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, lions, 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

  • Free 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.
  • Take a boat trip along the Islands waterways.
  • Zoo tours and experiences let you get up close to some of the animals. They last  from 45 minutes all the way up to being a keeper for a day – these definitely need to be booked well in advance.

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.
  • You’ll find 10 snack bars dotted around the zoo selling drinks, snacks and ice creams.
  • In the Islands part of the zoo you’ll find a South East Asian inspired street kitchen.
  • The Oakfield restaurant in the heart of the zoo offers a full menu complete with roasts on a Sunday – worth booking in advance on the Oakfield website.

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.

What do Baker’s Cottage guests think about Chester Zoo?

{The zoo was great even for grown ups and in the rain!
Deborah C from Wisbech, July 2023
{The kids loved the zoo!
Melissa C from South Croydon, February 2023
{Take your waterproofs to the zoo!
Terry K from County Durham, October 2020
{Would recommend the zoo to all age groups
Sandra B from Penrith, February 2020
{Chester zoo is outstanding with its new lion enclosure
Claire B from Harrow, October 2019
{The zoo is fantastic!
Lucy I from Hexham, July 2019
{A visit to Chester Zoo is highly recommended.
Susan & Anthony 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

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.