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Sea Life London Aquarium

Sharks in Central London!

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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We found Nemo!

© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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Japanese Spider Crabs

© London Aquarium

Sea Life London Aquarium had a major refurbishment back in 2009 and continues to expand and improve with regular additions. It is one of Europe's largest displays of global aquatic life and includes one of the world's biggest collections of Cownose rays, a glass tunnel walkway encased in a gigantic whale skeleton and a Shark Walk.

New species have been introduced so as well as thousands of fish, guests encounter penguins, seahorses, octopuses and crabs. Sea Life have 30 attractions in the UK and Europe and intends Sea Life London Aquarium to be their top destination.

What To Expect at Sea Life London Aquarium

  • Key Highlights:
  • Modern-looking aquarium – new species, new surroundings
  • Thousands of marine creatures in themed settings
  • One of the world's biggest collections of Cownose rays
  • Gentoo penguins
  • Glass tunnel walkway encased in a blue whale skeleton
  • Shark Walk
  • Public participation feeding
  • More feeding times and talks

 

Sea Life London Aquarium Review 2014

The London Aquarium underwent a £5 million refurbishment and transformed into Sea Life London Aquarium in 2009, and still continues to improve. My 2008 visit during the building work found a dark and dingy attraction that was looking tired, then my 2009 visit for the relaunch found a vibrant and revitalized London attraction. Honestly, I could hardly recognize the place! I've been back again many times since whenever new sea life is added to the displays.

If you haven't visited for a few years, the changes are too many to list but I can say it seems like a different venue as the floors are now being used in a much better way with more open spaces and less narrow corridors.

There are themed zones across more than one floor and the first zone always gets busy as we are all so excited when we arrive. Don't worry as it's not usually that crowded all the way through the aquarium.

In 2014, you have to walk over the shark tank to enter the aquarium which certainly gets the adrenalin going. There's then a lift/elevator to take you down to the start, with a background of atmospheric music.

There are plenty of low displays, and platforms for stepping up, so it's great for kids. The information is now on video screens that rotate if there are more than one species in the tank. 

Ray Lagoon
The ray pool has 2 glass sides so leave these for the shorter visitors and move round to the other sides as you can see just as much. Note, there is also room for buggies to be around the edge without blocking the path. Do enjoy watching the Californian Cownose rays but please be aware you must not touch them as we could damage their skin. A member of staff is always here so you can ask questions. There are dog fish in with the rays and they are very friendly so don't hang your hands over the side! I had a wonderful dancing demonstration from a dog fish shimmying backwards while vertical!

Rock Pools
Don't feel you've been cheated by not being able to touch the rays as the next section is all about touching and there are crabs, anemones, and starfish (hand washing facilities available).

Glass Tunnel Walkway
This is an exciting way to see the tropical fish and turtles as they swim right overhead! The tunnel has been constructed from a gigantic hand-crafted 25 meter long blue whale skeleton. As you would expect, the tunnel is very popular, so don't block the way for other visitors in this area.

Top Tip: You can view the sharks from all floors - it's a huge tank! - so don't crowd around the first window at Pacific Wreck. Walk round to the other side and you are likely to have a window to yourself.

Disorientating
Try and stick with your friends/family as the twists and turns in the dark can be quite disorientating. There are always arrows on the walls to guide you through. Definitely hold onto your toddlers hand as it would be very easy to lose them in the dark galleries when they are excited.

Rainforests of the World
Look out for dwarf crocodiles, Piranhas, and a family of Poison Arrow Frogs. You'll know you'll in this section when the flooring feels like soft leaves and twigs.

Thames Walk
When you finish on the lowest floor there's an elevator/lift and an escalator to take you up one level to the 'Thames Walk' showing river life from the local area.

Ice Adventure
This is the home of the Gentoo Penguins and you can watch them in and out of the water.

Claws
New in February 2014, this is a crustacean display including the
 gigantic Japanese Spider Crab (which can grow to 12 feet long) and the colorful Rainbow Crab. 

Then it's a sweet shop visit before 'exiting through the gift shop' which has toys and souvenirs but no longer stocks any books which seemed a shame to me.

London Aquarium Visitor Information

The London Aquarium is located on the South Bank, within County Hall. It is next to the London Eye, and across the river from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Address:
The London Aquarium
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London
SE1 7PB

Nearest Tube Stations: Waterloo / Westminster

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Telephone: 020 7967 8000

Official Website: www.sealifelondon.co.uk

Tickets:
Check current prices online. Best prices are offering for booking online at least one day in advance. Note: Under children under 3 year go free.

Top booking tip: Book your ticket online and visit after 3pm and not only do you get the best value ticket, but you also get to stroll around the attraction while it's quiet AND catch the penguins last feed of the day (4pm). More info.

Combined tickets are available with the London Eye, the London Dungeon or Madame Tussauds.

You can book Skip The Line tickets for the London Aquarium through Viator.

You can also book tickets at the VisitBritain Shop (Buy Direct).

Opening Times:
The London Aquarium is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day).
Monday to Friday: 10am - 6pm (last admission 5pm)
Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 7pm (last admission 6pm)

Visit Duration: 1 to 2 hours.

Access:
Full disabled access with lifts to all levels. There are also disabled toilets on each floor.

Buggy Friendly:
Buggies and pushchairs can be used throughout and there is lift access to each level. Note: There is no buggy park.

No Eating and Drinking:
The London Aquarium has a strict no eating and drinking policy, but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.

Photography:
You can take photos for personal use but no tripods or flash.

Disclosure: The company provided free access to this service for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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