Although you might not think of a large bustling city as being synonymous with animal attractions, London does actually have a pretty decent amount of ways in which you can interact and discover animals when visiting. Whether you are a huge animal lover or a parent trying to plan ways to keep their children occupied, there are lots of ways and places to experience animals in London. You could head to the ZSL London Zoo if you want a taste of the exotic or pop on your wellington boots and get up close to some traditional farmyard animals at one of London’s many city farms. Here are just some of the great animal attractions in London: -
ZSL London Zoo
Situated inside Regent’s Park, London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and is an animal lovers dream being home to more than 20,000 animals from more than 800 different species. It originally opened in 1828 and although there are some naysayers who would claim that a visit to the zoo is too expensive, or the zoo has had its heyday, it continues to delight and amaze over a million tourists each and every year. The zoo is split into 17 differently themed areas and has a regular programme of seasonal events. There are also a number of additional experiences visitors can pay for such as playing at being a zookeeper for the day or staying overnight in the zoo’s bug house. Although located in North London, making it a little out of the way if you are staying somewhere central, it is well worth travelling for a day’s adventure amongst the animals here.
The London Wetland Centre
A wonderful central option (so perfect if you are booked into the Grand Royale Hotel Hyde Park London) is the London Wetland Centre, a nature reserve which covers more than 100 acres and which makes you feel as though you are out in the countryside and not in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the UK. There are a variety of different landscapes and reserves found here from rolling green pastures to marshes and lagoons and lots of wildlife to experience as well. Visitors are invited to come along and learn about the different water birds which make their homes here and the work that the WWT are doing to conserve their natural environments in London and in the wider world. Other attractions to be found include a RainGarden, a wildflower meadow, a resident family of otters and plenty of family areas which offer children interactive experiences. There are lots of ways in which families and children are invited to get involved and discover more about the natural world around them.
Paradise Wildlife Park
If you didn’t mind travelling a little further afield then you can discover the Paradise Wildlife Park which is located an hour outside of Central London. This is a zoo and a leisure park and is home to more than 400 different animals. The real selling point for the Paradise Wildlife Park is that it is the only zoo in the UK which is home all five of the big cats: tigers, leopards, snow leopards, jaguars, and lions. There is also plenty going on throughout the day to keep everyone happy from live feeds and talks to five adventure playgrounds, an animal rescue centre, a paradise lagoon, and even an indoor soft play centre in case of bad weather. With it’s location, the ParadiseWildlifePark is probably one to add to the list if you are staying outside of Central London or are coming on a slightly longer break but it’s worth a visit if you can factor in the time.
Sea Life London Aquarium
Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the Sea Life London Aquarium can boast to be home to one of the largest collections of marine life in all of Europe. You can discover more than 500 different species as well as numerous other exhibitions and experiences. The Aquarium is split into different zones and there are lots of places where visitors can enjoy hands-on and interactive elements alongside areas such as the Shark Walk with its glass floor, Atlantic Depths, and Tidal Reach where you can get up close to jellyfish. Another popular area of the Aquarium is Penguin Point where visitors can travel to the frozen Antarctic and learn about a colony of Gentoo Penguins. It is also possible to book additional experiences here such as snorkelling with sharks or going behind the scenes to discover the important conservation work carried out by the marine biologists who are employed here. From one of the hotels near Hyde Park you should find it fairly straightforward to reach the Sea Life London Aquarium.
Spitalfields City Farm
London is crammed full of city farms which can be found all over the city but one of the finest example has to be Spitalfields City Farm. It covers a 1.3-acre plot and is home to many traditional farm animals including goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, donkeys, chickens, and a pony plus many more. The farm is run entirely by volunteers and is free to enter although they do ask for voluntary donations to keep the farm in operation. The farm has a regularly changing programme of family friendly events too such as sheep shearing, nature trails and plenty of opportunities for visitors to get a hands-on experience of life on a working farm.
The Natural History Museum
If you have a curiosity about the natural world and all things animal related, then you might also appreciate a visit to the Natural History Museum. Of course, the animals here are no longer alive but the exhibitions and displays do offer unique and interesting insight into the world around us, animals, and their environments and how humans have impacted on the animal world throughout the years.