5 days out in London where you can meet the animals

Squirrel monkeys enjoying Easter treats at ZSL London Zoo

Squirrel monkeys enjoying Easter treats at ZSL London Zoo - Credit: ZSL/PA

The foxes and squirrels aside, London is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of wildlife, but the city is home to an array of parks and animal sanctuaries. 

Whether you’re looking to reconnect with nature or plan an adventure day out with the kids, London offers animal experiences that are affordable and surprisingly close to home.  

Dependent on opening and any restrictions in place, plan your visits now.

Asiatic lion Bhanu walks past a blackboard during the 2020 stocktake at ZSL London Zoo

Asiatic lion Bhanu walks past a blackboard during the 2020 stocktake at ZSL London Zoo - Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

1. Regent’s Park, ZSL London Zoo 

Se on the canal at Regent's Park, ZSL’s 36-acre plot is home to more than 750 species (20,329 animals). 

With zones including Tiger Territory, Into Africa, The Outback, Penguin Beach and the Land of the Lions, to name a few, London Zoo will keep you occupied all day. 

At a distance, you can enjoy a glimpse of the giraffes and other “into Africa” animals without paying a penny. ZSL also offer experiences that include overnight stays, feeding the gorillas, and meeting the penguins. 

Visit www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo

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2. Clissold Park 

Located in Stoke Newington this open space is home to a small collection of animals including an aviary of exotic birds.

Meet the cockatiels, parakeets, zebra finches, budgerigars and lovebirds, a parrot species native to Africa and Madagascar. After unwinding in tranquil birdsong, venture on to see the other animals such as chickens, goats, and fallow deer. 

Visit www.clissoldpark.com/facilities

Kentish Town City Farm August 2020.Waiting for breakfast

Kentish Town City Farm goats waiting for breakfast - Credit: Polly Hancock

3. Kentish Town City Farm 

This charity offers people the chances to spend some therapeutic time with the animals. Pigs Wilma and Betty, Shirley the cow, and Dora and Nora the donkeys are just a few of the public’s favourite residents. 

Visit www.ktcityfarm.org.uk

Lemurs at Golders Hill Park Zoo 

Lemurs at Golders Hill Park Zoo - Credit: Nigel Sutton

4. Golders Hill Park 

Situated in Golders Green this formal park is home to a free zoo managed by the City of London Corporation. It offers the chance to see a ring-tailed lemur, coatis, and laughing kookaburras, donkeys, a European eagle owl and white-faced whistling ducks. 

Visit www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

A staff member participates in the annual weeklong deep clean at Sea Life London Aquarium

A staff member participates in the annual weeklong deep clean at Sea Life London Aquarium - Credit: David Parry/PA

5. Sea Life London Aquarium

London's aquarium, on the South Bank is home to sharks, octopus, penguins, rays, and many more. It has the UK's largest living coral reef and offers the chance to learn about the spectacular lives of jellyfish and the wildlife of the rainforest. 

Visit www.visitsealife.com

Aquarist, Ruth Chamberlain looks at Mauve Stinger jellyfish at Sea Life London Aquarium, in central

Aquarist, Ruth Chamberlain looks at Mauve Stinger jellyfish at Sea Life London Aquarium, in central London, as they are the first of the toxic jellyfish to go on display in the UK. - Credit: PA

... and, when it reopens, Camley Street Natural Park

It is temporarily closed while a new visitor centre is built, but when open Camley Street Natural Park offers a beautiful two-acre animal haven run by the London Wildlife Trust.

Hidden away in King’s Cross, visitors can enjoy the tranquillity of the natural woodland, grassland and wetland that houses birds, butterflies, amphibians and plant life. 

Visit www.wildlondon.org.uk/nature-reserves/camley-street-natural-park

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