SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Time Out says
Walk through, over and under colourful aquatic worlds from the tropical to the Arctic at one of London’s busiest attractions
It’s not every day that you see sharks and penguins in London, but on the South Bank you can. Almost literally, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that Sea Life London Aquarium is closed on Christmas day. Thousands of tourists and local alike visit this old council building daily, which has been home to a remarkable watery wonderland since 1997.
Upon entering – over a glass window that peeks down to the Pacific waters display – you’ll follow a winding route through every attraction in the building. Wade into Shark Walk before reaching the Atlantic Depths (look out for sand eels and octopuses here) and then drifting into Tidal Reach, which houses creatures common to British waters. Life gets a little more exotic and vibrant as the display merges into the Ray Lagoon and 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.
Visit during off-peak hours if you can, in order to avoid the usual hordes and get a better glimpse of the wild inhabitants. Like the piranhas, for example, the poison dart frogs and Cuban crocs in the rainforest section. Also see if you can time your visit with a feeding, because that's when everything comes out of any hiding places they might have been lurking in.
There's also a new permanent exhibition called Ocean Invaders, in which you'll be able to learn more about the weird, wonderful and wobbly world of jellyfish. Visitors can discover the most dangerous species and even create their own digital jellyfish. 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.
Head down solo, with your beau or in a group and get hold of one of the special package tickets, which allow entry to other London attractions, or a VIP ticket, which entitles you to a tour behind the scenes. The latter is a particularly cool option as you get to snoop around parts of the aquarium that the public aren't typically allowed into. And if you really want to get up close and personal with the sealife, the brave adventurers out there can book a ‘snorkelling with sharks’ experience and dive into the shark tank.
Westminster Bridge Rd
|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|
|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|
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Things to do
Silent disco at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Experience one of our signature silent discos at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium. Don a pair of glowing headphones and tune in to one of three channels as you immerse yourself in the world below the waves. With pop, rock and party classics to choose from,...Quirky events Friday May 15 2020 - Friday November 20 2020
Users say (73)
Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
- 5 star:12
- 4 star:28
- 3 star:21
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:11
AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
So busy my daughter asked to leave after 30 minutes. Extortionately expensive for what it is. You'll never get a refund, I've tried. I would never recommend visiting. A blatant rip off and a classic tourist trap.
THE ONLY SHARKS YOU'LL SEE HERE ARE THE PEOPLE RUNNING IT.
PLEASE DON'T GIVE THESE CROOKS MONEY.
I love the SEA LIFE Aquarium as there is so many sealife creatures to see. They even have penguins,.
I went along to a London Lates special though which was even more pleasant as I could enjoy the fish in peace without a child running under my feet.
I especially love the jelly fish section so colourful and mesmerising.
If you haven't been in a while, get yourself down there and see the amazing jelly fish as this is quite a new enclosure.
In the many years I've been living in London, I've never had a chance to visit this underwater marvel in the heart of town. I finally found a great opportunity in the opening of their new Rainforest adventure, which is aimed at entertaining young explorers, but should also keep the attention of the grownups.
During the tour, friendly guides are always on hand to reveal fascinating facts about the world beyond the glass: scorpions, ants, frogs, snakes, giant cockroaches, different species of turtles, dwarf crocodiles and even piranhas, who enjoyed a late dinner whilst we were there.
Worth the price of the ticket alone, is the fascinating shark tank where some of the world's most terrifying predators peacefully patrol the waters, unaware of their surrounding audience.
There's plenty to learn about conservation and marine ecology in this must-see London landmark, which is a lot more than just a tourist attraction.
I recently went to Sea Life London to check out the new Rainforest Adventure Exhibition and had a wonderful time! It’s exciting to see an additional exhibit to mix things up a little. The rainforest areas are properly done up with squishy floor and hanging vines to make it a more realistic experience. My favourite part was the critter domes! There were multiple domes you could crawl under and have creepy crawly cockroaches and spiders ‘climbing all over you’. Scared my to pieces but I bet the kids will love it! Overall, the classic parts such as the sharks still win first prize at Sea Life London, but the rainforest does and to the exciting journey through!
I swung by Sea Life London to check out their new Rainforest Exhibition and it did not disappoint!
Previously I'd only been to the centre whilst drunk (they do a silent disco that's totally rad, you should check that out too) so it was nice to actually enjoy and know I'll remember the evening. It always surprises me how vast the centre is, most of which is underground so you get a really honed in and "adventure feel" as it's all a bit dark and echoy.
The new rainforest exhibition is very much worth a visit - they've pulled out all the stops to ensure a cracking display. From a squishy floor (that mimics what I imagine a rainforest to feel like) to endless vines and fake shrubbery, you genuinely feel like Tarzan (was he a rainforest or just a normal one?)
Verdict: The perfect place for a midweek date night!
I visited Sealife recently with a close friend and we had an amazing afternoon. We enjoyed especially the big tank with sharks and big fish because it was so impressive and immersive. The way fishes are shown in the other rooms is also very good because it makes the fishes coming toward you and more people can enjoy them at the same time.
The Rainforest adventure exhibition was a bit disappointing because most of the animals you could see where tiny and very difficult to spot. The cockroach tank was my favorite because they were huge and you could really immerse yourself into it.
I love coming back o this place again and again, the latest new addition is the Rainforest Adventure Exhibition! Watching sea life through a big sheet of glass is a wonderful way to transport yourself away from reality.
The staff were wonderful and so knowledgeable about the creatures, I learnt so much about some of the species!
I also came to learn that a lot of what’s looked after in the aquarium has been donated to the Sea Life Centre or they’ve taken them in as they’ve been abandoned.
This is the perfect place to visit if you want to see giant cockroaches, ants, tarantulas, jelly fish, sea horses.. the list is endless.. (well it probably does have an end to it)
I envy the staff here. Fancy coming to this chilled-out place every day to work - they can't possibly get stressed. People pay hundreds of pounds or more to have a fish tank in their home - beautiful to look at and totally relaxing. Ive been here a few times and it's a total delight. All species are well housed in as natural surroundings as possible. Get up close to the animals' without fear. Now there is an additional area "Rainforest Adventure" to visit within Sea Life, which has several interactive features appealing to children.There are descriptions of animals next to the the animals enclosures and plenty of helpful, cheerful staff to ask questions of. This is one of the most interesting visitor attractions in London but for me the Rainforest Adventure does not add to its appeal - though I must say that the children who were playing on the interactive games may disagree - they seemed to be having great fun. So a great place for all the family.
I recently visited the new Rainforest experience at Sealife. As an enthusiast of the natural world, I really enjoyed this and felt that a lot of thought has gone into this experience. The music, flooring ( which is actually dirt that your feet slightly sink into so heels not recommended! and the various foliage, made me feel that I was transported to the amazon. I loved seeing the different varities of reptiles, amphibians and the fearsome freshwater fish such as the piranhas. I was surprised to learn that Sealife acts as a rescue centre with many unwanted animals left at the doorstep, in particular many terrapins and even an octopus on occasion! If you are an enthusiast of the natural world, I would highly recommend a visit!
The new Rainforest Experience at Sealife is certainly interesting. The two big promises of the opening however were not as billed, the piranhas and the bird-eating goliath spider are only babies! Interesting but perhaps a little less impressive than if you visit in half a year or so. Even as babies those piranhas can make their way through fish and the decoration gives a really fun rainforest feel to wandering around. Great for kids but pretty pricey, definitely a treat.
I always have a good time whenever I visit the Sea Life Center and it's a fun day out. There's something extremely mesmerising about watching the fish swim around and you can lose yourself. The new Rainforest Adventure area is interesting and there are some decent exhibits - being able to put the head into a bubble in the middle of the animals is fun/scary. It is expensive for what it is, but a nice treat when you get a chance.
Overpriced, as expected for a main London attraction, but this is a nice aquarium. Quite well laid out with some really impressive tanks. Try your best to avoid school holidays and weekends. Weekdays as soon as it opens is ideal timing so you avoid barging into people to get a glimpse of the fish. Worth a visit, especially with the kids.
A trip to the London aquarium really transports you away from the hustle and bustle of busy London to a serene, calming atmosphere of peacefulness and serenity. Although a busy attraction, especially at the weekends, the aquarium is a great day out for all ages! The scenic walks through the caves and water tunnel tanks allows you to see hundreds, if not thousands of different breeds of marine life from sting rays, jelly fish and even sharks. It took us approximately an hour and a half to walk around the aquarium with short stops to watch the feeding, listen to the expert commentary and to stroke the starfish. Although the ticket prices are expensive, it is a really great day out, especially for young ones.
Rather pricey but a great day out especially for families. Find out about what inhabits the waters around the world. Watch out for ticket deals and check out feeding times so you don't miss the action!
Extortionate prices, but once in a while I suppose its ok to splurge a bit! I love sea creatures, but seeing them caged in like this makes me ponder for a bit, nonetheless there is information along the way about conservation.
I love the big sharks, I spent quite a while just watching them, I got there for when they opened, so there wasn't a mad dash inside, could freely walk around without being annoyed! The shark walk being one of my favourites.
I liked seeing all the different coloured fishes, octopuses, penguins, jellyfish, crocodiles, you name it, they have it! Such a fun day out, it brought out my inner child! Would like to experience the silent disco someday too.
Never really been that bothered about Sea Life Centres before, I was dubious about going- but I took my Mum for a treat as she loves anything to do with the Sea.
Once you have battled through the crowds and got in the attraction, I must admit the overall atmosphere is quite calming which I was expecting. However, I felt the whole place was very darkly lie, which I'm sure is to keep the fish happy, but it did make the smaller ones harder to see.
I loved the shark area and could have watched them for hours, and compared to some other reviews I really enjoyed the Penguin enclosure. I have been a few years ago when it was the old penguin area, and yes I agree, this did feel cruel. The new space is much bigger, lighter and they seem to be having a lot of fun. Also, I have spoken to a friend of mine that works for Merlin and I know that a lot of effort and time has been put into making the penguins happy and have a safe environment, so I had no issue in seeing them and thought it was the highlight of the aquarium.
For your money you see so much! The space is huge and we easily spent 3 hours walking around. I even got to stroke a starfish! Which trust me, again is safe and not harming the animal. They are rotated around and always have a member of staff supervising.
The Aquarium is in tourist town (Southbank) and I try to avoid this place at all costs if I dont have out of town friends and family with me. We decided to try out the Aquarium Silent Disco but I was dubious if it would be any good.
The entrance is via the shop and in today's sad world its actually great that they were quite thorough with the search of bags etc. Once that was done you pick up your headphones and then off you go to pick up your free drink which is a great treat.
Lets face it, a silent disco
is a silent disco no matter how much you dress it up. What made the aquarium
way better than other silent discos Ive been to (Glastonbury, The Shard) is its
so cool to see the double floor to ceiling tank full of wonderful massive fish
and turtles whilst your bopping away to one of three channels.
I was really pleased they also opened up the jellyfish exhibition and even better is some of the staff are real marine biologists instead of just security making sure youre behaving. It was great to listen to one tell us all about the jellyfish lifecycle as we had a rest from bopping the night away.
The aquarium and the silent disco is a super combination and perfect for a date or with a gaggle of friends. Youll leave feeling so pumped and in touch with all things sea life.
A cruel disappointment.
I visited the SEA LIFE London Aquarium for the new 'Ocean Invaders' jellyfish exhibition but as part of the ticket you get access to the entire venue. The exhibition itself had a lot of promise and had a couple of tanks that provided some stunning visuals but overall, it was cramped and not overly informative. And cramped is an adjective I would extend to the entire aquarium; the fact that the main attraction is a big shark tank that takes up most of the space on every floor you visit just goes to show how little there is to actually see in there. Children may not clock on to the fact that they are repeatedly seeing the same tank from different angles and levels but I noticed it immediately and to be honest, felt a little short changed.
But the absolute worst part for me was the penguin enclosure; buried underground in a tiny space, I turned a corner to find the penguins huddled, seemingly scared, against a far wall as hordes of visitors took photos of them pressed banging against the glass. Whilst flash photography is forbidden, there were no members of staff to hand to stop people and whilst I insisted people turned their flash off, there were just too many people to stop them all. It seemed very cruel and completely unacceptable for these beautiful animals to be confined up in such a way.
I left angry at myself for supporting the aquarium; these days such institutions are supposed to be for conservation purposes primarily and whilst the money they make might go to great global causes, it felt as if they were sacrificing the standard of life of their few animals to raise funds for the many. Why does London need an aquarium anyhow as the only others I have ever visited have been in massive venues on the coast where proper humane enclosures can be built?!
I will never visit the aquarium again nor recommend it.
I have to agree with some other reviewers in that I am always torn when I think about animals in enclosed spaces and whilst it's awesome to be able to see them upclose, it does prick my conscious as to whether it is entirely ethical. Having said that I do think it's important to recognise that there is lots of information on your way around about conservation and educating people about these wonderful creatures which can only be a good thing!
I love sharks so I could have quite happily spent a long time watching the shark tank but all of the other exhibits were great too. I attended an 'After dark' event so the penguin enclosure wasn't open, whilst I love penguins having heard others say it was a small enclosure, I'm quite glad I didn't see it.
I was concerned that it might be really busy and just packing people in but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. There was just the right amount of people so you had plenty of time and freedom to walk around and view everything without having to fight your way around people. The area half way where you could get a drink made for a fantastic bar with incredibly unique setting you definitely wouldn't get anywhere else. So all in all in was an enjoyable evening.
Went here on a very successful date so forgive me if I am a little biased. I have to mention that I am also a massive fan of penguins so my excitement for this may have filtered though during the experience.
Firstly book in advance, this is a must if you want to avoid lengthy waiting times and secondly if possible try and avoid Saturdays (I understand this is easier said then done). The experience as a whole lasted around 2 hours dependent on the pace you choose to take. Overall lots of interesting fun facts to learn and creatures to see, some areas however looked like they were carrying out works (which some people may find slightly off putting) but it was masked well enough in my opinion. Aquarium definitely has the ability to bring out my inner child, look forward to visiting the silent disco soon.
I've been to the aquarium my first time to see the recent jellyfish exhibit. All in all I was bit disappointed. The aquarium doesn't reflect the size and vibe of London at all. There were not that many fish, yes, you can see the shark, few other species and the new jellyfish. It's two different types of jellyfish and that's it. I can see how kinds can still enjoy this, but it's not worth going more than once.
I was in the Aquarium for the first time to see the new Ocean Invaders exhibition, which is all about jellyfish. The exhibit in and of itself was super cool and the staff members were very knowledgeable, shared fascinating facts about jellyfish, and--very important-- didn't make me feel like a moron for making ignorant jellyfish questions (which unfortunately can't be said about experts in every London museum). The jellyfish themselves are quite a sight to behold. They are fascinating and somewhat magical creatures (I got some benign dementor vibes?) and the way the exhibit is laid out really allows you to appreciate them in full splendor.
The aquarium itself has some pros and cons. The shark tank is incredible and you can really see sharks up close, something I never thought I would have an interest in doing but I was quite taken by them when I finally did for the first time here. There's also a lot of interactive bits for kids that I think I would have enjoyed as a kid myself. Unfortunately though, the aquarium does feel a bit rundown and has literally no open air spaces or even windows, so there's an element of claustrophobia to it, at times like walking through a basement that just happens to house some pretty incredible sea creatures.
Ultimately, there were a lot of hands on deck (including jellyfish dancers in AMAZING costumes) at the first night of the Jellyfish exhibit to make sure everything went smoothly and this made the experience feel really special, but I'm certain you won't need all the bells and whistles to appreciate this awesome exhibit and enjoy yourself at the aquarium.
I've always tended to avoid 'touristy' places, but I ventured into the Aquarium on a lates / after hours event. Without the usual screaming kids and tour groups, it was a joy. I was surprised at the size of the place, given its central location, with lots of fascinating sea life to discover.
The shark tank is brilliant (amazing photo opportunities!) and the rays provide hours of entertainment. But the new jellyfish exhibit, Ocean Invaders, is something else. Modern, intriguing and interactive, it shows the real beauty of these amazing creatures.
If you want to visit, try to go outside of peak times (if there is such a thing as off-peak here) as you will be able to meander through the depths at your own pace and really marvel at the wonderful creatures.
The 3 stars are for the overall experience, dragged down by the sad penguins deprived of outdoor space or sky! There is always a feeling of guilt seeing wild animals in tanks/enclosures and it is my belief that this will one day be a thing of the past. However, as a keen scuba diver it is such a treat to relive memories of swimming close to these amazing creatures and learning even more about marine life so we can cherish and protect it's future and that's why I think it's great to see children mesmerised while learning, and in awe of nature. I would give 5 stars to the NEW JELLY FISH EXHIBIT! and if the aquarium keeps up this type of refurbishment and continues with educational installations then they will get my vote.
Generally, I am not a huge fan of Aquariums and Zoos, but as my friends came to London and got me a ticket so I gave it a shot. And I have to say, it was actually a lovely experience.
The best part was seeing Gentoo penguins - absolutely amazing. I spent almost an hour watching them being fed. The shark tank is also pretty impressive. I would recommend the place for adult and kids. What I really liked, were info boards about overfishing and encouraging sustainable seafood. Kepp it up See Life London!
WORST AQUARIUM EVER VISITED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. ALSO TOTALLY NOT KIDS FRIENDLY.
It all started with a family weekend plan to keep our daughter entertained and do something different. This is my view of the facilities and the overall experience as a parent with a 19 month old child.
The main entrance is hardly buggy friendly as only equipped with stairs. The only way to use the non-stair entrance is to purchase the priority entrance pass, which costs extra!
Secondly, about a quarter of the attractions were closed due to renovation work being carried out. Yet, the full admission price was charged. Also no mention of the work being carried at the ticket desk.
Thirdly, the aquarium was extremely crowded causing long queues at almost every stop.
Forth, hardly any bathrooms and only ONE baby changing room. Amazing.
Last, but not least, the penguins are kept in an enclosure which I can only guess is meant to simulate their natural habitat the Antarctic, amongst other places. Although, it reminds one more of a mental institution with a lack of fresh air/wind, sky etc. The penguins appeared lifeless and not happy at all. London Zoo is doing a much better job at keeping penguins outside, with a large outdoor pool and lots of interaction with nature.
Overall, the facility is run down and lacks everything a world class aquarium in a city such as London SHOULD offer to its visitors.
So if you are considering a family-day out which involves long queues, horrendously high ticket fees, unfriendly staff, a crowded aquarium where you have to force yourself to the front to get your kid to see anything and by default have a strong bladder to overcome the lack of bathroom facilities and baby changing rooms then you should visit.
Otherwise, stay away!
The tiny penguin prison is the most depressing sight. No natural light, with penguins slipping about on a fibreglass ice berg. I don't understand how it's allowed. Go to London Zoo instead - large animal enclosures wirh penguins on a naturalistic beach.
I don't know what to say. My family and I came here for an after hours experience,so technically it should've been better than the day time where screaming children and noisy students impede on ones enjoyment. That was not the case. This is not a good aquarium at all I'm afraid. Hardly any exotic fish and what was there was so mundane I'm sure I could've found them in mY local pond. We didn't get to see the penguins which is the highlight of this place. One saving grace! The shark tank! You can take some really great pictures there... but that's it in my opinion
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.