London Zoo in Regent's Park is one of the world's most famous zoos and home to over 12,000 animals. 'Meet the Animals' shows are held daily, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the animals from their keepers. Rare and beautiful creatures can be seen in the Aquarium, Gorilla Kingdom, the Clore Rainforest Lookout, Penguin Pool, Butterfly Paradise and in the £3.6 million Tiger Territory - the latest improvement at the zoo. The 'Animal Adventure' children's zoo gives kids the chance to experience the sights and smells of the animal kingdom up close. You can even feed and touch the goats and sheep and meet the donkeys, llamas and pigs. Much of the zoo's work reaches beyond the confines of its walls, helping with the conservation of endangered species. From the cute meerkats to the creepy rats and bats, animals of all shapes and sizes call London zoo home. Every child in London should go at least once.
London Zoos and City Farms
The world's first scientific zoo contains 12 listed buildings, 12,000 animals & 650 species.
Regent's Park Outer Circle, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 4RY
Tube: Chalk Farm Station
Battersea Park Children's Zoo is home to a host of farmyard animals, flamingos, otters and monkeys.
Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ
Tube: Sloane Square Station
Battersea Park Children's Zoo is home to a host of glorious creatures. There are farmyard animals, flamingos, otters and monkeys, as well as peacocks which roam the enclosure. It is a beautiful spot, and a friendly well-run attraction which was saved from closure after a year-long struggle between the council and local residents. Although comparatively small, Battersea Park Children's Zoo is a wonderful institution. The animals are clearly happy in their, mainly outdoor, accommodation and the setting itself is magical. This little-known gem is a great place to go with younger children as part of a stroll round the Battersea area. The zoo entrance is at Chelsea Gate on Queenstown Road, Battersea Park, near the Peace Pagoda close to the river.
This working farm, located in the heart of Islington, has a wide variety of animals.
Sheringham Road, London, N7 8PF
Tube: Caledonian Road Station
This working farm, located in the heart of Islington, has a wide variety of animals ranging from rare breed pigs and goats to new born lambs and chicks, many of which can be adopted through the farm's Adopt an Animal Scheme. Founded in 1972 on waste land behind King's Cross Station, Freightliners Farm was so-called because the animals were housed in railway goods vans. Since then, the farm has moved and the animals have gained purpose built homes, erected in 1988. The farm also boasts some stunning ornamental and kitchen gardens, five beehives and a Wednesday afternoon gardening club. If you're after some fresh, home-grown, homemade produce this is the place to pick it up. Fruit, vegetables and honey all produced on the premises are available from the farm's popular shop. The Strawbale Cafe is aptly named; built by farm volunteers out of traditionally jointed green oak with straw bale insulated walls and a green roof, its open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 3.45pm, serving tea, coffee and cake. This is a rural haven in the heart of the city.
Goats, horses, chickens, ducks and geese are just some of the animals who live at Deen City Farm.
39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, London, SW19 2RR
Tube: South Wimbledon Station
Two alpacas and a snow-white peacock are just some of the unusual animals proud to call the five-acre Deen City Farm, on the fringes of the South Wimbledon, their home. Goats, horses, chickens, ducks and geese are also to be found at the farm which is based on National Trust land, part of the Morden Hall Park Estate. As well as the amazing collection of cuddly creatures, Deen City Farm also boasts an incredibly resourceful programme of events and activities. Youngsters can have fun learning all about looking after animals in the Young Farmers Club. Grooming, feeding, mucking out and playing with the farms animals form part of this educational but fun group. Quizzes and games, along with hands-on activities, make the Own a Pony Club absorbing and enjoyable for young children while arts, crafts, games and cooking are used to support the Discovery Club. There's also horse-riding throughout the year - pony rides take place every Wednesday at 12 noon giving children under the age of eight a short session in the saddle.
In the 1800s fresh produce was grown here to feed the people of the city, now it's home to petting animals, calves, sheep & pigs.
1 Goldsmiths Row, Hackney, London, E2 8QA
Tube: Bethnal Green Station
This inner city site was used as a farm as far back as the early 1800s when fresh produce was grown here to feed the people of the city. Hackney City Farm was home to West's brewery from late 1880 until the 1930s, supplying beer to its own public houses in Hackney Road and nearby Bethnal Green, as well as a variety of businesses from furniture makers to button manufacturers and a haulage company. But it returned to its function as a farm in 1984 and now houses small petting animals, calves, sheep, pigs, Amber the goat and Larry the donkey - who starred in a nativity parade at Westminster Abbey. Come lunch time the Frizzante cafe is highly recommended with its outdoor eating area, checked table cloths and kid friendly Mediterranean menu.
With its organic garden, active breeding programme and ever-evolving range of animals, the 4.5 acre Kentish Town City Farm simply bursts with life, vibrancy and energy.
1 Cressfield Close, Grafton Road, London, NW5 4BN
Tube: Kentish Town Station
With its organic garden, active breeding programme, ever-evolving range of animals, pony rides (at the weekends, weather permitting), activities and school tours, the 4.5 acre Kentish Town City Farm simply bursts with life, vibrancy and energy. There are regular workshops and activities - the farm even has its own classroom - aimed at the under 5's and at children up to 14 years old, some of which are free and run on a drop-in basis. After school clubs include pottery and cookery workshops where all ages are welcome and there are holiday and weekend activities too. Adult riding and lessons are also available during the week, daytime only. There's always plenty to do down on the farm from feeding the animals to mucking out the stables and volunteers are welcomed. Guaranteed to brighten your day.
Meet tortoises, lizards, and Misty the barn owl at Hounslow Urban Farm.
Faggs Road, Feltham, London, TW14 0LZ
Tube: Hatton Cross Station
Meet tortoises, lizards, and Misty the barn owl at Hounslow Urban Farm, one of London's largest community farms where some of the exotic animals have been re-housed from Heathrow Airport. Being the closest farm to the UK's busiest airport - it's so close the low-flying planes are an added attraction for young visitors - this is where animals who have been unsuccessfully smuggled into or out of the country often end up. Covering 29 acres the farm is also an important educational resource and a real highlight are the animal handling sessions where children can hold unusual animals from a rat to a Chinese water dragon. They can also feed the farm animals including pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, ducks, geese, alpacas, rheas, and peacocks. On rainy days there's an indoor bouncy castle and half terms and school holidays always bring special themed events which keep the little ones entertained for the whole day.
Mudchute's rural scenes create a sharp contrast with the high rise towers of Canary Wharf.
Pier Street, Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, London, E14 3HP
Tube: North Greenwich Station
Located in the middle of the Isle of Dogs, Mudchute Farm and Park is one of the largest of London's city farms, covering a 32 acre site with its rural scenes creating a sharp contrast against the urban backdrop of Canary Wharf. One of three city farms within Tower Hamlets, Mudchute is the largest of them all with smaller sites at Stepney and Spitalfields City Farm. At Mudchute there's a wide range of farmyard animals, including sheep, pigs, horses, cows, ducks, geese and dogs, which are perfect for petting. A nature trail beginning near the Education Centre is also a great family activity. With numbered points of interest for your reference you can learn and explore at the same time. The farm's cafe, Mudchute Kitchen, set in the courtyard next to the Equestrian Centre offers a good selection of freshly made food, offering a welcome break for the farm's visitors, riders and office workers - get a world away from Canary Wharf in the short space of a lunch break. The farm also holds educational and seasonal special events throughout the year and school holidays including the Easter parade, Summer Open Day and the annual dog show, held in April.
A city farm that's home to most species of farm livestock and where the focus is on rare breeds.
Stansfeld Road, Beckton, London, E6 5LT
Tube: Canning Town Station
Opened in 1977, Newham City Farm is one of London's longest established, as well as one of its largest, city farms. Home to an extensive range of farmyard favourites and rare breeds, there are cows, sheep, alpacas, goats and chickens. But the main attraction - for the smiling children who get to go on the horse drawn cart rides on special event days - is the huge shire horse, a true gentle giant. Though the focus is on rare breeds - there are Golden Guernsey goats, Berkshire pigs, Portland sheep and a Red Poll cow - this city farm is also home to rabbits, fish and a Harris hawk. The farm's pond is home to a host of geese and ducks while more exotic animals include a llama, wallabies and birds of prey. Ideal for families, there's an orchard, children's play area - across the road from the farm - and picnic benches as well as a cafe and a shop where they sell their own produce including freshly laid eggs and honey. Take an hour or two to enjoy this peaceful haven within a busy area of London, just a ten minute walk from Royal Albert station on the Docklands Light Railway.
The 1.3 acre Spitalfields City Farm is a great place for a back-to-nature East End family outing.
Buxton Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 5AR
Tube: Whitechapel Station
There's loads to do at the 1.3 acre Spitalfields City Farm. Come and meet Bayleaf the donkey and Bentley the goat - just a few of the cute and cuddly animals dotted around this lush, sprawling plot. Other animal residents include a miniature Shetland pony, Kune-kune pigs, ducks, geese and North Ronaldsay sheep. There's an aviary which is home to a variety of small exotic birds, including budgerigars, zebra finches, and a cockatiel. At the adjacent Spiralfields Community Garden, largely run by farm volunteers, lettuce leaves, potatoes and beetroots are all grown in the veg beds, the place to get your hands dirty and grow your own. There's an outdoor play area and regular events including the hugely popular annual Goat Race which is held every spring. Located just a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, this is a great place for a back-to-nature East End family outing. The farm entrance is in Buxton Street (next door to Buxton School) and there's pedestrian access opposite the top end of Allen Gardens, a short walk from Buxton Street.
Donkeys, goats and sheep at Surrey Docks Farm make you feel as though you've stepped into the countryside even though you're in an 18th century shipyard.
Rotherhithe Street, Southwark, London, SE16 5ET
Tube: Canary Wharf Station
All the animals on this 2.2 acre city farm on the south bank of the river Thames in Rotherhithe are organically reared. Donkeys, goats and sheep make you feel as though you've stepped into the countryside even though you're in an 18th century shipyard. Children can meet the animals - including cattle, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys and the very friendly goats - and learn all about farming including making honey and beeswax through special projects, events and workshops. It's the only city farm in London with a working forge where blacksmiths run educational workshops and give demonstrations creating beautiful objects out of metal. After talking to the animals you can relax at the Frizzante cafe or pick up some homemade jam at the farm shop which also sells fresh food produced in the various green and horticultural areas around the farm - at the orchard, herb garden and vegetable plots. Take the riverside Thames Path walk or the Thames Clipper for the most scenic route to Surrey Docks City Farm.
A farm has been here since 1979 and since then Stepney City Farm has doubled in size to 4.2 acres.
Stepney Way, Tower Hamlets, London, E1 3DG
Tube: Stepney Green Station
A farm has been here since 1979 when local residents, schools, churches and community groups were consulted and a small patch of land was secured for the farm's use. Formerly known as the Stepping Stones Farm, the 4.2-acre Stepney City Farm runs several projects including a Community Growing Club, Saturday Craft Sessions and open volunteering sessions. The site has been through several incarnations since the 17th century. Worcester house (locally known as King John's Palace) once stood where the cows now graze and you can still see the ruins of the old Sunday school and the Stepney meeting house. Animals on the farm include pigs, goats, sheep and cows as well as ducks, chickens, guinea pigs and ferrets. Improvements are continually being made and in September 2012 a barn to house the animals during the winter months was opened and a rural arts centre where children can learn ironmongery, pottery and woodwork skills was launched. Free rural arts workshops for all ages run on the first Saturday of every month.
Vauxhall City Farm is home to over 80 animals including Pango the Pig, Mavis the cow and DJ the horse.
165 Tyers Street, Lambeth, London, SE11 5HS
Tube: Vauxhall Station
Vauxhall City Farm was transformed from derelict land in 1977 by a group of eager and dedicated volunteers. Now this 1.5 acre working farm is home to Pango the Pig and DJ the horse as well as over 80 other animals used to being petted and pampered by visitors young and old. Pony-care classes and milking demonstrations are available on request, as well as a range of talks on the farm and lots of hands-on-work with the animals. The farm regularly hosts lively and creative play schemes packed with a range of activities including art workshops using rope, wicker and recycled materials. Workshops, education and training classes are also held at the farm including the Vauxhall City Farm Spinners who cultivate vegetables and plants in the community garden dyestuff to produce hand made yarns for weaving, embroidery and knitting. Certain activities and events are seasonal - at Easter, for example, the cute contingent of baby alpacas and goats are welcomed to their new home on the farm.
IN THIS ARTICLE
ZSL London Zoo
Battersea Park Children's Zoo
Freightliners City Farm
Deen City Farm
Hackney City Farm
Kentish Town City Farm
Hounslow Urban Farm
Mudchute Park & Farm
Newham City Farm
Spitalfields City Farm
Surrey Docks Farm
Stepney City Farm
Vauxhall City Farm
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