The Best UK Zoos to Visit

There are plenty of zoos in the UK giving you a lot of opportunity to lounge around the animal kingdom. The question is, which one is the best? We've chosen the ten we liked the most, from Devon all the way to Scotland, each having its own unique selling point and providing excellent value for money on top of making a fabulous outing for you and your family.

You shouldn't make the assumption that bigger is better. We agree that Chester and Whipsnade are fabulous places, where you should take a whole day out if you want to make the most of them, nonetheless, a few of the smaller ones like Bristol, have been very creative and made really good use of all their available space. Hence, your trip can be equally as exciting!

Here are the ones we suggest …

London Zoo

London Zoo

Established in 1828, London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world. It is situated in Regents park and is the home to around 755 different animal species with approximately 16, 802 animals. In addition to being famous for being the oldest scientific zoo, it's also the very first zoo to launch an Aquarium, Insect House, Children's zoo and a Reptile house. The London Zoological Society oversees the London zoo as well as Whipsnade Zoo where a lot of the larger animals have been shifted.

Size: 0.61 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £15.91; adults £21.81. Under 3's – free entry.

Address: Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK

Transport Near Camden Town and Regent's Park Underground Stations (15-20 Minute Walk). Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 344 225 1826

Visit Website: www.zsl.org

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo

This charming child-friendly zoo has more than 270 species located within 60 acres of well-kept land. It has at least 50 displays every day, plenty of hands on experience opportunities and 5 play areas – 4 adventure and a soft play area under cover. It remains up-to-date by expanding continuously and children are guaranteed to enjoy the Madagascar Express road train.

Size: 60 acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £14.99 and adults £21.99. Under 3'z don't have to pay

Address: Maldon Road | Stanway, Colchester, Colchester CO3 0SL, England

Transport Colchester Main Train Station can be reached from Liverpool Street services from London or along the Lowestoft or Norwich networks to Ipswich and then on to Colchester. Zoo is 10 minutes taxi from station. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 1206 331292

Visit Website: www.colchester-zoo.com

Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade Zooo

Whipsnade Zoo is the UK's biggest zoo set in 600 acres (1 Square Mile) of beautiful panoramic scenery, situated close to Dunstable in Bedfordshire. It first opened its doors in 1931 and now houses 227 diverse species that comprise a total of 6,405 animals. The distinguishing feature of this zoo is the roaming herds of elephants that freely move around the zoo grounds making it a wonderful place to take excellent natural pictures to show off to friends and family.

Size: 600 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £18 and adult £25. Under 3's don't pat an entrance fee.

Address: Whipsnade | Bison Hill, Dunstable LU6 2LF, England

Transport The best ways to get to the zoo are by car or coach. The zoo is 20 minutes from the M25 (junction 21), ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is signposted from the M1 (junction 9 and junction 12) and all major roads - just follow the elephant on the above map. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 344 225 1826

Visit Website: www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/

Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo

This is located around a 140-acre park close to Winchester and is home to so many striking and rare species of animals that range from splendid giraffes to ring-railed coatis, threatened tigers to frilling lizards, and inquisitive meerkats to miniature hippos, everything set in beautifully landscaped settings. In 2015, Marwell zoo is opening their largest exhibit so far, the Wild Explorers, where some of the most remarkable African wildlife will be displayed.

Size: 140 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children, £13.62, adults £17.26. It's free for under 3's

Address: Thompsons Lane | South Downs National Park, Winchester SO21 1JH, England

Transport The zoo is within easy reach of two motorways and rail stations and only 8 miles from Winchester. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 1962 777407

Visit Website: www.marwell.org.uk

Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo

This modest 12 acre zoo homes more than 450 species. Moreover, it has utilised its space resourcefully for a small zoo – probably one of the smallest in the world. For example, the latest Gorilla House, is an award-winning area with the world's first walkable glassed roof.

The new arrivals in 2015 are 13 massive and truly life-like electro-mechanical Big Bugs, they intend to make Bristol zoo their personal home for around 6 months over the summer period.

Size: 12 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £9.09 and adults £14.53. Under 2's – no entry fee.

Address: Clifton Down, Bristol BS8 3HA, England

Transport: Local train service to Clifton Down Station (ten-minute walk to the Zoo). Or, from Bristol Temple Meads Station, take the number 8 bus service to the Zoo's main entrance. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 117 974 7399

Visit Website: www.bristolzoo.org.uk

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

Paignton Zoo

This green, sheltered treasure was the first zoo in the UK to combine a zoo with botanical gardens. It has approximately 2,000 creatures and around 1,600 species of plants, making it a delightful place to visit, and it has been steering the zoo industry into trading ethically for many years. Look out for their new arrival, Lucifer the male lion.

Size: 80 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children, £12 and adults £16.50. Its free entrance for under 3s.

Address: Totnes Road, Paignton TQ4 7EU, England

Transport: The nearest train stations are Paignton and Torquay. Onward travel to the Zoo is by bus. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 1803 697500

Visit Website: www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo

This zoo has 82 acres of land and is the only one in the UK that look after giant koalas and pandas. Another special feature is their baby chimp at their Budongo Trail, which has won awards in the past as well as an Indian rhino, a popular penguin parade, and a baby tapir.

Size: 82 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £12.50; adults £17.00. Under 3's can go in for free.

Address: 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, Scotland

Transport: Edinburgh Zoo can be easily accessed via public transport with high frequency bus services from Edinburgh city centre. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 131 334 9171

Visit Website: www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

Howlett's Wild Animal Park

Howlett's Wild Animal Park

This 90-acre Park was first established as a privatized zoo and has made it to the 40. In the 1990's, the zoo hit the headlines for fateful reasons – the actual zoo keeper was devoured by one of the tigers at the park. You can still get close to these big wild creatures, but luckily they are not close so you will be perfectly safe. There are plenty of other astonishing mammals within this fantastic and natural-looking park, too.

Size: 90 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £8.25; adults £10.95; no entry fee for under 3's.

Address: Bekesbourne Road | Bekesbourne, Canterbury CT4 5EL, England

Transport: Howletts Wild Animal Park is located in Bekesbourne, Kent in the South East of England, just three miles south of Canterbury. Easy to find by car or by public transport come and visit us today. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 1227 721286

Visit Website: www.aspinallfoundation.org

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is the most popular zoo in the UK and has been rated amongst the top 15 zoos worldwide. It has a striking 12, 0000 creatures from more than 400 animal species. In addition, Chester Zoo has an interesting project on its way costing £30 million. It intends to take all its guests on a personalised conservation journey throughout the Bali, Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Sumb, similar to the great explorers.

Size: 45 Acres

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Ticket Prices Online: Children £11.86, adults £14.72, free entry for Under 3's

Address: Upton-by-Chester, Chester CH2 1LH, England

Transport: Easy to get to via car or bus and train combined. Find full directions here.

Telephone: +44 1244 380280

Visit Website: www.chesterzoo.org