As a nation of animal lovers, we're treated in the UK with the number of zoos, aquariums and farms we have at our fingertips.


From goat yoga in the countryside to big cat encounters right in the centre of London, there are hundreds of ways to enjoy a unique animal experience.

So, if as a fellow animal fan you fancy getting up close to cuddly creatures this spring, we've assembled a list of the best animal experiences to try in 2023.

Put together by the team at, this list features a huge range of days out centred around the sweetest and snarliest members of the animal kingdom. We've included all creatures great and small, as well as a ton of different ways to interact with them, whether it be feeding them, walking them, or swimming with them.

Some experiences are perfect for little ones to enjoy, while others are best suited for adults only. But never fear, there's something on here for everyone.

The team always tries to keep on top of the best ethical practices when it comes to animal keeping. As such, we’ve only included experiences that put the welfare of the animals first and do not cause them any distress in the process. We have also highlighted below which businesses are known for their ethical practices and conservation efforts.

Now, get otter here and read on for the 16 best animal experiences in the UK!

Best animal experiences at a glance:

Best animal experiences to try in 2023

These are the best animal experiences to try this year. From cuddly creatures to dangerous predators, here is your guide to the best of the animal kingdom.

Visit to London Zoo for four

London zoo
Virgin Experience Days

Right in the centre of London, you can step into the tropical oasis that is London Zoo. One of the most visited zoos in the UK, London Zoo has everything you could want from the animal kingdom. While there, you can visit the Land of the Lions, stop by the new Monkey Valley, or take a look in the man-made coral reef tank.

London Zoo is also a key member of the ZSL (Zoological Society of London), a global conservation charity that uses proceeds to save habitats and wildlife around the world.

Buy Visit to London Zoo for two adults and two children for £130.90 at Virgin Experience Days

This experience would be perfect for the Easter holidays. If you're looking for other spring activities check out our guide to the best Easter LEGO sets.

Feed the Capybaras for Two at Hobbledown Heath

Karen Lau/Unsplash

Get a closer look at the world’s largest rodents with a visit to the capybaras at Hobbledown Heath in Hounslow. With the help of an expert keeper, you’ll get to step inside the enclosure and feed the capybaras yourself. Plus, there’s plenty of opportunities to take photos and ask questions about these lazy animals.

Buy Feed the Capybaras for Two at Hobbledown Heath for £69 at Buyagift

Full Day Wildlife Photography Experience

wildlife photography
Virgin Experience Days

Embrace your artsy side and spend the day capturing some magical moments with this Wildlife Photography Experience. At Millets Wildside in Oxfordshire, you’ll have full access to the falconry centre and get the chance to photograph a range of majestic birds as they fly over water, swoop for prey and land on your arm.

You’ll also get to photograph some of the other live-in animals, such as meerkats, skunks, reptiles. No experience is needed but you will have to bring your own camera for the day.

Buy Full Day Wildlife Photography Experience at Millets Wildside for £99 at Virgin Experience Days

The Zookeeper Experience for Two

zookeeping experience

Become a zookeeper for a day at Hobbledown Epsom and find out if you missed your true calling. During your day of work, you’ll be shown how to prepare and distribute hay to the livestock, feed the meerkats, otters, lemurs and other small animals, and even get to muck in and clean some of the enclosures – lucky you!

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It’s a tiring day, but you’ll come out having fulfilled your dream of working with animals.

Buy The Zookeeper Experience for Two for £189 at Buyagift

Adopt and sponsor an animal

Animal adoption
Into the Blue

If animal conservation is important to you, then you might want to adopt or sponsor an animal from a charity. Simply pick your favourite species and donate to sponsor a specific animal for 12 months.

In return you’ll receive a souvenir pack complete with posters and information about your chosen creature, then you’ll be sent an official adoption certificate and sometimes updates on how your animal is getting on.

Adopt and sponsor an animal from £20 at Into The Blue

Alpaca Walk and Meet the Animals for Two

Alpaca walking
Virgin Experience Days

Alpaca walking has become insanely popular in the last few years. At Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm, they’re all about giving you time with these fluffy friends. With this experience, you’ll receive an introduction where you’ll harness the alpaca yourself before taking it on a leisurely stroll around the grounds. There’ll be plenty of chances to take pictures as you and your alpaca take in the Warwickshire countryside.

Buy Alpaca Walk and Meet the Animals for Two at Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm for £30 at Virgin Experience Days

Yoga with Goats for Two in the Suffolk Countryside

goat yoga best mothers day experience uk 2023
Virgin Experience Days

Here's another new trend from recent years: goat yoga. Over a 75-minute class, you’ll go through the classic yoga experience with a goat companion at your side. Surrounded by trees and nature, you’ll discover how soothing this practice truly is.

Buy Yoga with Goats for Two in the Suffolk Countryside for £36 at Virgin Experience Days

Half Day Beekeeping Experience

Virgin Experience Days

Learn the art of beekeeping with a three-hour course at More Bees Please in Sheffield. During the workshop, your instructors will teach you all about the business of bees, from their life cycle and colonies to how to harvest and sell honey. You’ll also get the chance to sample some of their sustainably sourced honey before you go.

Buy Half Day Beekeeping Experience for £60 at Virgin Experience Days

Piggy Walk & Play Experience for One with Sweet Treats and Tea for Two

Pig walking
Virgin Experience Days

If you go down to the Woods today you’re sure of a pig surprise. At Huckleberry Woods this spring, you can a walk with your very own micro pig. After that, you can go and meet the six other little pigs in the paddock before sitting down for a nice cup of tea with a friend.

Buy Piggy Walk & Play Experience for One with Sweet Treats and Tea for Two for £72 at Virgin Experience Days

Dolphin Watching for Two

Dolphin watching
Virgin Experience Days

You might not know that you can see dolphins off the coast of the UK, but it’s true. Cardigan Bay in north Wales is one of the best spots in Europe for dolphin watching, with a semi-resident population of bottlenose dolphins. On this experience, your guide will take you out to the best locations for dolphin spotting while giving you plenty of facts along the way.

Cardigan Bay is a Special Area of Conservation so you might also get to see other species, such as harbour porpoises, Atlantic grey seals and sunfish.

Buy Dolphin Watching for Two for £75 at Virgin Experience Days

The Bear Grylls Shark Dive Experience

Hen do shark dive
Virgin Experience Days

Descend into the depths and face your fears with this shark diving experience at the Bear Grylls Adventure centre in the West Midlands. For this day out, you’ll be geared up with scuba equipment and briefed by the pro dive team before you head down into the tank, filled with over 1,000 creatures including sharks, rays and tropical fish.

Buy The Bear Grylls Shark Dive Experience for £135 at Bear Grylls adventure

Sea Life VIP Experiences

Sea life
Sea Life Birmingham

At Sea Life Birmingham, you can pick from a range of VIP experiences to enhance your day at the aquarium. You can choose Scatter Feed, where you’ll be able to feed some of the smaller animals from up close; Ocean Feed, which gives you a behind-the-scenes look the UK's only 360 degree Ocean Tunnel; and Sharks After Dark, a private after-hours tour of the building and it’s scariest inhabitants.

Buy Sea Life VIP Experiences from £45 at Sea Life

Scottish Wildlife Cruise of Mallaig

Scottish cruise
Experience Days

Spot whales, sharks and dolphins off the coast of Mallaig in Scotland. On your cruise, you’ll get to admire the rugged coastline and keep an eye out for animals as you pass the Isles of Skye and Loch Nevis.

Buy Scottish Wildlife Cruise of Mallaig from £18 at Experience Days

Large Dog Spa Pamper Treatment

Dog spa treatment
Red Letter Days

Give your good boy the pamper they deserve with a large dog spa treatment. At a spa in Farnborough, your best friend will get treated in the best way with chemical- and cruelty-free products. Over the course of the session, they’ll get a hydro-massage bath with aromatherapy shampoo, a gentle blow dry, a full body brushing and a trim of the eyes, feet and private area.

Buy Large Dog Spa Pamper Treatment for £110 at Red Letter Days

Sheepdog Training Day

sheepdog training
Virgin Experience Days

Come-by! Out on the Yorkshire moors you can live like a real farmer by learning to train a sheep dog. With expert guidance, you’ll learn all the instructions and techniques that come with herding sheep and get the chance to bond with a very clever breed.

Buy Sheepdog Training Day for £99.99 at Virgin Experience Days

Big Cat Encounter

big cat encounter
Virgin Experience Days

See some of nature’s fiercest predators at the Big Cat Sanctuary. Home to over 45 cat species including African lions, Sumatran tigers, Amur leopards, jaguars and snow leopards, the sanctuary is dedicated to saving some of the most endangered cats on the planet. With this visit, you can take an exclusive tour of the different cat breeds and even get to hand-feed one.

Buy Big Cat Encounter for £249.99 at Virgin Experience Days


For more unique days out, take a look at our list of the best F1 experience days and the best immersive experiences. Or, if you want to know how to turn some of these great experiences into a gift, check out how to buy a Virgin Experience Days gift card.