Edinburgh Zoo

Address: Costorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS, Scotland
Telephone: 0131 334 9171

- Mid-range


Edinburgh Zoo: 82 acres of animal heaven.

Only three miles from Edinburgh, it's ideal for when you need to get away from the urban landscape and the kids need to let off steam. No matter what age however, it is hard not to be impressed at the impressive scale of the zoo and the variety of species on display. Conservation is a big part of the ethos of the zoo and, along with over 1,000 species of animals spread out over this huge area, there are lots of hands-on things for the kids to try, plus talks, specific feeding times to watch and a great play-park where, from a distance, you can't tell if you are watching children or chimpanzees - doing pretty much the same thing in their jungle jim right next door.

There are two places to eat: the cafeteria which is basically a vast canteen selling the standard chips, burgers and dodgy-looking sandwiches. But there is also the original house in the centre of the zoo where, whether you are a member or not, you can go and have a much more grown-up eating experience. But if it's all about the wee kids, then stick to the canteen. There are also lots of booths around selling drinks, ice-cream and sweeties.

The shop in the entrance hall of the zoo is huge and offers all sorts of thing from toy animals to books, games, stocking fillers and lots of great souvenirs.

Oh and don't miss the penguin parade at 2.15pm when the zoo keepers open the enclosure and march the little critters right past you and your amazed toddlers in one long comedic line. It never fails to enchant.

The Zoo Safari will collect you from the entrance gate and drive you up through the zoo if the thought of all that walking is too much.

Value for money

Price advice

Ticket prices: adult £15.50, child £11, concession £13. Family tickets vary in price, from around £33 (one adult, two kids).

Expert tips

Easy parking but on main bus routes too.

Mainly outdoor but there's enough to do inside if the weather isn't great.

2.15pm is the penguin parade, which I recommend highly.

You can book ahead.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Couples
  • Families with younger children
  • First-time travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Education
  • Great views / scenery
  • Nature / wildlife