As a largely urban environment broken up by Royal parks and green spaces, it follows that London has its fair share of wildlife for visitors to encounter. With both organised animal attractions and more natural experiences available, there is plenty to see and do around London for those who are keen to experience some native wildlife (alongside a few more exotic residents) – and in this blog, we’re highlighting some of the best.
And what better place to start than with one of the top family attractions, often integrated into London hotel packages for tourists from all walks of life: ZSL London Zoo.
ZSL London Zoo
There is no better day trip for animal lovers than ZSL London Zoo, which is bordered on one side by Regent’s Park – demonstrating its incredibly central location and the ease of access to the attraction from most of the major London hotels and central boroughs.
ZSL London Zoo boasts all of the main animals you would expect, with up close and personal animal encounters available for those with tickets and want to get involved. The penguins are always a popular attraction for their cheeky personalities, or you can visit the monkeys, the meerkats, and the lions and tigers who all call this vast city zoo home.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
From the big cats of ZSL London Zoo to the small domestic cats who call Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium home, this café invites visitors to sip on tea and eat cake while surrounded on all sides by real cats. Whether you choose to play with the cats, let them sit on your lap while you eat, or ignore them completely, the concept is remarkably simple yet has taken on a life of its own with London locals and visitors alike.
The cat emporium is located in Shoreditch, not far from the Montcalm Hotel Brewery and with easy access to the centre of the city via underground or bus.
An attraction situated just minutes from the London Eye on London’s Southbank, the SeaLife exhibition invites visitors of all ages to wander around and beneath the tanks filled with rainbow coloured coral and thousands of fish from all over the world.
Not only are there many fish who live at the SeaLife centre, but it is also home to varied and diverse marine ecosystems, with the site serving tourists while also acting as a central hub for conservation work which helps to breed and release endangered species, re-home fish that have outgrown their tanks and are ready for the wild and protects injured marine animals that can’t survive on their own.
Despite its urban setting, London is home to a number of city farms – many of them within touching distance of the top London 5 star hotels, demonstrating just how diverse and versatile the London landscape is in terms of what’s available and who and what call the city their home.
The city farms are designed to facilitate both education for local school children and to provide an attraction which invites visitors to get up close and personal with farm animals – with many of them run as non-profit organisations which are funded through donations as well as work experience initiatives.
If you happen to be visiting London in the summer, it’s worth looking out for the city farms country shows as these are day and weekend events which see the best livestock from across the city farms and beyond competing to be crowned the best in class for breed standards. Alternatively, you can simply wander the farm at your leisure – and if you’re lucky, catch one of the team members as they’re about to feed a farm resident.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Located in south London in the well-known area of Battersea, you will find the HQ of the charity known for its work with rescue cats and dogs from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Battersea Dogs and Cats home is an animal adoption facility where animals that have been poorly treated or abandoned are taken in, cared for, and eventually offered out for adoption by those who will genuinely care for them. Taking in a rescue dog or cat can be a challenge, however you don’t have to be in the market for a new pet in order to visit the site as visitors are encouraged at all times.
Visiting the Battersea Dogs and Cats home will not only give you a fun-filled day or afternoon out, but it will also fill you with appreciation for the hard work that the Battersea team face every day – not just in caring for their many residents but in dealing with the devastation caused by those who own pets and don’t care for them properly. If anything is going to make you more likely to donate to the charity and to the good cause, it’s a visit to the site.
The Royal Parks
With a number of Royal Parks located throughout the city, many of which are within a stone’s throw of the best London hotel deals, there’s no excuse to not take a stroll through at least one of the parks during your trip to London.
And if you do, you never know what you might see! From the ZSL London Zoo residents visible from Regent’s Park to the famous pelicans who live in St James’s Park and the hordes of British native wildlife that call the parks and green spaces home, a morning or evening stroll can offer the perfect chance to appreciate and enjoy the sanctity of nature within the boundaries of a big city.
Bird watching is a pastime favoured by many outdoor and nature lovers, with many of the townhouses, hotels, and green spaces all adorned with bird boxes and bird baths to give a little helping hand to the winged creatures. You will also see, if you look for them, bug hotels, dormouse boxes, and so much more dotted throughout the parks and green areas of the city.
Safe to say, there really are more animals in London than you could even have imagined.