There’s no denying that London is heavily tourist driven – guided tours and structured days out come ten a penny (almost literally if you see the money being shaved off them by discounts from sites like Smart Save), but where’s the fun in seeing the exact same sights as everyone else and having a cookie-cutter day-out experience? If you really want to get wild and explore, look no further than the London Wetland Centre.
This tranquil wildlife park plays host to far more species than you would imagine it could possibly hold: even at 105-acres! Over 200 species of bird fly in to the wetlands annually, along with seven species of bats and 20 dragonfly species – this is without mentioning the wetlands’ 450 varieties of plant, dozens of small animal types and eight species of amphibian and reptile. If you’re looking to get wet and wild in the truest sense of the term, there really is no better place.
Open all year round, seven days a week between 9.30am and 5pm (or 6pm in the summer months), the London Wetland Centre is not far from central London and has plenty of transport routes leading in to it making it easy to visit whether you’re in town for a couple of day or just a few hours.
If you’d prefer to explore the murky depths of the wetlands in the dark you can: to celebrate the United Nations’ Year of the Bat, the wetlands are hosting night-time bat walks. You’ll be given a bat detector which picks up the bats’ ultrasonic calls to help you spot the swooping critters in the darkness. Tour groups are kept small and in a question and answer style format so the experience feels quite intimate.
There are plenty of other guided tours offered throughout the day at the London Wetland Centre, or you can choose to be guided individually by an expert through the area. This is ideal for those who want to learn more about the wildlife who live there while venturing away from the set paths that rule the other guided tours.
The London Wetland Centre is a welcome break from the hustle, bustle and tourist over-saturation of central London: not only will you feel more in touch with mother earth after visiting here, you will feel like you have truly experienced something the way no one has before.
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