Visit ZSL London Zoo

London Zoo map
London Zoo, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park NW1 4RY
Work 0344 225 1826

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
10 AM to 4 PM (Mon-Sun, Nov-1st week of Feb); 10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun, middle 2 weeks of Feb); 10 AM to 5.30 PM (Mon-Sun, last week of Feb-Mar); 10 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Sun, Apr-Oct); Last entry 1 hour before closing
Ticket cost:
Adults £25.00; Children £19.50 (3-15); Infants free entry (under-3)
Visiting hours and entry charges are subject to change
Time required:
A typical visit to London Zoo lasts 4-5 hours (approx)

Getting to London Zoo

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274, C2
London bus fares
Baker Street (30 min walk, or 274 bus), Camden Town (15 min walk), Regent’s Park (20 min walk)
London underground fares
London Zoo Good for kids? Value for money? Worth a visit? 303

Craig recommends… Here’s my latest London Zoo review. There’s one more zoo in London: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo. You’ll find some bigger animals at Chessington World of Adventures, sharks at the London Aquarium, and live horses at the Royal Mews. If you want to see some stuffed animals and skeletons then try the Natural History Museum.

London Zoo is No.4 in our list of London’s best children’s attractions.

Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo

London Zoo is situated at the northern end of Regent’s Park and was the first facility dedicated to the study and display of wild animals in Europe.

Elephant House at London Zoo

History of London Zoo

The zoo’s original layout and buildings were chiefly designed by Decimus Burton, and the animals came from the collections at Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.

The zoo set many records during its first fifty years of operation: it had the world’s first reptile house (1849), first insect house (1881), and first public aquarium (1853). An elephant house and rhinoceros house were added in the 1960s.

Mappin Terrace at London Zoo

Mappin Terrace

London Zoo pioneered the idea of showing off animals in their natural habitat, and when the Mappin Terrace opened in 1913 it was the first time that Londoners could see them in a mountain landscape. It has now been turned into the Australian outback.

Gorilla World at London Zoo

Craig’s review of London Zoo

This review originally appeared in his London blog

The last time I went to London Zoo I was about six-years old and couldn’t see into the cages, and because there were no rollercoasters or dodgems like Chessington Zoo I thought it was rubbish (I was a kid, so you can forgive me). But now I’m an adult so I thought it was great.

I originally planned to do a couple of hours but I ended up spending all morning and most of the afternoon there. I now recommend setting aside a good three or four hours to get it all done.

The aquarium at London Zoo

The first exhibit I visited was the aquarium, which wasn’t all that great to be honest. The SeaLife London Aquarium is definitely better. The problem is that most of the fish are only a few inches long, and the longest they’ve got is three feet. There are no sharks, or anything like that. Nothing that could kill you if it fell out of your bath taps. It’s just everyday angel fish and catfish, and pretty little tropical fish swimming around the coral… nothing that you haven’t seen a million times before.

Penguin Beach

Things get better at Penguin Beach because there are rows of stadium seats around the edge, and you can sit there watching those black and white tufty ones get fed by the keepers.

After that you pass Into Africa and see the giraffes, zebras and warthogs. They’ve also got some bizarre looking half-zebra, half-horse, kind-of creatures that I reckon must have been bred for a bet. He decided to stay inside his shed for most of the day and I don’t blame him, because as soon as he came out everyone laughed at him.

Zebras in the Into Africa zone

I also felt a bit sorry for the warthogs, because I’m guessing that they belong in the mud. They certainly had a lot of mud, but it was of the bone-dry variety, and flaking away in the wind. Their whole enclosure was a dust bowl, and if I have one criticism of London Zoo then it’s the lousy state of some of the cells. I walked past a few that had danger signs up saying “Beware of the deep water”… inside a bone-dry riverbed of emptiness.

Giraffe at London Zoo

After the giraffes you cross over Regent’s Canal to the Snowdown Aviary. This place reminds of that scene in Jurassic Park when they enter a cage of pterodactyls. It’s exactly the same as that: a huge metal cage about three-stories tall, in which you can walk freely amongst the birds – with no barrier! The only difference is that instead of pterodactyles, it’s filled with ducks and geese and peacocks.

Snowdon Aviary bird cage

After that comes a row of about twenty-odd bird cages, but they were so thickly overgrown with foliage that I could hardly find any of them inside. I even tried doing a few bird impressions to tempt them out, but no luck.

Don’t forget to go inside the Butterfly House. And yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking… boring boring zzzz. But it was actually one of my favourite bits. They are literally buzzing around your heads, inside a tent full of butterflies. There are bazillions and bazillions of them, thousands of pretty little colourful ones, plus a lot of giant moths that are twice the size of your hand. There are so many flying around that you actually have to be careful not to tread on them.

Inside the Butterfly House

The BUGS! house is full of creatures that you might find crawling around my kitchen at home: beetles, spiders and maggots. They’ve got an ant colony as well with a million billion ants carrying leaves from one end to the other. It reminded me of one of those old flea circuses that you sometimes see in the movies, where they build an assault course to give them something to do.

Monkeys inside Rainforest Life

Next up is Rainforest Life which is a big building done up like the Amazon rainforest. When you step inside it’s very hot and humid because they’re constantly pumping a fine mist from the ceiling. You can see a few monkeys and sloths hanging from the trees, and people wilting around the edges.

Inside the Reptile House

If you go down a level then everything suddenly becomes pitch-black for the night animals. When I tell you that is dark, what I actually mean is that it is darker than dark – you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. They’ve got boxes of bats and rats in there, but unless you’ve remembered to bring your army issue night-vision googles with you they are a struggle to see.

Apes at Gorilla World

After that comes the monkeys, gibbons and gorillas. Gorilla Kingdom is definitely a highlight because their enclosure is quite large, and the apes are satisfyingly huge. Put it this way: you wouldn’t want to jump in and stroke them. When they come up to the glass all the kids start screaming because they think they’re about to die.

Lions and tigers at London Zoo

The best bit in the monkey zone is another walk-through exhibit, where you stroll around the trees whilst cute little squirrel monkeys clamber all over the ropes around you. They can literally get close enough to rip your wig off. You can stand underneath the tree, whilst he sits on a branch above your head.

The Mappin Terrace

Then comes the dangerous stuff: lions, tigers and sheep. The lions and tigers were particularly lazy today, and decided to have a kip on the far side of the enclosure. I was going to throw one of the annoying school kids in to try and get them to move, but after five minutes waiting for them to move instead of snooze I walked back through the petting zoo (pigs, sheep, boring) and the camels. I dont know what was wrong with the camels… it looked like they had the hump to me.

The final thing I saw was the Mappin Terrace. The Mappin Terrace looks fantastic when you first walk up to it, because it looks like a huge desert-style mountain range that’s a few stories tall. I was expecting there to be some more lions lazing on the summit, or something like that, but all I saw were two skinny emus and a wallaby. Their river was bone dry as well. But I guess they live in Australia so they must be used to it.

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  • SarahCroft – “A bit disappointng, to be honest. It was very expensive to get in and our group spent about 70 pounds on entrance fees alone. For that kind of money we could have had a day out in chessington world of adventures which also has a few animals and rollercoaster rides which my kids would have preferred. But because London zoo is such a famous attraction and we'd never been there before we Decided to take them there instead. A lot of the exhibits were completley empty. The aquarium was closed and the gorillas were missing, maybe they were on holiday. And we couldn't see anything in a lot of the reptile tanks despite being with a boy with the eagle-ist eyes of anyone in the world! I know that they have to do maintenaince sometimes, and October is probably a good time to do it because its out of the tourist season. But when you spend close to £20 each getting in, you expect to see some animals!.”
  • josh – “I've been to lots of zoos all around the world and this one is pretty poor, to be honest. It is way too much money for what you get to see. It's seems to be all about the conservation side of things, which is very noble, but they need to remember that they are also there to entertain people. I dont want to be bombarded with pc nonsense telling me about doctors feeding monkeys with pipettes. I want to actually see the monkeys in the exhibit! I know it's winter and I probably went at the wrong time of year, but half the exhibits seemed to be undergoing maintenance so you couldn't see anything. Maybe I’ll go back in the summer, or maybe I won't. There probably wasn't enough there to make me want to go back, to be honest.”

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Events at London Zoo

  From London Zoo London

  From London Zoo London

You can find some more family-friendly things to do in our big list of children’s events in London. There are events today, tomorrow and at the weekend. You can also look for events in November, December and January

If you enjoy this then try: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo (catch the tube from Camden Town to Sloane Square); London Aquarium (catch the tube from Camden Town to Waterloo) and Natural History Museum (catch the tube from Camden Town to South Kensington).

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