Wait a sec, London and animals, in one sentence? How do the two match? Not really at first sight, but when we examine it more closely, it makes perfect sense. If we have to believe a report commissioned by the City of London Cooperation, London is the greenest major city in Europe, and the third greenest of its size in the world. And with green areas come animals. London has probably even more of these creatures than you can imagine. Rawr! (Or was this too cheesy?)
ZSL London Zoo
Where else can we find exotic animals in London than in a zoo? The most famous of all zoos in England is probably the London Zoo. Situated on a lovely location in Regent’s Park, lies the Zoological Society of London, featuring all kinds of animals ranging from colorful butterflies, to scary spiders and snakes, and from funny penguins to majestic tigers. What I personally love about this zoo is that they organize all kinds of activities for all ages, such as sunset safaris and workshops. But there are also the popular London Zoo Lates, when the zoo opens late and hosts all kinds of entertainment: street food, music, comedy and inspiration talks, it’s all there during the London Zoo Lates.
Spitalfields City Farm
Moving now to the other side of town, to Brick Lane, where it’s hard to believe that there is a city farm right around the corner. Brick Lane is famous for its vintage clothing market and food halls, but there are actually some adorable animals living on a small farm only one block away. I love to go there especially on a Sunday, when Brick Lane is full of life. I can hide from the hustle and bustle at Spitalfields City Farm when I feel the need to.
The city farms in London, including Spitalfields City Farm, were created to provide local communities with educational and environmental opportunities. For most however, the City Farms are the perfect locations for a nice day out, and a way to escape the hectic London life.
Mudchute Farm and Park
All City Farms in London are admission free and open daily. Also Mudchute Farm and Park, the largest of the city farms. The views from the park of the tall buildings of Canary Wharf are extraordinary. I often get off at the Mudchute DLR Station on my way to Greenwich to spend a few hours in this beautiful park (and I cuddle the sheep when I get the chance…).
Golders Hill Park Zoo
Merely by accident, me and a friend ended up at Golders Hill Park Zoo one day in May. We were walking around in Hampstead Heath, found ourselves totally lost, and suddenly we ended up at a beautiful open field in the middle of the woods. We discovered a few beautiful landscaped gardens, a lovely cafe, a playground and… Animals! We were welcomed by the sound of screaming and chirping birds, some of which I wouldn’t even know the name of. We also found a butterfly house, deers and lemurs. A great surprise during our exploration of Hampstead Heath!
The London zoos and city farms are perfect for a day of escapism with your family or friends. London has more green spaces and animals than you would think. I haven’t even discussed the other city farms, the deers in Richmond Park, or the fox and squirrel ‘plague’ that are there to find.
Note: all photos, opinions and views in this article are as always my own