SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Attractions , Zoos and aquariums South Bank
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(16 user reviews)
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SEA LIFE London Aquarium
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Crab (Michelle Grant / Time Out)
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Michelle Grant / Time Out
Visitor enjoying the fish (Michelle Grant / Time Out)
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Michelle Grant / Time Out
 (© Sea Life London Aquarium)
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© Sea Life London Aquarium

Walk through, over and under colourful aquatic worlds from the tropical to the Arctic at one of London’s busiest attractions

It’s hard to imagine, when you’re standing outside County Hall, that you’re going to find sharks and penguins inside what used to be a boring old council building. But give them their dues – Sea Life has created a pretty impressive aquatic wonderland right here in Zone One.

You can go at your own pace, but Sea Life London Aquarium follows a set route, so you won’t miss anything. Start with a walk over the glass window that peeks down to the Pacific waters display. This section is called Shark Walk – the clue’s in the name. You then come to the ‘Atlantic Depths’ – with its sand eels and octopus – and the ‘Tidal Reach’ collection of creatures from British waters. You have to feel for the jellyfish and pipefish here. Life in our seas and rivers just doesn’t seem as exciting as the colourful exotica you get when you move through to the Ray Lagoon and the fabulous purple tangs, triggerfish and stripy snapper of the Dive Discovery tropical waters.

Along with rockpool displays of brightly coloured anemones and the gliding green sea turtles that swoop past overhead as you walk through the Ocean Tunnel, there’s a chance to get down deep with the sharks as you peer into the Pacific Wreck gallery and see if you can find Nemo among the clownfish in the Coral Reef zone.

There is lots to take in here, especially if you visit off peak, when the crowds aren’t too bad. The route continues with a display dedicated to seahorses and an area that reflects the humid setting of the rainforest, where you’ll see piranhas, a Cuban crocodile and poison dart frogs. Nothing causes a stir quite like a meal time, so check the website for the many different feeding sessions, which are hosted daily during visitor hours, and time your trip so you catch the ones you want to see most.

Sea Life also carries out research and conservation work, and the Thames Walk experience (opened in summer 2015) reveals some of the insights into life in the waters that flow just outside the aquarium, and the work done to make them a cleaner environment in which fish can thrive. The Breed Rescue Project display invites budding marine biologists of all ages to find out more.

Venue name: SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Contact:
Address: County Hall
Riverside Building
Westminster Bridge Rd
London
SE1 7PB
Opening hours: Open Mon–Fri 10am–7pm (last entry 6pm); Sat–Sun 9am–7pm (last entry 6pm). Closed Dec 25. The aquarium opens for longer hours during school holidays, check website for details
Transport: Tube: Westminster or Waterloo
Price: From (adv online) £19.50, £14.50 under-16s, free under-threes. Tickets on the door will cost more
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Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
LiveReviews|16
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Anaelle
Tastemaker

Fancy a tour down the aquarium? Don’t! It’s not worth the ridiculous price.


Sure the shark tunnel is cool and the animals are great (especially the rays – who knew they could be so funny?), but the place itself gives such a sad experience it needs to be avoided at all costs. Situated in a dark basement, it feels quite grim. The place is too old and tiny to be enjoyable for you or comfortable for the animals. Plus, with numerous photo booths and souvenir stands, it’s so salesy, it kills the ambiance.


So, trust me, give it a miss.

Tara P
Tastemaker

As aquariums go, this Sea Life centre certainly isn't the best (if you're looking for an awesome UK aquarium, try The Deep in Hull). It's a cramped space, with narrow walkways that make it difficult to see anything if you're there at a busy time. On a normal day, it's overpriced. The exception to this rule are the adults-only lates events, which see far fewer visitors and have a reasonable ticket price (if booked far ahead) that includes a glass of fizz. This was a truly fun evening, where you could take a leisurely stroll, stroke some starfish and sip at your glass of vino. I actually preferred it to the Zoo lates: with fewer guests and less of the 'outdoor drinking' atmosphere, it was much calmer and the guests didn't seem to be impacting negatively on our underwater friends, which was always a concern at the Zoo. In all, there are much better places in London for a family day out, but for those adults looking for an interesting pre-dinner experience, the lates are ace!

Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Recently went on a Friday afternoon to the aquarium lates. At £15 inc a glass of fizz and with no kids allowed i thought it was a really good hour or so to spend before Friday dinner however at the usual price of £30 on a busy weekend - well that's just a rip off and I would rate it 2*. Great for kids but just so over priced.

As it was we didn't get to see the Penguins and the place isn't actually that big but the Sharks were impressive and there were lots of staff around to talk about the fish which was interesting. It was also in collab with Lego so there were tables full of it to play with. 
Would recommend the adults lates - think there is one in September and tickets for the early bird price are reasonably priced.

jeaniekarl
Tastemaker

Along side Waterloo is the enchanting London aquarium where you can see sharks, turtles and penguins oh my. The set out is quite relaxing there are plenty of fun facts to keep the visitor entertained and amused. Having visited other aquariums this one is fairly small in comparison. With all the aquatics and the blue planet life there is something quite hypnotic about it all. There are obligatory cheesy photo opportunities at the beginning that the staff will try their hardest to persuade you to buy. There will lots of events and activities to keep kids amused and offer late evening visits if you prefer to explore during quieter and less chaotic times.

Sarah P

Lots to see but unable to see most of it as they don't limit the number of people in there. Had my son's buggy with me - impossible. Only care about the takings, not about visitor experience. My daughter enjoyed the parts she did manage to see but will not be returning anytime soon. The ones outside of the city are much more user-friendly.

Luke

Very very fun the aquarium is.It has loads of amazing animalls.Its very fun when you get to tuch a star fish and a crab!Plus if you go to the London zoo it is very cold in the winter so you should go to the London aquarium in the winter.

mm

overpriced tourist trap-avoid and go to London zoo instead. shuffle around in tight corridors and end up in the shop of all places, couldn't wait to get out!

Samantha

We went for my housemates 21st birthday, were allowed to touch starfish and anemones also given stickers.

kim

I loved the `rays`.....they were really sweet, not what i imagined, very inquisitive ....Sea horses have to be another firm favourite.....but unfortunatly for larger animals i feel the tanks vast as they are still need to be a lot bigger and I also feel that these wild animals should maybe be left in the wild....to be free , not to be gawped at by 100s people daily......We got a 2-4-1 offer off peak rate so it wasnt too expensive. The penguins looked really `hacked off` standing there with the painted scene of the arctic? in the background......i felt they really should`nt be there!! a member of staff commented that the penguins were the main attraction so no chance of those guys getting their freedom soon then....i really dont know now where i stand in this day & age about Zoos, unless its `vital conservation` and even so species will come and go through the ages as they`ve always done so. ...similar stuff around circus`s...who now have Very few animals as acts......a sign of changing consciousness

Bob

Do yourself a favour, give it a miss and go somewhere else like London Zoo (same price but much more variety and pleasanter) or the Museums (free). This place is overpriced, over-rated and a blight on the landscape. £70 to for a family to queue up for an hour then get shuffled around quickly looking at fish in glass tanks.

Melly

rather expensive, but definitely fascinating, especially the giant sea turtle, the sharks and the underwater tunnel.

Accepts Time Out Card

30% off Tickets

Adult £17.50 (was £24.50), Child £12.67 (was £18.10). Not valid in conjunction with other offers. Booking 24 hours in advance essential. Call 0871 222 4001, quote DISCOVER and bring your Time Out Card on the day. Subject to availability. Please select More Details for opening times.

Offer expires 31 December 2016. This offer can be redeemed between 10am and 7pm. Don’t have a Time Out Card? Get yours here.