Image credit: ZSL London Zoo

Things To Do

The London Zoo

The London Zoo – sometimes referred to by its formal name of the ‘ZSL London Zoo’ – is home to more than 14,000 members of the animal kingdom (with more than 300 different species). All are housed inside state-of-art enclosures that are carefully considered with both its residents and the environment in mind.

It would turn into a bit of a circus otherwise…

It’s been sitting on the edge of Regent’s Park since 1828, which gives the London Zoo the record of being the oldest scientific zoo in the world. If you’ve ever taken a dog for a walk around the area, gone for a jog or even sat for a picnic at the bottom of Primrose Hill, the sounds of screaming monkeys might have given it away. Besides a night out at one of the London clubs, it’s probably your best chance in the capital to get up close (and sometimes personal) with some of earth’s most fascinating creatures. 

ZSL London Zoo

Image credit: ZSL London Zoo

Over 1.1 million visit the zoo each year, making it one of the top London attractions for a family day out, afternoon of animal fun with friends or an alternative but very underrated London date idea (seriously, otters bring people together…). Size-wise the zoo covers 36 acres and transports you to our planet’s most fauna-friendly places – far and wide – where on your journeys, you’ll be taken through the Australian outback as wallabies hop by, hangout with the laidback sloths in an indoor rainforest, admire the grace of age-defying tortoises from the Galápagos islands, trek across the African plains among zebras and pygmy hippos, feed penguins, feed giraffes (the giraffe house here is the world’s oldest zoo building), before getting to the big cats, the lions and tigers, and then meeting cheeky monkeys like the lemurs and orangutans, who are always a laugh.

The London Zoo also houses a number of endangered and threatened species, including western lowland gorillas, Philippine crocodiles and komodo dragons (the largest lizards still in existence), with the latter’s enclosure opened by and named after Sir David Attenborough, as Sir David and his crew were the first to ever capture them on camera. Behind the scenes, the zoo’s showrunners, the Zoological Society London, supports conservation work to preserve these species.

ZSL London Zoo

Image credit: ZSL London Zoo (Dominic Lipinski)

There is always a chance that your favourite animal is going to be out of sight or sleeping in a cave somewhere. That’s just the reality of when enclosures are larger and more in line with their natural habitats. And with thousands of people staring at them all day, everyday, you can’t blame them for the occasional bout of anti-social behaviour. There is also, however, a way to avoid the disappointment of a no-show: the London Zoo offers sleepovers with the lions. Not literally in their company… that might not end well. But from a safe distance, in an overnight lodge located in the Land of the Lion enclosure where you’ll get a complimentary drink on arrival, a two-course dinner and a buffet breakfast, and the best part: two private tours of the zoo when the animals are at their most active, dawn and dusk. 

A zoo to yourself is a whole different animal…


NOTE: The London Zoo is open daily from 10am-4pm. Adult entry costs £35.50 (peak), £33 (standard) or £30.50 (off-peak) – you can book tickets and find out more about what the zoo does on their website here.

ZSL London Zoo | Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY

Want to continue exploring the area? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Camden

The London Zoo

The Regent's Park, Outer Circle, Camden, NW1 4RY

0344 225 1826