ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, set in 600 acres of Chiltern parkland on Dunstable Downs, is run by the same folks as ZSL London Zoo. On this large acreage, however, there is lots and lots of room for the animals to roam around in habitats emulating their homelands (well, this is still England, so you do have to use a little imagination, depending on the time of year you visit!).

Whipsnade is home to over 2,500 wild animals: lions, tigers, rhinos and giraffes can be seen in almost natural conditions. Many of these animals are endangered in the wild. Whipsnade has a worldwide reputation for its role in the breeding and conservation of rare animal species and breeds.

A full-size steam railway, the Jumbo Express, takes visitors past wallabies and maras which range freely throughout the park. Visitors may also drive their own vehicles through the parkland, seeing the animals close up, or take one of the regular shuttle buses through the park.

Whipsnade has also created its very own "hill figure" - the outline of a giant (160 yards long) lion carved into the chalk hillside in emulation of the ancient hill figures such as the White Horse of Uffington and the Cerne Abbas Giant. The Whipsnade lion can be seen for miles across the downs.