ES News email

A rush of customers attempting to buy tickets ahead of the reopening of London Zoo has caused the website to crash.

The Regent’s Park zoo temporarily closed in March after the Government implemented nation-wide lockdown restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The online shop said it was “struggling to keep up” on Thursday afternoon as customers reported receiving error messages when they tried to reserve some of the limited slots available from next Monday.

Responding on Twitter, the zoo said that the site was “bending under the pressure of the volume of people booking”.

In another message, it told customers the “poor website hasn’t seen this volume of visitors in a long time”.

Zoos in England have been given the green light to welcome back visitors from June 15 for the first time since lockdown, provided social- distancing measures are in place and indoor attractions remain closed.

Numbers of visitors will also have to be restricted, and the Regent’s Park attraction is ensuring customers maintain space by painting coloured paw prints on the ground to mark one-way systems.

A spokesman for the city attraction said they were “truly moved” by the “huge demand” for tickets.

They added: “The sheer volume of people heading to our website has been so encouraging and we’re working to get all tickets processed as quickly as possible – it’s testament to how excited people are about finally being able to safely enjoy a great day out at one of our two zoos next week.”

Later on Thursday afternoon the zoo said it had temporarily closed its online ticket system.

“Our website has been overwhelmed with visitors and we can only apologise for the frustration,” said the zoo on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the park’s boss Kathryn England said the team was “ready to go and really looking forward to welcoming people back” after their finances struggled during the pandemic.

Ms England described the zoo as “breathing a sigh of relief” at the Government announcement that it could reopen.

“It’s been tough, it’s been really tough through a financial lens,” she said. “We’ve really drained down our savings.”