Date and time

Selected dates from Friday 12 November - Thursday 23 December


Child tickets start from £11 Adult tickets start from £13


Chester Zoo




The Lanterns at Chester Zoo is back for another MAGICAL year, and is set to be as enchanting as ever. Join us as we transform the zoo into a spectacular wonderland, full of sparkle, illumination and plenty of cheer


Join us for The Lanterns as we transform the zoo into a spectacular wonderland! Escape to fantastical worlds, each different from the last, that will take you on an illuminating journey like no other! Be immersed in this magical and uniquely Chester Zoo evening event, giving you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light. Let your imagination run wild, and discover incredible spaces, each filled to the brim with colourful lanterns, spectacular costumed characters and Christmas scenes.

Seeing, truly is believing…


Brought to you by Wild Rumpus

Together with some of our favourite animal lanterns and characters from Christmases gone by, The Lanterns will fill you with Christmas joy and plenty of precious memories, as well as delicious festive food. And remember to keep an eye out for Father Christmas…he could be just around the corner.



Our CHRISTMAS FOOD MARKET is BACK again for another year! Take a moment to refuel with our tasty selection of FESTIVE GOODIES including…

• Traditional Hog Roast
• Bratwurst (Vegan option)
• Yorkshire Pudding Wraps (Vegetarian option)
• Burgers (Vegan option)
• Pigs in Blankets
• Pizza (Vegetarian and Vegan options)

Fancy a festive SWEET TREAT? We have something just for you…

• Churros
• Doughnuts

We also have a variety of hot drinks available. Why not WARM YOURSELF with one of our delicious hot chocolates?!


Child tickets start from £11
Adult tickets start from £13
Children aged 2 and under enter free of charge

Selected dates are available from Friday 12 November –  Thursday 23 December, with timed tickets that give entry every 15 minutes from 4pm to 8.15pm.


For all your other Lanterns-related questions, check out our FAQs below.


Want to plan an unforgettable corporate Christmas party? 

Plan an extraordinary evening at The Oakfield, located at the heart of the zoo. A relaxed, yet grand and elegant pub style setting with great food, entertainment, music and all of the sparkle that you’d expect. Get in touch with our team today!


Happy Christmas from Chester Zoo!

We’re busy pulling together lots of wonderful ideas to bring you some Chester Zoo magic this season.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I book my ticket?

Tickets for The Lanterns are available online here.

What dates are available?

The Lanterns will take place on various dates from Friday 12 November – Thursday 23 December. Check the latest availability for all of our dates, here.

What are the opening and closing times for this event?

To make The Lanterns as safe and as magical as possible we’re offering time tickets giving entry every 15 minutes.

When you book you will be able to select your preferred session time, from 4pm to 8.15pm. The last entry for The Lanterns is 8.30pm and the zoo will close at 9.30pm.

If you’re visiting the zoo during the day you’ll need to go back to the main entrance at 3.30pm when the zoo closes and wait for your arrival time for Lanterns so we recommend booking an earlier session time to avoid having to wait around. Please ensure you have bought a separate zoo admission ticket, or you have a valid member’s card if you want to visit during the day. You can buy your zoo tickets using the ‘BOOK NOW’ tab above.

What is The Lanterns?

Now in our tenth year, The Lanterns is our traditional Christmas event offering a wondrous night time journey around the zoo; with all of the spectacle and magic that our lanterns provide and some unexpected festive encounters too.

The journey around the zoo takes approximately 60 minutes and there are lots of lovely festive feasts for you to enjoy as you travel around.

How much is it?

Prices for The Lanterns range from £13 – £18.50 for adults and £11 – £16 for children, depending on the day that you choose to visit.

Children under the age of 2 years old, and carers come free but please remember to book them a ticket. You can find out the price for the day you’d like to visit here.

If you’re visiting with a free carer please bring proof of entitlement with you when you visit. This can be a PIP Letter or Blue Badge. Thanks!

How will I receive tickets?

If you book online then you’ll receive an email from us with your booking confirmation attached. Bring this booking confirmation with you on the night of your visit to get entry to the zoo.

How can you ensure that the event will be safe?

Since the coronavirus pandemic began our main priority has been to ensure you can visit safely and The Lanterns will be no different. We’ve made some adjustments to the event this year to ensure that there is less interaction with people and we’ve reduced the number of visitors to the zoo each evening to help with social distancing.

To see the rest of our safety advice and read our visitor charter, which lists the things that we need from you, here.

We ask that everyone does their bit to help us by following the social distancing rules and enabling people to stay 2 metres apart wherever possible particularly when buying food and drink and moving around the route.

Please be aware that things might change as government guidance changes so please keep checking back and we’ll let you know of anything that might affect your visit before the night of the event.

I’m a member, do I get discounted tickets?

As this is a special event outside of our usual opening hours members and non-members pay the same price. Events like The Lanterns help us to raise valuable funds to enable Chester Zoo to continue to invest in our mission and the zoo. We really appreciate your support, especially after a really difficult time and we’re sure you’ll be delighted with the experience we’ve planned this year.


What are the parking arrangements? 

There is ample FREE parking at the main entrance to the zoo.

Which parts of the zoo will be open?

The Lanterns follows a specific route around the zoo and our indoor animal habitats will stay closed. You won’t be able to see any of our animals during the event. Please ensure that you stick to the route for your safety and to ensure the wellbeing of animals.

What if the weather is really bad?

Wrap up warm and bring your waterproof clothes and we’re sure you’ll still have a wonderful time and make precious memories that last a lifetime.

If we have very extreme weather we may need to cancel and we’ll be sure to be in touch with you by email (as soon as possible) if this happens. You can find out more about this in our terms and conditions here.

Will I be able to take photographs?

Yes, absolutely and please do share them with us on social media, using #TheLanternsatCZ

Can I bring my own food?

We’ll have lots of delicious food and drink options available to buy on the night but you are more than welcome to bring your own if you would prefer to.

We just ask that you don’t bring any alcohol to the zoo with you.

What is the best way to get to Chester Zoo?

You can find all the directions and options to the zoo here.

What if I can’t visit because I’m self-isolating or in the case of a local or national lockdown because of coronavirus?

Generally our tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable but we’re aware that there are some coronavirus measures that may mean that you need to cancel at short notice.

Also, there may be a risk that we have to cancel if affected by a local or national lockdown. In both of these situations we’ll be in touch to discuss ways that we can exchange your booking for another visit in the future.