Prince Edward visits Bristol Zoo in the year it leaves Clifton site after 186 years

Prince Edward and the children of High Littleton C of E School writing down their favourite Bristol Zoo memories

Prince Edward has visited Bristol Zoo to hear its plans for the future ahead of the closure of its Clifton site.

The Earl of Wessex, who is the Royal Patron for Bristol Zoological society, celebrated the 186th anniversary of the attraction on Monday (11 July).

Bristol Zoo will close its Clifton site in September and move its operation to the Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire.

Plans for more than 200 homes and a public park at the current Bristol Zoo Gardens site were submitted in June.

Prince Edward with volunteers from Bristol Zoological Society

The Earl met with volunteers from the zoo before heading to Gorilla Island to see the troop of eight western lowland gorillas.

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society said: "We were delighted to welcome our Royal Patron, The Earl of Wessex, to Bristol Zoo Gardens.

"His Royal Highness has always shown a great interest in our charity’s conservation and education work and for him to visit on our last anniversary feels very poignant, and means a lot to the team of staff and volunteers. 

“It was fantastic to discuss our plans for the site, which have been developed to ensure our beautiful gardens and its historic buildings can be enjoyed for years to come."

He added: “The sale of the site with planning permission for a residential-led development means we will be able to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society and create a world-leading Bristol Zoo, with conservation at its heart.”

Prince Edward met pupils from High Littleton C of E Primary School during his visit, who presented him with a ribbon on which to write his favourite memory of the zoo.

Prince Edward heard about future plans for Bristol Zoological Society

The royal ribbon, along with those written by the pupils, visitors and staff, will be tied to a bunting exhibit on the zoo’s top terrace.

According to the children, the prince's favourite animals were the gorillas.

The zoo's Clifton site is set to close on September 3 this year.