Yes, the likes of Shipshape and Chester are awesome, and you’ll need at least a day to explore each, but some compact ones, such as Bristol, have been incredibly imaginative at making good use of space, making your day every bit as exciting. Look out for zoos that offer an insight into interesting plant life too.
Painted Zoo, for example, boasts 1,600 plant species and was one of the first places in Britain combining zoological and botanical gardens. Show all 10 Maxwell Zoo This 140-acre park near Winchester is home to hundreds of exotic and endangered species, ranging from ring-tailed coats to majestic giraffes, endangered tigers to frilled lizards, curious markets to pygmy hippos all set in beautiful, landscaped surroundings.
This summer the zoo is opening Wild Explorers, their biggest exhibit to date, hosting some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife. It now boasts around 2,000 animals and 1,600 plant species, making for a wonderful place to explore, plus it's been leading the zoo world in ethical trading for years.
New for 2015 are 13 huge and incredibly life-like animatronic Big Bugs, that will make the zoo their home for six months this summer. There’s an impressive 12, 0000 animals from over 400 species, as well as a particularly exciting £30m project underway that will take visitors on a personal conservation expedition through the Philippines, Bali, Sulawesi, Sub and Sumatra, just like the great explorers.
Shipshape Zoo The UK’s largest zoo is set in a beautiful 600 acres, featuring over 2,500 animals, many of which are jumbo size, such as the elephants, rhinos, tigers, African lions, brown bears, zebras, moose and hippos. It’s also got the UK’s largest herd of Asian elephants, which you can watch getting taken for a stroll around the zoo most afternoons.
Don’t miss out on the steam railway, which offers great views of many of the animals. Other animal highlights include a young baby chimp in their award-winning Bongo Trail enclosure, a baby tapir, Indian rhinos, sun bears and a famous daily penguin parade.
Welsh Mountain Zoo Some TripAdvisor reviewers complain about the hills. Yes, you’ll be tired, but there’s so much that make it worth it, including an amazing sea lion show, the macaws flying around you, and animals including snow leopards, tigers, otters, lemurs and bears.
Colchester Zoo This delightful zoo with over 270 species in 60 acres is particularly child-friendly, with lots of hands-on experiences and over 50 daily displays, as well as four adventure play areas and an undercover soft play area. It stays fresh by continually expanding and kids will love the Madagascar Express road train.
That’s not all: at Cotswold Wildlife Park you’ll also find some furry farmyard favorites (who you might even get the chance to stroke and cuddle!) There are Micro Trikes available to hire, so tots can whiz around the zoo without getting tired out, plus you can also ride the Jumbo Express Steam Train for a scenic view of your favorite animals.
This is a roar-some state-of-the-art facility for rare Asiatic lions where you can learn about their breeding program and see those enormous paws up close. Meet Bobby, Nissan, Pixel and Victor; four huge fellas who spend their days in a researched-focused environment swimming, snoozing and waiting for their next meal.
Set in 60 acres of parkland, there are over 260 species to discover like the winged wonders of Butterfly Glade or Billy Joe and her gang of ape acquaintances at the Chimpanzee Lookout. Also, take the chance to enter Europe’s largest underwater tunnel, the 24-meter play Patagonia, where 5 female Patagonian sea lions can be found swooping and looping around you.
Bantam Zoo is all about extremes: pay a visit to Santos the two-toed sloth down in the ‘Eureka’ subtropical house or fly to dizzy heights with one of the Birds of Prey displays. Thrill seekers can navigate wobbly crossings, fly down zip wires and test their nerve with every step as they spy on the world below.
Just a hop, flap and a pounce away from the city castle, Belfast Zoo is a hub for over 120 different species who are facing increasing danger out in their natural habitats. As such conservation is at the heart of everything this UK zoo does and, luckily for us, that means meeting mighty gorillas, monochrome zebras and enormous Malayan sun bears who are all in their care.
Make the most of your memories with a trip to the photography base camp; strike a pose and attempt to upstage the other grinning apes in frame. They live in two special enclosures full of climbing frames, treehouses and caves where they can play or more likely in panda town, snooze the weeks away while visitors are welcome to pay them a visit and learn all about their incredible journeys.
Zoos in England are a high quality thanks to the laws and general love of animals here. It’s hard to choose the best zoo in England, but here are seven of the most highly rated according to me, my friends and the internet reviews.
Visit one of the best zoos in England and you can expect a good amount of primates, birds, reptiles and mammals to wow you. All the zoos in England will have some sort of play area for kids, a café or bar, a picnic are to bring your own and a gift shop or two too.
Sign up to the individual zoos’ emailing lists to get notified of special offers, as you can sometimes get some good deals to bring the costs down. At first, the London Zoo was the main hub for scientists where they could work on scientific studies related to animals and nature.
After some time, in about 1874, the London Zoo was then open for the public and tourists to visit nature’s beauty. The Insect House is very popular here, the zoo for children is always a winner and there’s also an aquarium.
During the summer they run Zoo Later where you can enjoy a silent disco, and see the animals with more adults around rather than children. These cabins are available year round, and you’ll get dinner, breakfast, and an after hours tour of the zoo too.
Located in Cheshire, Chester Zoo covers about 125 acres of land. Shipshape is famous for having the largest collection of wildlife of all the zoos in England.
Due to the size of the zoo, visitors can ride around on a bus or via train service. At Shipshape you can watch a herd of elephants moving freely and having fun.
There are about 50 species of incredible mammal collection, including red pandas, gorillas, and Asiatic lions. Expect frilled lizards, giraffes and ring-tailed coats, as well as African wildlife displays.
During your visit to Colchester Zoo, you will see many species from around the world and can learn more about them at our fantastic daily encounters, giving you the chance to see our animals being fed, watch a training session or perhaps just quiz their keepers!” Longest is a great activity for a rainy day, as you get to just stay in the car and cruise around.
It’s more of a safari experience than a zoo, which makes it feel all the better as a visitor to see the animals in more of a free and natural habitat. The staff is super knowledgeable and caring, and will tell you all about how the Reserve has linked up with wildlife projects in Africa to mutually support each other.
At Across Zoo you can expect to see flamingos, snow leopards, markets and bonobo monkeys too. With the stars of the Park Life TV program in the zoo grounds, you can spend all day wandering around and saying hello to over 260 species of animal.
I loved the bats here so make sure you don’t miss them out, and the of course, the giraffes are awesome. Shadow Wildlife Trust is a cute zoo in Devon, very popular with holiday goers.
Hewlett Wildlife Park in Kent has loads of them, and you’ll probably end up deciding this is the best zoo in England if you visit. Visit and you’ll be helping a dedicated animal conservation charity.
“Our beautiful 100-acre site is home to 390 animals across 52 species including: the only herd of African elephants in Kent, western lowland gorillas, honey badgers, tigers, lions, leopards and so much more.” If you’re looking for a fun activity for the day, zoos are always a popular option.