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Colchester Zoo

Feed elephants and giraffes, watch a falconry display and meet the fearsome Komodo dragons at one of the U.K.’s best zoos.

Colchester Zoo is sure to delight families. Watch the Patagonian sea lions play above your head as you wander through an underwater tunnel. Take a ride on the Madagascar Road train through the lemur enclosure and don’t miss out on the daily animal feeding sessions and impressive falconry displays. 

The zoo opened in 1963 and is now recognized as one of the U.K.’s premier wildlife attractions. Covering 60 acres (24 hectares), the zoo is big enough to house 260 species of animals. A visit can easily fill a day.

Start in the Kingdom of the Wild exhibit, where rhinos, giraffes and zebras wander the plains. Come during the morning and you will have the chance to feed the giraffes, as well as the elephants, in the nearby Elephant Kingdom. In the Tiger Taiga area, see other wild beasts such as the extremely rare Amur tigers.

Continue to the Walking Giants area, where three of the world’s four largest species of tortoise make for an impressive sight. Make sure you visit Playa Patagonia too. In this exhibit you walk through an 80–foot (24-meter) glass tunnel and look up at the graceful sea lions swimming above you. 

Then visit the Wilds of Asia exhibit where red pandas, hornbills and gibbons are among the attractions. Enjoy the sight of the colorful koi and have a laugh while observing the cheeky otters. Near here, you can also see Komodo dragons. These large reptiles are threatened with extinction in the wild.

Check the timetable and decide which of the more than 40 daily shows you want to attend. Besides the elephant and giraffe feeding you can watch the orangutans, the penguins and the tigers have lunch. Several food outlets around the zoo offer a range of meals and drinks if you could do with refreshments yourself.

Colchester Zoo is located 3 miles (5 kilometers) south of Colchester town center. Parking is free and buses service the zoo regularly. The zoo is open daily throughout the year and there is an admission fee, some of which goes towards wildlife conservation.


Guide to Exploring Colchester Zoo


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See all 328 Hotels near Colchester Zoo
£67
The Leather Bottle

The Leather Bottle

Shrub End Road, Colchester
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Colchester, this inn is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Colchester Golf Club and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Colchester Zoo. Jumbo Water Tower and Tymperleys Clock Museum are also within 3 miles (5 km).

£47
Holiday Inn Colchester

Holiday Inn Colchester

Abbotts Lane, Colchester
4.1
of 5, from 181 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Colchester, this family-friendly hotel is 3.1 mi (4.9 km) from Colchester Zoo, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Colchester Castle Park and Colchester Golf Club. Tymperleys Clock Museum and Colchester Natural History Museum are also within 6 miles (10 km).

£42
Best Western Marks Tey Hotel

Best Western Marks Tey Hotel

London Road, Colchester
3.8
of 5, from 419 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Set in Colchester, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Colchester Zoo, Colchester Golf Club and Tymperleys Clock Museum. East Anglian Railway Museum and Layer Marney Tower are also within 6 miles (10 km).

£71
Woodview Bed & Breakfast

Woodview Bed & Breakfast

Mill Lane, Colchester
4.7
of 5, from 60 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Colchester, this bed & breakfast is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Layer Marney Tower and 2.6 mi (4.3 km) from Colchester Zoo. Abberton Reservoir and Colchester Golf Club are also within 6 miles (10 km).

Victoria House

Victoria House

18 Burlington Road, Colchester
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Colchester, this apartment is 0.3 mi (0.6 km) from Jumbo Water Tower and 3.1 mi (5 km) from Colchester Zoo. Tymperleys Clock Museum and Colchester Town Hall are also within 15 minutes.

£75
Blue Ivy Hotel

Blue Ivy Hotel

4-6 North Hill, Colchester
4.2
of 5, from 61 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Colchester, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Jumbo Water Tower and Colchester Town Hall. Tymperleys Clock Museum and Colchester Castle Museum are also within 10 minutes.

£45
Brook Red Lion Hotel

Brook Red Lion Hotel

High Street, Colchester
3.3
of 5, from 69 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Colchester, this inn is steps away from Colchester Town Hall and Tymperleys Clock Museum. Colchester Castle Museum and Colchester Natural History Museum are also within 5 minutes.

£50
The George of Colchester

The George of Colchester

116 High Street, Colchester
3.6
of 5, from 258 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Colchester, this inn is steps away from Colchester Town Hall, Colchester Castle Museum and Tymperleys Clock Museum. Colchester Natural History Museum and Hollytrees Museum are also within 5 minutes.