Chester zoo makes for a fantastic day out with something to appeal to just about everyone. Its 125 acre site is home to over 15,000 animals so we recommend that you allow a full day for your visit. Highlights include the ‘Islands’ area; the elephants, black rhino, monkeys and the twilight zone bat cave where you can walk amongst free flying bats (not recommended for those of a nervous disposition!).

The zoo plays a major role in the breeding and conservation of endangered species from around the world.

Don’t let wet weather put you off – there’s plenty to see under cover (just make sure you bring umbrellas and waterproofs for the walks from each one to the next).

What’s on at the zoo

  • Guided tours from 30 minutes up to 1.5 hours run on selected days – there’s a charge for these, book in advance on the zoo website.
  • Take a boat trip along the Islands waterways.
  • Keeper’s talks run at regular times throughout the day where you can ask questions and learn more about your favourite animals. Check the times at the zoo entrance or on the website.
  • For an extra charge use the zoo monorail to give tired feet a rest as well as providing an unusual aerial view of many of the animals.

Eating at the zoo

  • The zoo has beautiful gardens with plenty of picnic spots.
  • There’s a cafe near the entrance and a food court on the opposite side of the zoo with a variety fast food offers.
  • You’ll also find several snack bars dotted around the zoo.
  • In the middle, near the water play area, there’s an ice cream parlour.
  • In the Islands part of the zoo you’ll find an Asian themed street kitchen.

Click a photo to see full size pictures:

Getting there

The zoo is on the outskirts of the city about 20 minutes from Baker’s Cottage by car. There’s a large free car park which gets very busy on sunny days in the school holidays, particularly in July and August when you might have a long walk to the zoo entrance.

The zoo is about a 20 minute bus ride from the main bus station on George Street. You can walk from Baker’s Cottage to the bus station in about 20 minutes. Or take a bus from Handbridge and change at the main bus station. Ann T tried this in May 2019 – “beware public transport if you wish to use it – not too reliable. Thought we’d get a bus to Chester centre and then on to the Zoo. Not easy!”

What Baker’s Cottage guests think about Chester Zoo:

  • “A visit to Chester Zoo is highly recommended.” Susan S from Stockton on Tees, September 2018.
  • “Our children recommend the zoo” Michelle J from Cornwall, August 2018.
  • “Our main interest was the zoo (we went 3 times!) so an annual pass for us was good value for money.” Helen O from York, February 2018.
  • “We visited Chester zoo on Sunday – such a lovely zoo with a range of animals that are thoughtfully cared for and so much to see that it took us a whole day to get around it all.” Zoe S from Willenhall, October 2017.
  • “Expensive but worth it” Alison S from Market Rasen, August 2017.
  • “The zoo is the best we’ve been to” Michael W from Whitley Bay, October 2016.
  • “Chester Zoo great for all ages!” Christine K from York, May 2015.
  • “Spent six and a half hours going around Chester Zoo. Brilliant day out.” Julie L from Huddersfield, August 2014.

Find out more about Chester zoo:

  • Find all the essential zoo information on the Chester zoo web site.
  • Get a taste of life behind the scenes in Channel 4’s ‘Secret Life of the Zoo’ available to view online in ‘My 4’.
  • June Mottershead tells the story of how her father set up Chester Zoo in the 1930s in her autobiograpohy ‘Our Zoo’.
  • June’s book was the basis for the BBC TV series of the same name. You can see behind the scenes clips on the BBC website and the whole series is available on DVD.

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