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Whipsnade Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, safari bus, keeper talks

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Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is one of Europe’s largest wildlife conservation parks.

Set on 600 acres of the beautiful Chiltern Hills, it is home to more than 3,600 animals and was earlier known as the Whipsnade Wild Animal Park.

Besides the London Zoo, the Zoological Society of London also manages Whipsnade Zoo.

In this article, we explain everything you must know before buying Whipsnade Zoo tickets.

What to expect at Whipsnade Zoo

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Whipsnade Zoo tickets

Entry to Whipsnade Zoo requires a ticket, and we suggest you plan and book them early.

You can cancel these tickets with a full refund, up to 24 hours before your date of visit.

Where to buy tickets

You can get your Whipsnade Zoo entry tickets at the venue or buy them online, much in advance.

If you plan to get them at the attraction, you must get in the ticketing window queue. 

Depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticket counter line for 10 to 20 minutes to buy your ticket.

The second and better option is to book tickets to Whipsnade Zoo online.

When you buy them in advance, you save yourself a lot of waiting time by skipping the ticket counter queue. 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As a safety precaution, ticket counters at Whipsnade Zoo are closed temporarily, and visitors can only purchase the tickets online. A limited number of visitors are allowed per day (social distancing), and as a result, tickets are selling very much in advance.

How online tickets work

When you buy ZSL Whipsnade Zoo tickets, you select your preferred time of visit.

Immediately after purchase, your tickets get emailed to you. 

You don’t need to take any printouts. 

Now all you must do is, reach the wildlife attraction 10 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket.

Since you have a ticket and are on time, you can show it on your smartphone and walk into the Zoological Park right away.

Whipsnade Zoo ticket prices

Whipsnade Zoo’s tickets are cheaper on weekdays.

On weekdays, it is priced at £26.50 for visitors 16 years and above and £17.25 for kids between three to 15 years.

On weekends, the adults pay £28.50 while the children pay £18.55 to enter the wildlife attraction.

Tickets for senior visitors aged 65 plus and students with valid IDs are priced at £23.85 on weekdays and £25.65 on weekends.

Whipsnade Zoo discount

The best Whipsnade Zoo offer is on online tickets – when you buy your tickets online, you get a 10% reduction on all tickets.

Whipsnade Zoo tickets for the weekday are £2 cheaper than the weekend tickets.

Besides the almost £10 reduction on the ticket price of kids aged three to 15 years, Whipsnade Zoo also offers discounts to seniors and students. 

Seniors 65 years and above, students with an educational ID, and visitors with a valid disability get a £3 reduction in their ticket prices.

An essential carer for disabled visitors gets free entry.

Weekend prices

Adult tickets (16 to 64 years): £28.50
Child ticket (3 to 15 years): £18.55
Seniors ticket (65+ years): £25.65
Student ticket (16+ years, with valid ID): £25.65

Weekday prices

Adult tickets (16 to 64 years): £26.50
Child ticket (3 to 15 years): £17.25
Seniors ticket (65+ years): £23.85
Student ticket (16+ years, with valid ID): £23.85

*Family ticket is applicable for two adults & two kids or one adult & three kids.

Note: Under-16 visitors must be accompanied by an adult.

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Whipsnade Zoo hours

Whipsnade Zoo opens at 10 am, every day of the year.

From April to August, the zoo in Dunstable closes at 6 pm, in September and October, it closes at 4 pm, and from November to March, it closes at 3 pm.

The last entry is always one hour before closure.

The Zoo remains closed on Christmas Day.

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Best time to visit Whipsnade Zoo

Steam Train at Whipsnade Zoo
Kids love spending time on the steam train at Whipsnade Zoo. Image: Zsl.org

If the weather is good, the best time to visit Whipsnade Zoo is as soon as they open at 10 am.

Early in the morning, the animals are in their most active state, and the crowd is yet to come in.

In the morning, the weather is also pleasant as compared to late afternoons.

If your child is interested in a particular animal(s), check out the keeper talk/ feeding sessions schedule before planning your visit.

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How long does Whipsnade Zoo take

If you visit with kids and want to see all the animal enclosures, attend a few keeper talks and participate in wildlife activities, you will need five to six hours.

If you are in a hurry and want to run through everything at Whipsnade Zoo quickly, you will need at least three hours.

If you want to finish your tour quickly, we recommend the following –

1. Buy Whipsnade Zoo tickets in advance so that you don’t waste time standing in a ticketing queue

2. Pay a nominal fee at the entrance and take in your car. With a car at your disposal, you can drive to the various animal enclosures, thus saving yourself a lot of time

Not sure if you must visit Whipsnade Zoo or London Zoo? Follow the link to find which is a better wildlife attraction.

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Keeper talks and Events

Get the most out of your Whipsnade Zoo experience by participating in the numerous talks and activities organized by the Zoo.

These Whipsnade Zoo events are specially created to bring you closer to nature and its animals.

Lemur Chat

Wake up the Lemurs with the zookeepers at 10.15 am and learn more about the cute animals at the Base camp talk.

Chimp Chat

At 11 am, you can reach Chimp Island and learn about the life of these apes.

Bird show

The Zoo has a variety of exciting birds, and kids love these free-flying bird demonstrations.

There are three bird shows daily – at 11.15 am, at 1.30 pm, and 3.30 pm.

Penguin Talk

At 11.30 am, say hello to the Penguins, who have traveled all the way from Africa.

Bear versus Wolverine

Play a game of trumps and see who is the real predator – Bear or Wolverine?

The face-off starts at noon.

Sea Lion Talk

At noon, you can learn about the lifestyle of the clever Sea Lions and feed them.

The second session with the sea lions starts at 2.30 pm.

Elephant Talk

At 1.30 pm, step into the shoes of an elephant caretaker and see how gigantic and yet graceful these animals are.

Talk on African Hunting Dogs

Get a sneak-peek into the life of these animals and learn about their teamwork at 3.45 pm.

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Whipsnade Zoo’s safari bus

Inside Whipsnade Zoo, you can walk, drive around in your car, or take the Safari Bus.

Keep an eye out for a bright-green colored bus and hop on.

The Safari Bus passes through numerous enclosures, helping you explore the Zoo for free.

Safari bus time table

Whipsnade Zoo’s first Safari bus starts from the Main Gate at 10.15 am.

After a journey time of six minutes, the bus reaches the first enclosure, where the White Rhino lives.

White Rhinos: At 10.21 am (after journey time of 6 mins)
Hippos: At 10.26 am (after 5 mins)
Tigers: At 10.29 am (after 3 mins)
Elephants: At 10.36 am (after 7 mins)
Hullabazoo: At 10.39 am (after 3 mins)

Safari Bus trip from the boarding point (Main Gate) to the last enclosure (Hullabazoo) takes 24 minutes.

A Whipsnade Zoo Safari bus starts from the Main Gate every half hour, following the same schedule.

That is, the second bus of the day leaves the Main Gate at 10.45 am, and so forth.

The timing of the last Safari bus of the day from the Main Gate depends on the Zoo’s closing time.

4 pm closing: Last bus leaves at 3.15 pm
4.30 pm closing: 3.45 pm
5 pm closing: 4.15 pm
5.30 pm closing: 4.45 pm
6 pm closing: 5.15 pm

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The Great Whipsnade Railway

Whipsnade Zoo has two old but impressive steam engines, Excelsior and Superior, which take visitors through the animal enclosures.

These trains from the Great Whipsnade Railway and are a visitor favorite.

During the train safari adventure, you hear exciting commentary and spot animals such as elephants, rhinos, camels, deer, etc.

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Whipsnade Zoo map

At 600 acres (2.4 km2), ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is massive and hosts many animals.

We recommend that you carry a copy of Whipsnade Zoo’s map during your visit.

A map will ensure you don’t get lost and find the animal enclosures easily.

Whipsnade Zoo’s map will also help you figure out visitor services such as the restrooms, restaurants, picnic spots, smoking areas, Safari bus stops, etc.

Whipsnade Zoo Map
Download Print Version / Map Courtesy: Zsl.org

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Food at Whipsnade Zoo

Families planning on saving money usually bring along a picnic.

If you have brought your food to the Zoo, you can use the indoor picnic area near the Butterfly House.

Else you have the option of choosing from the below given six different restaurants –

Base Camp Restaurant

This family-friendly restaurant offers delicious food with fresh and local ingredients.

Don’t keep this visit for the end because this fantastic eating joint closes half an hour before the Zoo’s closing time.

River Cottage kitchen and Deli

This entry overlooking the white rhinos offers delicious food, available in two sizes – for adults and kids.

The River Cottage kitchen closes two hours before the Zoo shuts down.

Visitor center café

Visitor Center Café is the first food joint you will see once you enter the Zoo.

In here, you can grab some deli sandwiches, snacks, and drinks before you start exploring.

This café closes at the Zoo’s closing time.

Hullabazoo Kids Café

Hullabazoo Kids Café is the place to dine if you are visiting with kids.

Don’t miss their Kids’ Bites offer, where one gets five items for 5 Pounds.

This café opens at 10 am.

Station Store Picnic shop

The Station Store eatery is right next to the Great Whipsnade Railway and is open only on weekends and school holidays to cater to the crowd.

The store closes an hour before Zoo’s closing time.

Africa Outpost

Africa Outpost is a sweet lover’s paradise with delicious waffles, ice creams, and treats on sale.

The opening time for this restaurant depends on the weather.

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Whipsnade Zoo reviews

London’s Whipsnade Zoo is a highly-rated tourist attraction.

Check out two Whipsnade Zoo reviews we have picked from Tripadvisor, which give you an idea of what to expect at this Zoo.

Amazing for dates, families, anyone!

I would highly recommend Whipsnade zoo. The enclosures are amazing, and it is wonderful hearing about the work ZSL is doing for these animals – one of the most ethical zoos around. Despite the huge enclosures, we still got to see almost every animal there as they were obviously very happy to wander around and bask in the sun.

It is well worth the ticket price and worth multiple visits.  – Lizabread, Leeds, UK

Amazing day out

Never have I visited a facility with so many enthusiastic, helpful keepers. Almost every exhibit had someone nearby only too happy to chat about the animals. We learned their names, habits, and after sticking around for feeding time, we also could reel off truly memorable photos at most enclosures. This trip was well worth making, and I hope to be a ‘keeper for a day’ soon. – CAmzn, England

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How to reach Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, 58 Kms (36 Miles) North of London.

Address: Whipsnade, Dunstable LU6 2LF, The United Kingdom. Get Directions

If you are a tourist, public transport is the best way to reach the Whipsnade Zoo at Dunstable.

By Train

Luton and Hemel Hempstead are the two train stations closest to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Thameslink train service can get you from St. Pancras to Luton station, and London NorthWestern railways can get you from London Easton to Hemel Hempstead.

Both the train journeys will take you around 30 minutes.

Since Luton and Hemel Hempstead are approximately 16 Kms (10 Miles) from Whipsnade Zoo, you must take a Taxi once you get down at the train station.

A Taxi will take 20 minutes to drop you at the Zoo’s entrance.

By Bus

We recommend the Centrebus route 40 if you want connectivity from Dunstable to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

You can board Bus No 40 at The Quadrant (Stop N3), and after 15 minutes and nine stops, get down at the Whipsnade Wild Animal Park.

Dunstable is 6 Kms (3.7 Miles) from Whipsnade Zoo.

Be aware that on Sundays, this bus doesn’t ply.

By Car

If you live in London, it is best to take out your car and drive down to the Zoo.

The drive from M25 (junction 21) to the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will take you 20 minutes.

You can find your way to the Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable by following the signs available on M1 (Junction 9 and junction 12).

Whipsnade Zoo Parking

Even though ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is not a safari park, it is spread over a vast area.

That’s why some visitors don’t mind paying a nominal fee to take their car inside the Zoo.

Parking costs depend on the time of the year –

Mid-Feb to Oct (summer): 25 Pounds/car
Early Nov to Feb (winter): 12 Pounds/car 

If you don’t want to pay the parking fee, use the free external parking and explore the Zoo by walk/Safari bus.

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Lookout Lodge at Whipsnade Zoo

Fancy spending a night at Whipsnade Zoo, amongst the animals?

The Lookout Lodge overlooks the beautiful Chiltern Downs, and you will have white rhinos and reindeer as neighbors.

Lookout Lodge at Whipsnade Zoo
Image: Zsl.org

The cost of this night’s stay is steep – it ranges between 298 Pounds to 418 Pounds depending on the season.

However, the experience of staying at the Lookout Lodge is like no other.

As part of the stay package, you also get the following:

– One tour of the Whipsnade Zoo at sunset
– One after-dark tour of the Whipsnade Zoo
– One early morning guided tour of the Whipsnade Zoo
– A delicious two-course dinner
– Full English breakfast
– Free entry into ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and ZSL London Zoo for two days


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