Opened in 1828 for fellows of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) the London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world. Now called the ZSL London Zoo, and sometimes called Regent’s Zoo, it contains almost 700 different species making it one of the largest collections of animals in the UK.
The brain child of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore, and Sir Humphry Davy, of the Davy lamp, initially it was only intended to house a collection for scientific study. However, like so many of London’s attractions, it developed into something quite different from what was initially imagined.
It opened its doors in 1847 and claims many firsts, including the first reptile house in 1849, first public aquarium in 1853, and the first children’s zoo in 1938. Managed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) many of the larger animals have been moved to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo which has more space. It has several areas including Land of Lions, Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, Giants of Galapagos, the Attenborough Komodo Dragon House and the Reptile House. The aquarium was closed in 2019. You can find details of the animals currently kept here so you can plan your route here.
The Zoo has sadly housed some extinct species including a quagga and some Tasmanian tigers, but perhaps the most famous resident was Chi Chi, a giant panda who become the inspiration for the World Wildlife Fund logo. The Zoo is also involved in conservation work, which forms a key part of its vision that can be read here.
When Is It Open?
Open from 10am to 6pm (spring to summer) and 10am to 4pm (autumn and winter). Closed Christmas Day.
Tickets for ZSL London Zoo
Tickets range from £26 to £35 per adult, and can be purchased here.
Getting to ZSL London Zoo and Nearby Attractions
Camden Town (Northern Line) is probably the closest tube station, although you can also reach it by walking along the Regent’s Canal. The zoo is within The Regent’s Park, which is one of the great central parks in London. Also part of Regent’s Park is Primrose Hill, which offers one of the best views of London.