Dudley Zoo has long been the home to some of the world's biggest, rarest and most exotic animals. Among the many endangered species, the zoo is helping save the Asiatic lions, Sumatran tigers, lemurs and penguins. Apart from the animals, the zoo has events and other attractions throughout the year.
Dudley Zoo is unique in our experiences because the zoo is located on a hill with a large castle integrated as part of the grounds. You walk a circular route up the hill with the animal exhibits viewed along the way. At the top of the hill you find the remains of Dudley Castle which was founded in the Norman style around 1071.
The castle was rebuild in 1530 as a Renaissance palace by John Dudley who was later beheaded by Queen Mary for hatching the ill-fated plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne. During the Civil War the Castle was a Royalist stronghold but surrendered in 1646 following the defeat of Charles I at Naseby.
The living accommodation was used by the Earls of Dudley until 1750 when it was gutted by a huge fire which burned for three days. By then the family had moved to nearby Himley Hall, but continued to hold the site and were responsible for founding Dudley Zoo in 1937.
Throughout the year costumed talks about the history of the site and the people who lived there are available. There is a Visitor Center where you can find out what really went on in the house and grounds. For those who like to enter into the spirit of the occasion there are Ghost Walks where you may bump into one of the infamous characters that are reputed to haunt the site. In addition, you can attend ‘living history’ weekends, medieval re-enactments and archery demonstrations in the Courtyard.