If you’re looking for things to do in London with the whole family, then a trip to the zoo is a must – and there are plenty of them to choose from. But which one should you go to? And how do you know they will be up to scratch? Fear not: we have put together a guide to some ofthe best zoos in London. Whether you’re looking for a day out with the kids or an excuse to get up close and personal with some exotic creatures, these zoos have something for everyone! So, get your coats and hats ready and prepare for an amazing day out!
1. ZSL London Zoo
As the world’s oldest scientific zoo, London Zoo is unsurprisingly one of the best zoos in London. Located in Regent’s Park, it first opened its doors in 1828 and today houses over 20,000 animals from across the globe. This zoo is a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning about wildlife and seeing some of the world’s rarest creatures.
Highlights include the ‘Penguin Beach’ exhibit, where you can waddle among the penguins, and the ‘Rainforest Life’ exhibit, where you can see sloths, snakes, and butterflies closely. The zoo is also more than just a place to see animals, they also offer a range of educational talks and experiences that can be both truly exciting and informative. From learning about the care and husbandry of the animals to hearing intimate stories about their lives, there is so much to discover at this zoo, making it a great choice for families with curious kids.
You’ll find ZSL London Zoo at Outer Circle, London, NW1 4RY. Nearest stations are St. John’s Wood and Mornington Crescent.
2. Hobbledown Heath
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and transport yourself to another world at Hobbledown Heath, which is home to some of the most unique breeds of cows of Scotland – the famous Highland, which are known for their shaggy coat and long horns. The cows have also been joined by various different birds of prey, capybaras, macaw parrots, giant tortoises and three ringtail lemurs called Lionel, Margaret, and Makira — named by their avid Instagram followers in a social media competition.
Hobbledown offers an incredible experience with their memberships, with perks like 15% off parties and discounts on special events. As a member, you’ll get unlimited access to the playing fields plus everything that comes along with that — think climbing walls and digging holes — so it’s truly one membership deserving of its price tag.
You’ll find Hobbledown Heath at Staines Road, Hounslow, TW14 0HH. Nearest station is Hounslow West.
3. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is a fun and exciting zoo in London for kids of all ages. With a wide variety of animals to see, it’s a great place to spend a day exploring. The zoo also has a lot to offer families. There’s a playground for the kids to burn off some energy, picnic areas for relaxing, and even a cafe so you can relax and refuel.
Home to over 150 animals, there are meerkats, goats, llamas, and reptiles all here. You’ll be able to meet some of your favourites up close, and even feed them, so if you’re looking for something fun to do then this is definitely up there!
You’ll find Battersea Park Children’s Zoo at Chelsea Bridge Gate, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station is Battersea Park.
4. Maryon Wilson Animal Park
Go to Maryon Wilson Animal Park and expect to see a wide range of animals, including deer, goats, pigs, cattle, ducks, and chickens. Guided tours are available here too, so you can expect to learn interesting facts about the animals and all about their history on any visit here.
One of the highlights of the park is the wallaby walk-through, where you can feed and pet the friendly wallabies. With over 100 animals to see, you can explore the park at your own pace and take plenty of photographs as you wander around too.
You’ll find Maryon Wilson Animal Park at Flamsteed Road, Charlton, SE7 8HT. Nearest station is Charlton.
5. Paradise Wildlife Park
Another one of the best zoos near London, the Paraidse Wildlife Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, and is located deep within Hertfordshire’s beautiful countryside. With a focus on education and conservation, this famous wildlife park allows visitors the chance to interact with some of the world’s most exotic and fascinating animals. You can observe lions, tigers, meerkats, or lemurs from a safe distance in a selection of large enclosures.
They’re all about making life easier here, which is why they operate on a cash-free basis in their catering and retail areas, and the tickets for non-members are available exclusively online.
You’ll find Paradise Wildlife Park at White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, EN10 7QA. Nearest station is Broxbourne, though we’d recommend driving here.
6. Howletts Wildlife Park
With over 500 animals, including some of the rarest and most endangered species in the world, you’re sure to find your favourite at Howlett’s Wildlife Park in Kent. From tigers to rhinos to elephants, they really have it all here.
Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a chance to learn about wildlife conservation, Howletts is sure to leave a lasting impression. With towering trees and winding pathways, it is a place where you’ll be amazed by the array of animals and the beauty of the grounds. Don’t forget your camera and get ready to polish up your photography skills. They’re also supported by the Aspinall Foundation, whose mission is to halt the extinction of rare and endangered species and return them to the wild.
You’ll find Howletts Wildlife Park at Howletts Wildlife Park, Bekesbourne Lane, Bekesbourne, Littlebourne, Canterbury, CT4 5EL. Nearest station is Bekesbourne, though we’d recommend driving here.
7. Marwell Zoo
Visitors to Marwell Zoo can explore over 140 acres of meadows, rivers and themed habitats, which are home to more than 1,200 animals. It’s a great spot for a fun day out, with something for everyone, from exotic wildlife to child-friendly features. With different species of animals, you’re sure to see something you’ve never seen before! Plus, there are plenty of food options and a shop on-site too.
The staff at this zoo, which is one of the best zoos near London, are all lovely. Many of them are happy to give you all the info about all the animals residing here, and it’s clear that they all care deeply about the animals’ well-being.
You’ll find Marwell Zoo at Marwell Wildlife, Thompsons Lane, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1JH. There are no stations nearby here, so we’d recommend driving.
Though it’s not technically a zoo per se, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium is well worth a visit when you’re in town. With a huge collection of incredible marine life, you can come within inches from sand tiger sharks and witness piranhas feeding too. And if that isn’t enough excitement — you’ll also find cute penguins cuddling with each other too.
The aquarium offers engaging talks on fascinating topics like what happens during mating selection rituals or how different types of wildlife lived through mass extinctions throughout history. With three different floors and 14 different zones, there’s plenty of things to see, and kids will be able to learn about natural history and deep conservation issues too. You can grab your tickets here.
You’ll find SEA LIFE London Aquarium at County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station is Waterloo.
9. Hanwell Zoo
The diversity of wildlife at Hanwell Zoo (previously known as the Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre) makes it a pretty wonderful place to explore. Visitors can see an extensive selection of birds and mammals as well as other residents like Hatari the porcupine, Margay the armadillo, meerkats, marmosets, and bright pink flamingos too.
Hanwell Zoo is home to a number of animals that are declining in numbers. They take care of endangered species like the Bali starling, red-crowned crane, and phantasmal poison arrow frog, so it’s a real conversation success story too.
You’ll find Hanwell Zoo at Church Road, Hanwell, W7 3BP. Nearest station is Hanwell.
Whether you’re travelling with children or just want to see some incredible animals up close, then these nine best zoos in London are definitely worth a visit. Why not start planning your trip today?!