18 Jun 2014
New arrival, Bernardo the spectacled bear

We scooped the accolade at the prestigious 2014 Group Travel Awards at a ceremony held in London – beating off competition from the likes of Yorkshire Wildlife Park, London Zoo, National SEA LIFE Centre and West Midlands Safari Park.

Our marketing officer Julie Griffin said:

“This is the first time we’ve won this award and we’re very, very pleased indeed – particularly as it’s voted for by those working in the travel industry who have been to the zoo, experienced what we have to offer and cast their vote on the back of their visit.

“The zoo is constantly evolving and offering visitors something different to see and experience – whether that’s a new animal, such as spectacled bear Bernardo who has just arrived from America, or the opening of a new venture such as our ice-cream parlour. Looking ahead, we’ll be opening our major new attraction Islands which will take visitors on their very own conservation expedition when it launches in spring next year.”

Islands – the biggest and most ambitious development in UK zoo history – will open at the zoo in spring 2015. Visitors will set off on an expedition – moving through detailed recreations of habitats in the Philippines, Bali, Sulawesi, Papua, Sumba and Sumatra. They’ll walk over bridges, travel in boats and see buildings that are architecturally identical to those found in south east Asia.

Visitors will see species such as warty pigs, banteng cattle, cassowaries, Sumatran tigers, Sulawesi macaques, Sumatran orangutans and sunda gharial crocodiles along the way.

Julie added:

“Islands is all about immersion – we’re looking to take our visitors on an adventure where, for a couple of hours, they feel like they’re in south east Asia. There’s nothing else like it in the UK.”

Groups, tour operators, coach companies and travel agents will be able to ensure their parties are amongst the first to experience Islands with bookings being taken from June 2014, with special advanced rates available for groups who book before December this year.

The Group Travel Awards are voted for by readers of Group Travel Organiser magazine. It recognises all the very best suppliers to the group travel industry from hotels and resorts to airlines and cruise lines.

Group admissions

  • Bookings are available for groups of 15 or more paying visitors and can be made by calling the events and sales team on 0870 720 1507 or email groups@chesterzoo.org
  • Familiarisation trips are available for group party organisers. For details contact Julie Griffin – j.griffin@chesterzoo.org
  • Free coach parking and coach driver admission. Coach parking is available at the Diamond Jubilee Quarter
  • 2015 admission ticket – advance trade exclusive (for bookings made before 31 December 2014)
  • One ticket covers both the zoo and Islands.

Group rate for 15 or more paying visitors:

  • Adult: £17.50
  • Children (3-15 years): £14.50
  • Infant (aged 2 and under): Free
  • Full time students and 65+: £16
  • Carer (accompanying a disabled guest): Free