A day out at Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade Zoo Penguins

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After I had my yearly trip to the Philippines cancelled because of the rona, I was disappointed so I booked a little cheap holiday to Spain. Alas, it also got cancelled, and further to that in the middle of my annual leave lockdown two happened. Not to sound like a spoiled brat, but having annual leave without an actual holiday is as upsetting as being in a shop with no money.

But I forced myself to focus on the positives. I’m alive and well (which is something to celebrate considering I recently spent two weeks in hospital for an accidental promethazine overdose), I have a lovely safe warm house, and I can work from home efficiently. During a worldwide pandemic, that is a pretty lucky draw. I decided to count my blessings and enjoy my annual leave anyway. You’d be surprised how good drinking tea and watching Gilmore Girls is for your mental health.

On one of the days I went to Whipsnade Zoo for the day. I’ve already been to London Zoo, and Colchester is just down the road from me, so I was keen to visit somewhere different. One of the first things you need to know about Whipsnade Zoo is that it is MASSIVE. My Mum and I both did fifteen thousand steps. If you have younger children, a buggy would be essential, and for older kids make sure they are up for a good walk.

Whipsnade Zoo is just outside of London in Dunstable. When we first pulled up, I couldn’t really see the entrance and the car park looked pretty small. Little did I know. There is so much to see, it is hard to know where to start. I’m quite partial to a ring-tailed Lemur, so we started with those. I did get a bit sad when we saw them, because they were all huddled round a heater. I can’t imagine it’s very nice to be hauled out of a hot country like Madagascar and plonked down in Bedfordshire. Because there was so much to see, we moved pretty quickly through the Chimpanzees and the Cheetahs. Cheetahs coats in real life absolutely amaze me.

One of my favourite things about Whipsnade is that they group together their animals geographically. So there is an “Asia” section and “Africa” etc. The overall floor plan of Whipsnade is great because there is so much space. if you are going to visit, please prepare in advance for a bit of walking. and don’t miss the Penguins. They are rock hopper ones and they are super cute.

We didn’t have lunch in the actual zoo, but we got a couple of drinks at the River Cottage Deli but it was pretty steep, I think it was £15 for four cold drinks, a biscuit and a cup of tea. At one point we saw a man with a wheely (like a suitcase) travel case filled with drinks and snacks. I thought to myself “here is a man who has got his life together”. There were a fair few families there as it was half term. My favourite thing I overheard during the day?

“Are you EATING a stick?”


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