Foodies visit London for its multicultural culinary diversity, nature-enthusiasts visit for the royal parks, pamper-queens visit for the Montcalm Spa, shopaholics visit for Oxford and Regent Street, and bargain-hunters visit for The Montcalm Club Reward Program. What animal-lovers don’t always realise is that there is an absolute plethora of fun activities for them in London, too. So, if that is you – you are in the right place. Here are seven days out for animal-lovers visiting London.
There is usually a pretty solid overlap between nature-enthusiasts and animal-lovers, making Regent’s Park an absolute necessity for the London bucket list for both of these types of people. The London Zoo is arguably the city’s most impressive day out available for animal-lovers (though it is only one on a lovely, packed list). The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, and continues to provide the world of zoology with a lot of scientific research at the forefront of biodiversity and ecological science. Apart from that, the animals are fantastic: from lion to warthog enclosures, a day out at London Zoo can see you meeting the entire cast of The Lion King or Madagascar before you can say “ROAR!”
Address: The Regent’s Park, Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
Whether you walk or take public transport to Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Bethnal Green from The Montcalm At the Brewery London City, you will be on the doorstep of this cat-lover’s heaven in under half an hour. The resident cats stroll around this double storey hub for coffee, cake, comfort and reading. Though you are not permitted to hold or play with the cats, it is the perfect place to enjoy a piece of cake or get some work done with these furry felines weaving between your legs as you perch on the comfy sofas in the quirkily decorated rooms. There is also an option for afternoon tea, so if the afternoon tea at Montcalm Marble Arch is fully booked, you know where to head as a cat-person. Booking is essential, as it is a very popular destination for both travellers and locals alike.
Address: 152-154, Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG
SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium
On the South Bank of the River Thames, near the London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure, you will find SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium, an absolute epicenter for the world of marine life. This is not just a glorified fish tank, either: you will find penguins, sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish and much more from within this mesmerising location. You can spend the entire day here and not run out of things to do, from self-guided tours of the various zones to talks and events focusing on aquatic diversity and conservation. There are also events for children, making it a fun day out for animal-lovers of all ages.
Address: County Hall, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB
Richmond Park Deer Park
Again, a prime example of where a love of nature goes hand-in-hand with a love of animals: Richmond Park’s Deer Park. This is the largest of the royal parks in London, created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park and has remained a majestic spot to visit ever since, especially in “rut” season. It is also a wonderful way to see some British wildlife without needing to be within the constraints of a zoo – these deer wander freely around the expansive grassland habitat covering 9.55 km².
Address: Richmond Park
Buy tickets: No need. Entry is free.
Natural History Museum
The animals don’t have to be alive for an animal-lover to have a great day out in London – and don’t worry, this is not as grim a suggestion as that may sound. The Natural History Museum in South Kensington is a tribute to the natural world at large, and all the wonderful animals that have been a part of since the dinosaurs ruled the roost. The exhibitions display a vast range of specimens, fossils and skeletons dating back through natural history. It is one of the top three free museums in London, situated on Exhibition Road alongside the Science Museum and the V&A Museum.
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Buy tickets: No need. Just arrive – entry is free.
WWT London Wetland Centre
This centre for bird wildlife in Barnes, managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, is an urban oasis and another example of a great way to see animals in their natural habitat. As you walk through the beautiful natural wetlands, you are likely to stumble across an exciting mix of bird species. You can keep an eye on the website, where they keep you informed of the most recent sightings – this is especially helpful if you are looking to spot something is particular. Otherwise, just walking around is good enough to see the unexpected wetland creatures going about their daily business in the meadows and gardens, from rare swans and ducks to delightful otters and geese.
Address: Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT
The Aviary Montcalm
Animal-lovers need feeding too – and there is no better place to do this than from the Rooftop Restaurant & Terrace Bar at The Montcalm Royal London House, which is bird-themed. Though you won’t be able to see any birds necessarily, you may feel like one from the 10th floor of this sky-high restaurant and bar, which offers bird-themed decor and menus.
Address: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
So, if you thought London was only a prime destination for theatre-lovers and museum-trawlers, and not for animal-lovers, your mind ought to be suitably changed by this point. In fact, London is arguably one of the best spots in the UK if you are looking to enjoy the world of animals and all the associated activities it has to offer.