Address: The Broad Walk, London NW1 4SX, UK


Time: From 10.00am

Time Information:

Phone: 0344 225 1826

Entry Price: £24.30 for adult


2000m from Marylebone

800m from Chalk Farm

London Zoo, also known as Regent’s Park Zoo is situated in Regent’s Park, north London. It opened in 1828 as the world’s first scientific zoo and was the brainchild of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). This was formed two years earlier by a committee that included Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore whose most famous hotel carries his name, Sir Humphrey Davy and Robert Peel. Raffles, the President, died before opening, but his successor, the Marquis of Landsdowne, saw the project through.

The site had been originally acquired by Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries, it was then sold off, but reclaimed. Architect John Nash was commissioned in 1810 to transform the area. He designed a summer retreat for the Prince Regent surrounded by expensive villas and a main thoroughfare, Regent Street. The builder was James Burton and his son was Decimus Burton, the architect of much of the work. Of the original project, the retreat never materialised and only a few villas were built.

But the site developed. The canal was built in 1816, the ZSL established a menagerie at the northern end in 1826 and a number of terraces were added. This menagerie turned into the scientific zoo with a regular visitor being Charles Darwin, a fellow of ZSL from 1831.

In 1836, the park became open to the public, who flocked in their thousands. The zoo opened to the public in 1847 with visitors amazed by the exotic animals. Jambo the elephant was a sensation, with today’s elephant nickname of ‘Jumbo’ originating from this. Other notable favourites have been Guy the Gorilla and Chi Chi the giant panda.

Various buildings were added over the years and, partly due to its size, it has been instrumental in research and breeding programmes. Threatened with closure in 1991, it today flourishes as one of the most famous London landmarks.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.