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Top 10 Animal Experiences in England for a Special Occasion

Here are the best animal experiences in England for you to get up close to your favourite kind in the animal kingdom.

Whether you are looking for a fun day out for all the family or an overnight stay with the taste of the wild side, England has many unique animal experiences to entice and enthral you. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to make up your mind. To help you out, we’ve created a list of our top ten favourite animal experiences – take a look. 

Best Animal Experiences in England

Go one better than a zoo – here are the best animal experiences in England…


1. The Giraffe Lodge at Port Lympne Reserve

The stunning giraffe lodge at Port Lympne Reserve looks over the graceful and majestic family of giraffes that live on the reserve. Stay in the lodge with a view and experience a safari that ends with a chance to feed the animals. A stay includes entrance to two separate safari parks and access to the many different restaurants in the park.

animal experiences in england

If you don’t want to stay the night, you can still have a giraffe experience at Port Lympne by just booking the giraffe safari for a few hours in the morning or afternoon. Combine that with a look around the rest of the park and you have a great animal day out to enjoy.

The Giraffe Lodge animal experience includes:

  • Stay for two at Giraffe Lodge
  • Full English Breakfast and African inspired dinner (Braii) in the Lapa
  • Entrance to Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park (from 9.30 am on the day of arrival until closure on the day of departure)
  • Safari experience at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve
  • Access to the park’s restaurants
  • Bedding and towels
  • Welcome drink
  • Free WiFi
  • Free on-site parking

2. The Red Panda Cottage at West Midlands Safari Park

Hidden in the Safari Park’s Discovery Trail, these two Red Panda Cottages are inspired by Nepalese Design combined with a luxury twist. The accommodation sleeps up to 5 people and has views over the new Red Panda habitat, allowing you to watch these endangered animals climb trees, play with each other within the bamboo and forage for food.

animal experiences in england

A stay at this cottage provides access to the safari park and includes a ride wrist band for the theme park too – giving you endless hours of fun.

The Red Panda Cottage animal experience includes:

  • Exclusive use of a Red Panda Cottage for up to 5 people
  • Incredible views of the adorable red panda in their new habitat
  • Two-day Admission Ticket to West Midland Safari Park and all attractions
  • Two-day Ride Wristbands to use in the Adventure Theme Park*
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Bedding and towels
  • Hairdryer
  • Widescreen TV
  • Free WiFi
  • Hot drink making facilities
  • Minibar (charges apply)
  • Robes
  • Noble Isle Toiletries
  • 24-hour concierge
  • Free parking

3. The Luxury Lodges at London Zoo

Stay in the heart of the Lion’s territory at London Zoo in their luxury lodges. Enjoy the animals around you and gain exclusive entry to the zoo while dining in style. On top of your stay, gain access to three exclusive tours that all occur after-hours when the Zoo is closed to the public, where you can learn about the multitude of animals and how London Zoo cares for them.

London Zoo is one of the best zoos in England – it’s not to be missed!

London Zoo Lodge

The Lodges at London Zoo animal experience includes:

  • Three exclusive after-hours tours 
  • Dinner and breakfast
  • Two-day entry to London Zoo (can include Whipsnade Zoo on the second day if you prefer)

Book online in advance to receive 10% off standard gate ticket prices and save time on the gate.

Tickets bought online on the day of your visit will be charged at the standard rate (same price as on the gate).


4. Hawk Walk at Millets Falconry Centre

If you’re a fan of large birds of prey and want to get up close with them to feel their power and majesty, then consider visiting the Millets Falconry Centre and going on a Hawk Walk. The walk takes you on a journey through the stunning environment of Millets Farm while you watch the hawks soar above your heads and land in your gloved hand, allowing you to see them up close and personal. 

animal experiences in england

The Millets Falconry Centre animal experience includes:

  • Hawk Walk for Two at Millets Falconry Centre
  • 40-minute countryside experience
  • Specialist gloves provided
  • Experience a Harris Hawk swooping down from the treetops onto your fist
  • Experience Gift Voucher with personalised gift message

5. Dive with Sharks at Skegness Aquarium 

If sea life creatures spark your interest, then why not take a leap on the wild side and dive with sharks at Skegness Aquarium!

While this may heighten your adrenaline, an experienced instructor will be on hand to guide you and keep you safe as you get up close to a number of different sea species such as sharks, bat rays and unicorn fish. Begin your training in the small pool on-site before plunging in the Lost Lagoon in the Coral Ocean to see the wonders hidden under our coastlines. 

animal experiences in england

The Skegness Aquarium animal experience includes:

  • Diving with Sharks Experience at Skegness Aquarium
  • Entry to the Skegness Aquarium for one dive experience participant and one spectator
  • Briefing and training with an experienced instructor
  • Come face to face with a variety of sea species, including sharks and bat rays
  • Take the plunge in the Lost Lagoon and the Coral Ocean display
  • Supported by the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) and the Shark Trust
  • 50% of BSAC Ocean Diver materials if the participant decides to continue their diving adventure
  • A free ‘# DoSomeFin’ T-Shirt with every full Shark Trust membership
  • 25% discount on a returning Shark Educational Dive
  • Experience Gift Voucher with personalised gift message

What is the national animal of England?

Find out the answer, and all about some of the other amazing animals in England, here.

And you should have a go at our BIG WILDLIFE QUIZ here.


6. The Big Cat Sanctuary – Ranger for the Day

Experience what it’s like to be a real big cat ranger for a day at The Big Cat Sanctuary. Begin the day with a tour of the cats and learn from one of the experienced keepers at the sanctuary.

You’ll get the opportunity to prepare and deliver food to the cats, do the dirty work by clearing out their enclosures, enjoy lunch on-site and learn about the many types of stunning big cats in the area. Most importantly, there are many photo opportunities that will help capture your special day.

The Big Cat Sanctuary animal experience includes:

  • Tour of the Big Cat enclosures 
  • Opportunity to feed a Big Cat
  • Photo opportunities
  • Completing the daily tasks of a Big Cat Ranger

7. Reptile and Bug Experience at Dartmoor Zoo

If the animals that you love are of the creepy-crawly or smooth reptile kind, then Dartmoor Zoo’s Reptile and Bug Experience allows you to get hands-on with these animals while learning more about them.

The 30-minute workshop can be attended by four people at a time and educates you on the different animals, lets you hold some of them and teaches you how they can be properly looked after – ideal if you are thinking of getting an unusual pet. This is great for both children and adults and offers a number of good photo opportunities. 

animal experiences in england

The Reptile and Bug animal experience includes:

  • Reptile and Bug Experience at Dartmoor Zoo for up to four participants
  • 30-minute fun and educational workshop
  • Go behind the scenes to learn about caring for reptiles and bugs
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Experience Gift Voucher with personalised gift message

8. Secret Seal Safari in Dover, Kent

Sail out into the sea near the White Cliffs of Dover in an official RIB boat to see seals in their natural habitat. Enjoy the scenery of the breathtaking coastline while looking for these beautiful creatures bobbing out of the water. Travel through Deal Pier, into Sandwich Bay and through the River Stour and Pegwell Bay while watching the wildlife.  

animal experiences in england

Secret seal safari animal experience includes:

  • Take a trip on the only RIB sea safari operating out of Dover
  • See the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover
  • Spot migrating waders and wildfowl
  • Sail past a secret seal colony – don’t forget binoculars

9. Cheetah Lodge at West Midlands Safari Park

If you are happy to wait for a little while, the impressive Cheetah Lodges at West Midlands Safari Park are due to open in 2022. These luxury lodges offer impressive panoramic views of the animal enclosures, allowing you to see the Cheetahs in their new habitat or the elephants drinking from pools of water. The lodges can sleep up to 6 guests and include entry to the Safari Park for more exploring. 

animal experiences in england

Cheetah Lodge animal experience includes:

  • Exclusive use of a Cheetah Lodge for up to 6 people
  • Panoramic views of cheetahs in their new habitat
  • Two-day Admission Ticket to West Midland Safari Park and all attractions
  • Two-day Ride Wristbands to use in the Adventure Theme Park*
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Covered outside decking area
  • Bedding and towels
  • Hairdryer
  • Widescreen TV
  • Free WiFi
  • Hot drink making facilities
  • Minibar (charges apply)
  • Robes
  • Noble Isle Toiletries
  • 24-hour concierge
  • Free parking

10. Tiger Feeding VIP Experience at Longleat Safari Park

If you are looking to get up close and personal with some of the most majestic big cats in the world, then look no further than the Tiger Feeding VIP Experience at Longleat Safari Park. Enter the park before it is open to the general public and meet with your dedicated big cat keeper, who will teach you about the animals before feeding them their breakfast from within touching distance! Spend the rest of your day exploring the other attractions at the safari park and watching the animals in action.

animal experiences in england

Tiger feeding VIP animal experience includes:

  • A feeding encounter with the majestic tigers of Longleat
  • A knowledgeable and experienced big cat keeper
  • A Longleat Day Ticket for the date of your experience
  • A Longleat Souvenir Guide book
  • 10% off voucher to use at Longleat retail shops on the day of your visit

Best animal experiences in England

No matter what type of animal experience in England you’re looking for, the zoos, safaris and aquariums of England can deliver.  So why not visit one today? Book one now and let your animal adventure begin.


Quicklist to the best animal experiences

  • 1. The Giraffe Lodge at Port Lympne Reserve
  • 2. The Red Panda Cottage at West Midlands Safari Park
  • 3. The Luxury Lodges at London Zoo
  • 4. Hawk Walk at Millets Falconry Centre
  • 5. Dive with Sharks at Skegness Aquarium 
  • 6. The Big Cat Sanctuary – Ranger for the Day
  • 7. Reptile and Bug Experience at Dartmoor Zoo
  • 8. Secret Seal Safari in Dover, Kent
  • 9. Cheetah Lodge at West Midlands Safari Park
  • 10. Tiger Feeding VIP Experience at Longleat Safari Park

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