Marwell Zoo was voted in 2007 as the top place that residents from Hampshire are proud of
Visiting a zoo is one of the most interesting activities that you can do in major cities worldwide, this is why many people usually combine a holiday with a visit to a zoological park; especially for the delight of the little ones in the house; there is nothing more exciting for children than to appreciate different animal species.
Marwell Zoo is one of Hampshire top attractions and probably one of the most beautiful zoological parks in the United Kingdom; it is just 13 kilometres away from Winchester and one and a half hour drive from London; you can combine it with a visit to the picturesque and beautiful city of Winchester, packed with historic building, museums and friendly people.
The 140 acres zoo has over 250 different species; many of them endangered species. I was impressed by the beautiful landscapes and how well many of the animals are cared for, they look very healthy.
My favourite part was the African Valley, near the main restaurant; the view is amazing, it did feel like being in the Savannah (Africa); I was lucky enough to visit the park on a sunny day; the zebras and giraffes were roaming freely in the wide open plains (I do not want to call it enclosure as they have a very large space); if you do not have enough time to explore the whole park this is one stop that you should not miss.
I was also fascinated to see the Cheetahs being fed; it was a unique experience to see the fastest animals on earth eating like they would do in their natural habitat. The Cheetahs are located in the Savannah Tracks. Just a note: it is estimated that there are less than 10,000 Cheetahs living in the wild.
In the Australian Bush Walk you will enjoy the company of wallabies and kookaburras; the beauty of this walk is that there are no barriers and you can get very close to them; your kids will absolutely love it.
I was shocked and surprised to realise how close I could get to the Rhinos in the park; I think it is fantastic to see these large animals so close.
Now, on the negative side a have a few points that I need to raise:
1) I was disappointed to see the deterioration of the empty enclosures; also many of them are being re-furbished or are overgrown with weeds; a good clean is in order to improve the beauty of the park.
2) There are no elephants or lions; however, it is important to point out that the zoo is managed by a charity and only with your support will be possible to bring a different variety of animals.
3) The restaurant is slightly over-priced.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that Marwell Zoo is the perfect place for a day out! I loved it and I am happy to go back anytime. It is also important to note that this recreational area is not just a zoo, it is a conservation park. Support the work of the Marwell Wildlife, a charity dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity.
It opens everyday at 10pm (except for Christmas and Boxing Day). The park closes at 6pm during summer and school holidays and peak days and at 5pm on standard days.
Thompsons Lane, Colden Common, Winchester
If you enjoy travelling, do not forget to read the guides I have prepared for other destinations:
- Visit London; top 10 places to visit in the city of London
- Places to visit in Spain - Andalusia
- Places to see in Manchester
- Bogota; top 10 places to visit in the city of Bogota
- Places to visit in Malaysia - Batu Caves