WITH lockdown gradually easing and zoos having reopened over recent months, an animal attraction has named as one of the top 10 in the country – closer to home than you may think.

Gauntlet Birds of Prey – Eagle and Vulture Park in Knutsford, has finished in eighth place in Parkdean Resorts’ rankings.

It is home to a range of owls, eagles, vultures, falcons, hawks and other species.

The bird of prey centre scored 67.6 out of 100 in the Index, which focused on BIAZA accredited zoos.

They are the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which represent the best zoos and aquariums in Britain and Ireland.

The association ensures that its members are chosen for their excellent animal welfare, education and conservation work, so the list promotes the most ethical visits.

And it is Manchester Road’s animal attraction that bags a top ten spot based on that.

Despite having 46 species, less than some others on the list (the largest Chester Zoo with 500), it also ranks highly on TripAdvisor with 85 per cent of reviews being five stars.

Entry is priced at £8.50, which is the fifth cheapest in the table.

Gauntlet’s Birds of Prey was the only Cheshire venue in the top ten, topped by Tilgate Nature Centre in West Sussex.

That was followed by Kirkleatham Owl Centre, Five Sisters Zoo, Wild Discovery, Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park, Colchester Zoo, Exmoor Zoological Park before the Knutsford park.

The ninth and tenth places were made up by the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Gloucestershire and Wild Zoological Park in Staffordshire.

Chester Zoo did also top a separate list for the most five-star reviews on TripAdvisor – which stands at 10,320.