in London is ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park. As the world’s oldest scientific zoo, it houses over 650 species and sees over 1 million visitors a year.
Which London zoo has giant pandas?
Giant pandas can be seen only at the ZSL London Zoo. It has a pair of giant pandas – male Bao Bao and female Ming Ming – which arrived in 2021 on loan from China.
What is the closest zoo to London?
The closest zoo to central London is Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in Battersea, under 4 miles from Westminster. Other zoos near London are Chessington Zoo (12 miles), London Zoo (4 miles), and Howletts Wild Animal Park (57 miles).
How much does it cost to visit London Zoo?
Ticket prices at London Zoo are £26 for adults and £20 for children aged 3-15 years. Other zoos like Whipsnade and Chessington charge £24-30 for adults. Discounted family tickets are available.
London’s zoos provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about amazing wildlife from around the world right here in the city. From majestic gorillas and stampeding rhinos to playful penguins and exotic butterflies, each zoo offers unique experiences and insights into the animal kingdom. Whichever London zoo you visit, you are sure to make memories to last a lifetime. Don’t forget to plan your trip in advance and check for money-saving deals on tickets. Enjoy your day out at London’s best zoos!