Whipsnade Zoo — an outdoor adventure and only a day trip from London

Whipsnade Zoo is the UK’s biggest zoo. It is truly an impressive space to see animals in nature, and it is conveniently only an hour drive from London. Surrounded by panoramic views, Whipsnade is set on 600 acres of land with over 3,500 animals! It will amaze all the animal lovers in your family (we went with three generations of family and all were absolutely in awe of it). And it is a zoo which supports conservation, so your visit will support animals in the wild too.

We had a wonderful time, and recommend you really plan a whole day at the zoo. Then we spent a few minutes strategically planning what we wanted to see, and what we didn’t. It would be nearly impossible to see every animal in a day unless you have super powers. 🙂 We let the children choose their favourite animals as the start of the day, and it was such a success. We actually ran out of time in the end, and didn’t get to spend long in the playground, butterfly house, or Sea Lions… but what we did see we loved.

There are just some animals that are so impressive in person, and the rhinos did not disappoint. Definitely one of the highlights of our day!

And the views are simply stunning. And it isn’t just about seeing animals, you are in one of the prettiest parts of England. We visited on a cold February day which ordinarily can dampen spirits, but we were captivated by the views as we walked from one area to the next. And this vista below is from the back balcony of the River Cafe restaurant by food writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This is a delicious, healthy, and new family friendly option at Whipsnade that we absolutely loved. Sustainably sourced food in a beautiful setting was a treat on its own and we will definitely return for!

Clever buggy parking, recycled coffee cups, and little pots of fresh herbs as table decor were a few of the special touches of the restaurant and deli. We had simple yet delicious meals — homemade pastas, roasted seasonal vegetables, and soups. It was the perfect break and helped us refuel for more walking and learning.

And at Whipsnade Zoo, you can either pay extra to drive in and then go from place to place, or you can walking and / or pushing a buggy about. But if those options aren’t for you, for a small fee you can take a bus or steam train to see the animals too!

There are daily animal shows, with great options for all animal lovers. And we were lucky enough to see a few of the talks, which were brilliant and informative. But we also enjoyed meandering around, looking for our favourite animals and finding out facts along the way.

There is also an incredible playground, which we did enjoy for a quick half hour. And a soft play centre next to a petting zoo for kids, which we avoided. There are also a lot of other food options. (Including a pizzeria we would have loved to try.) But we choose to focus on animals we don’t get to see often. However, it is great that there are such a large variety of options for everyone.

Most of all I recommend you wear comfortable and cosy clothes. Probably even wellies, (we didn’t and there is a lot of off trail muddy walking so we had soggy feet which was silly — it is England after all!). But bring snacks, water, and have fun! It is the perfect day escape from urban London and it feels even a bit wild seeing all of those animals out in nature. Enjoy.



ps ZSL London Zoo is also a great … Other Zoos in cities near you… New York, Amsterdam, and Paris


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