SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Attractions, Zoos and aquariums South Bank
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
(21user reviews)
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SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Crab (Michelle Grant / Time Out)
Michelle Grant / Time Out
Visitor enjoying the fish (Michelle Grant / Time Out)
Michelle Grant / Time Out
 (© Sea Life London Aquarium)
© 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.

By: Laura Lee Davies


Venue name: SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Address: County Hall
Riverside Building
Westminster Bridge Rd
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

2.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:9
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Karolina Muczacza

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! 

Michael S


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!

Kirsty E

As Sea Life centres go, this is probably the best one I have been to. I must say I am surprised to see so many negative reviews. The place is huge! We found it to be an interesting layout with plenty of space for all different species of sea creatures. Even the start is exciting as you walk across a glass floor above the water.

The Shark tank is unbelievable! Such a massive area for some massive beasts! Great opportunity for some interesting photos. The walk through tunnel is good too and my personal favourites are the penguins. Such funny animals.

Definitely worth a visit although I can see why the steep price tag would put people off. Make sure you take advantage of the many 2 for 1 or discount vouchers available.


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


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

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

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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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 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


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.


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