Go Wild With the Family: The Best UK Zoos to Visit Near Macdonald Hotels

22 March 2024

See the Animals and Stay in Luxury with Macdonald Hotels

This week, Chester Zoo welcomed a pair of snow leopards - the first time in their 93-year history that they've provided a home for these magnificent and highly-threatened animals.

The male and female pair, named Yashin and Nubra respectively, have taken up residence in a specially-created enclosure built to authentically recreate the Himalayan terrain where their species is found.

Having arrived at Chester from other zoos in Europe, it's hoped that the pair will get on so well that they eventually breed.

To celebrate their arrival, and while we wait for possibly the cutest cubs in the animal kingdom to arrive, let's take a look at some of the UK's best zoos near Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, including some very special offers for the fauna-loving families among us.

Chester Zoo

Chester's two new snow leopards will be settling in next to tigers, two-toed sloths and tree kangaroos - among countless other creatures. And with conservation and education at the forefront of all their activities, there's little wonder Chester Zoo is the most visited zoo in the UK.

To see these famous felines and more, take advantage of our Chester Zoo Break - comprising overnight accommodation at nearby Macdonald Craxton Wood, full English breakfast, and a family zoo ticket from just £120. The offer is available until the end of 2024, so perhaps the snow leopards will be sharing their space with some small but perfectly-formed paws by the time you arrive.

Marwell Zoo

Five Sisters Zoo, West Lothian

Embark on an exotic adventure at Five Sisters Zoo and encounter over 160 species from across the globe. Get up close (but not too close) with Scotland's sole cheetah, discover the zoo's work with rescued brown bears, roam the reptile house, and coo over the cute Asian otters.

Our special offer at nearby Macdonald Houstoun House offers a family of four the chance to enjoy an unforgettable family break, including free passes to Five Sisters Zoo, until the end of September 2024. Simply book an overnight stay including breakfast for two adults and two children, starting at just £229, and you can see the animals on us.

Lemur, Marwell Zoo

Blair Drummond Safari Park, Stirling

Spanning 160 acres, Blair Drummond Safari Park offers a variety of animal encounters and activities. Take a vehicle safari to see rhinos, antelopes, camels, and lions, or explore on foot to discover over 300 species, including giraffes from a viewing platform. Enjoy sealion shows, bird of prey displays, Chimp Island, and a prehistoric forest with animatronic dinosaurs. Kids can have fun at the mini funfair and adventure playground, ensuring excitement for the whole family.

Enjoy a family break at Macdonald Inchyra or Forest Hills, inclusive of a family ticket to Blair Drummond, from just £239 until 31st October 2024.

A pair of giraffes

Highland Wildlife Park, Cairngorms

Uncover the wonders of Scottish and world wildlife at Highland Wildlife Park.

Home to a diverse array of animals from across the globe, the park offers an exciting adventure. Drive through and get up close to creatures such as deer, elk, and bison, before continuing your exploration on foot.

Meet Walker the polar bear and his companions, and visit Kitty and Kevyn, the red pandas, along with many other residents of the park. Feel free to drive around the main reserve as many times as you like, ensuring you won't miss a whisker.

Marwell Zoo, Hampshire

Just under an hour's drive from Macdonald Elmers Court is Marwell Zoo - an ideal family day out. With hundreds of animals and vast parkland, including five adventure playgrounds, there's something for all ages to enjoy.

Go on safari through 140 acres of stunning parkland and encounter giraffes, snow leopards, hippos, zebras, penguins, and a crash (that's the collective noun) of endangered white rhinoceroses. Plus, don't miss the two-tiered Tropical House, with plenty of curious creatures residing in the treetop canopy and forest floor. Family tickets are available from £85.

Penguins, Marwell Zoo

South Lakes Safari Zoo, Cumbria

Next time you're in the Lake District, herd the family along to South Lakes Safari Zoo for an unforgettable afternoon of animal antics. Just 45 minutes from Macdonald Old England Hotel, on the edge of Lake Windermere, you'll encounter over 1,000 critters, including rare and endangered species, and of course their famous collection of majestic big cats in their specially-designed happy habitats. Guests at Old England can save 25% off tickets. Just enquire at Reception.

Walk among kangaroos, wallabies, and emus; mingle with lemurs, squirrel monkeys, and tamarins; and don't miss the walk-in aviary where colourful birds soar freely - just don't forget to duck.

Tiger, South Lakes Safari Zoo