THE UK's most visited tourist attraction outside of London is offering 35,000 free school trip places.

It is the second year Chester Zoo has offered free places for school children after a successful trial in 2017. 

Conservationists hope that visiting the zoo will be the start of a lifelong conservation journey for many school children - some of whom could go on to play a crucial role in preventing the extinction of wildlife for years to come.

The zoo initially allocated some of the free places earlier this year but is now opening up the scheme more widely and encouraging schools who have not taken up the offer before to apply.

Charlotte Smith, head of discovery and learning at the zoo, said: "Inspiring a new generation of conservationists could be the key to preventing the extinction of species in years to come.

"We want to encourage as many children through our gates as possible and we hope to remove as many barriers as we can to create opportunities young people may never have had before. It is time to act for wildlife."

The free school places scheme is available for pupils from reception age to year 13, for weekday visits between December 2018 to 28 February 2019, during the Cheshire West and Chester region term time.

There is a maximum capacity of bookings per day to avoid overcrowding.

It is only eligible to those schools who didn’t take advantage of the free admission offer between November 2017 and February 2018. 

For full details and to book your visit, click here.