Visiting Whipsnade Zoo: How to Get There by Train

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Written by our Web Team

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4 min read | 31 May 2024

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a wildlife experience that goes beyond lions, tigers, and bears. The UK’s biggest zoo is also a research centre for global conservation. So visitors can learn all about the work they’re doing to preserve the natural world.

Whipsnade Zoo is a great option for a cheap London day out with the kids. There’s an aquarium, a penguin pool, and stunning views of the Chiltern Hills as you walk around the site.

Here’s what to expect from your visit, details of where Whipsnade Zoo is and directions for how to get there by train.

An elephant cleans itself at Whipsnade Zoo.

Why visit Whipsnade Zoo?

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo started life as a dilapidated farm. Opening in 1931, it soon gained a reputation as an ‘open’ zoo, where visitors could see big animals in spacious surroundings. 

The zoo is now home to around 10,000 animals, residents include cheetahs, elephants, rare bats, and butterflies.

These days, the site covers 600 acres of land and plays an important role in protecting endangered species. Science is at its very heart, and the zoo has a history of helping rare breeds. Its mission is to increase visitors’ understanding of the natural world.

The zoo is open at 10 am every day except Christmas Day. The last entry ranges from 3 pm to 5 pm depending on the season. Please note the animal houses shut 15 minutes before closing time. 

Most food and drink outlets open at 10 am, apart from Base Camp BBQ and Viewpoint Kitchen Restaurant, which open at noon.

Feed the Tigers

Get an introduction to the world’s biggest cat, the Amur tiger. After a briefing, you’ll serve lunch to the cats while a zookeeper tells you all about them. The zoo keeps group sizes small so everyone can take part.

The experience runs from 11 am on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Only people aged 12 or over are allowed in, and children under 16 must have an adult with them. Entry is £84 per person.

Ride the Great Whipsnade Railway

After taking a mainline train to Whipsnade Zoo, you can hop on the park’s very own Jumbo Express steam train. Sitting in a carriage, you can spot the animals as you travel the route. 

You can get tokens from the Station Store, which opens at 11:45 am. The fare is £4.50 for adults and £2 for children aged three to 15. Train and opening times vary according to the seasons, so always check in advance.

Stay in a Lockout Lodge

Book a sleepover in a wooden cabin to see the zoo in a very different light. An overnight stay gets you two full days of access and three guided tours, including one at night.

Play Indoors

Hullabazoo Indoor Play area is great for having fun in the wet weather. Children will love roaming around the different habitats. 

With a maximum age limit of 10 years old, each booking includes up to two adults. You’ll need to pre-book a 45-minute time slot, but sessions are free with your zoo admission.

A close up of a rare butterfly living at Whipsnade Zoo.

How to get to Whipsnade Zoo by train

Just 35 miles north of the capital, the zoo is a great day trip from London. With bus services running from nearby train stations, read on to find directions to Whipsnade Zoo via public transport.

Nearest train station to Whipsnade Zoo

The nearest station is Hemel Hempstead, about 10 miles from Whipsnade. A connecting Centrebus runs from Hemel Hempstead between Monday and Saturday, or you take a cab for the final leg. 

Popular train routes to Whipsnade Zoo

It’s possible to get the train to Whipsnade Zoo from various locations in the UK.

From London Euston to Hemel Hempstead

Travel time from London Euston to Hemel Hempstead is about 25 minutes. The first train of the day is at 4:35 am on weekdays and 6:55 am on weekends. 

From Manchester Piccadilly to Milton Keynes Central

Travel time from Manchester Piccadilly to Milton Keynes is just over one and a half hours, making it an easy day trip. From Milton Keynes, it’s around 20 miles to the zoo.

The first weekday train leaves at 5:05 am and 8:05 am on weekends. 

From Birmingham New Street to Milton Keynes Central

Travel time from Birmingham New Street to Milton Keynes is an hour. The first train on weekdays is at 5:30 am, 5:50 am Saturday and 8:00 am on Sunday.

From Brighton to Luton Parkway

Travel time from Brighton to Luton Parkway is around two hours. From Luton, you can complete the remaining 10 miles of your journey by cab. The first train of the day is just after midnight.

Two tigers look out from the grass at Whipsnade Zoo.

Getting to Whipsnade Zoo by train

Start a day trip to this sprawling wildlife park by relaxing on a train. Whipsnade Zoo train times are regular, so you could combine your visit with a train to ZSL London Zoo too. 

Plus, if you plan ahead and book an Advance ticket, you’ll enjoy great savings. Those with a Railcard could also save up to one-third on their fares. So you can spend what you save on special treats at Whipsnade Zoo.

Heading to Whipsnade Zoo?

You can buy your tickets through Avanti West Coast. Buy your tickets directly to save on fees. You can save even more by booking as a group, booking in advance or buying a Railcard.

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