no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

The days of small, barren enclosures and depressed animals are long gone -London Zoo has transformed into a model zoo for the 21st century. Enclosures are more spacious with richer vegetation, only holding large animals that are better suited to enclosures. The zoo also now focuses more on smaller (and often more interesting) creatures and habitats, with a strong conservation theme throughout, and an emphasis on education and interaction for children.

Don’t miss the Asiatic lions or the Western Lowland gorillas (you can’t possibly miss the giraffes). The newish ‘Tiger Territory’ is an enclosure for two Sumatran tigers, which has been specially designed to mimic the tiger’s natural habitat with tall trees (for climbing) and a pool (tigers love to swim).

There’s also an adventure playground and a hugely popular ‘Bed Bugs’ initiative, where children aged 8-11 can stay overnight in the insect house, for games, storytelling and torch-lit exploration of the zoo.

Go behind-the-scenes 

ZSL offer a number of ‘experiences’ that allow you to get-behind-the scenes and meet the zookeepers, and get closer to the animals. For youngsters aged 11-15 there’s a fantastic ‘keeper for a day‘ experience that lets them get behind the scenes, mucking out, feeding and petting the animals. You can also stay overnight at one of the London Zoo Lodges, which come with 3 hours of exclusive after-hours access and tours of the zoo.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price from: £35
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: +
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest Underground stop is Regent’s Park (Bakerloo Line). Buy tickets online before you go for fast-track entry to the zoo (enter through the gate marked ‘internet tickets’).  If you want to include any of the ‘experiences’ in your visit, plan well ahead – they’re popular and get booked out weeks ahead.

When to do it

The zoo is open all year round, seven days a week. Queues can be heavy, especially on weekends and in July and August. If you can, go during the week, or get there first thing, at opening time, to avoid them.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Durrants Hotel

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1.9 miles]

This grand, family-run hotel has the warmth, intimacy and polished service of a gentlemen’s club in uber-trendy and sophisticated Marylebone.

Official star rating:

St. Pancras Renaissance

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2 miles]

British heritage at its best in this landmark, Victorian railway hotel, moments from the Eurostar terminal.

Official star rating:

The Standard London

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.1 miles]

One of London’s hippest hotels, set in a Brutalist 70’s building reimagined as a playful, stylish space.

Official star rating:


London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.6 miles]

Undeniably the most glamorous and timeless of all London’s five-stars. This glorious Art Deco landmark and Mayfair institution is beloved by royalty, rock stars and fashionistas.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination. 

Website >
Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

British Museum

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.5 miles]

An awe-inspiring collection of more than seven million artefacts spanning two million years, from prehistory to the present day. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles and a granite head of King Rameses II.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[3.2 miles]

This iconic and atmospheric West End square has a historic Victorian market building, street performers, restaurants and boutiques.

Best for ages: Any | Free

Royal Opera House

London, United Kingdom (UK)[3.3 miles]

This grand setting in Covent Garden is home to both the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies, and the place for lavish, spectacular performances by the world’s leading singers and dancers.

Best for ages: 18+ | £45 | 1-3 hours

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Madame Tussauds

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1.4 miles]

Meet the queen, get a selfie with Stormzy and take the controls of the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca at the world’s leading and original wax museum.

Best for ages: 8+ | £30

Exterior view of the Library during the daytime

British Library

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1.9 miles]

One of the largest libraries in the world, containing an estimated 170-200 million items. Priceless exhibits include the Magna Carta, Beowulf, Captain Cook’s journal, and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >

Royal Academy of Arts

London, United Kingdom (UK)[3 miles]

An 18th-century mansion of masterpieces sitting pretty on Piccadilly, home to one of Britain’s oldest collections of fine art and regular blockbuster exhibitions.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free