As one of the world’s great centers of culture and elegance, London boasts a number of important museums, palaces, and theaters for the visitor to explore. However, when you’re traveling with kids, who might not find these sites quite so riveting, it’s important to be able to answer the question of “Can we go to the zoo?” with a definite “Yes,” or at least a “Fine.”
The UK has plenty of zoos and safari parks offers, and the London Zoo is less 30 km from Heathrow airport and right next to the Baker Street & Marylebone Tube station. Boasting over 750 animal species in such exhibits as a living rainforest, a full aquarium, and, perhaps most importantly, a petting zoo, the London Zoo has more than enough to delight a whole flock of youngsters—and the young at heart—for hours. The London Zoo offers a number of seasonal and promotional discounts on admission, one more great reason to visit.
The London Zoo is the most popular zoological park in the UK, which can, unfortunately, mean big crowds. Should you wish to escape the big city, there are several other excellent options within an hour’s drive. The Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire houses over 400 animals in a more naturalistic setting and specializes in animal interaction, such as “Feed the Big Cats,” “Tickle a Tapir,” and “Shadow a Zookeeper,” the sort of experiences that will linger in your kids’ memories for a long time. Like the London Zoo, the Paradise Wildlife Park also offers group and online discounts.
For an even more immersive experience, still within an hour’s drive, try the Whipsnade Zoo, sister park to the London Zoo, or the Chessington Zoo, which combines its animal encounters with theme park rides. Both parks offer safari-style excursions through extensive free-roaming animal habitats that feature not only the standard African savannah residents but also less commonly exhibited species, like moose, yaks, and asian rhinos.
Truly, there is no lack of memorable experiences with animals in the UK, whether your travels keep you in the vicinity of London or take you as far as Chester/North Wales (check out these Chester Zoo vouchers), Glasgow, or Belfast. So, time allowing, take a break from exploring old London and make some new memories. Your kids will appreciate it. You just might enjoy it too.