Islands at Chester Zoo: The Best Exotic Family Break

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I love a good zoo. I’ve been lucky enough to visit zoos all over the world, and Chester Zoo is just about my favourite – full of wide open spaces for its animals to roam, gorgeous botanical gardens and just a stone’s throw from beautiful Chester too, it has everything.

And the best just got better. New this year, Chester Zoo welcome the stunning ‘Islands’ area of the park; inspired by the wildlife of South-East Asia, you can see stunning plantlife, Orangutans and Sumatran Tigers, and lots more creatures big and small. A little slice of Indonesia in Cheshire, for my money it’s the very best exotic family break you can have in the UK this year!

Sulawesi Macaque

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Phase one of the ‘Islands’ area has now opened to visitors, and there’s much to see and do already… take a trip on the Lazy River boat trip, a relaxed way to immerse yourself in the world of ‘Islands’. You can see the Panay, Papua, Sumba and Sulawesi areas from now, and fascinating animals like the Cassowary, and the Visayan warty pig.

Later this summer the rest of ‘Islands’ will open, and visitors will be able to explore the whole of this highly-anticipated area for the first time. Phase two includes the new homes of the Orangutans and the Macaques, the Bali Starling Temple and the Monsoon Forest – the UK’s largest indoor zoo exhibit.

Five years in the making, ‘Islands’ is an all-round unique experience for this country – the ambitious project has cost the zoo around £40 million, but this investment can clearly be seen in its extraordinary attention to detail.  As educational as it is exotic, it’s a great way for kids (and adults) to explore the environment and culture of a little-seen part of the world.

The fact that astounds me most about ‘Islands’ however is that it, alone, is the size of 7 full-size football pitches! It’s incredibly vast, and incredibly impressive. There’s so much to see and do, you can easily spend a whole day exploring – all the more reason to find a hotel near Chester Zoo and make a break of it!

With Chester Zoo, loads of history, great bars & restaurants and fabulous shopping both in the centre and at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, the city of Chester has something for everyone. It’s my top tip for a family break this summer.

Are you a fan of Chester Zoo? Tell us about your experience in our comments section below!