The middle of crowded London many not be the most obvious place to find a marine life sanctuary, but that’s exactly where Sea Life have built one of the biggest and most impressive aquariums in Europe. It is located next to the River Thames and within easy walking distance of many of the best visitor attractions in London. With plenty to sea and do, the London Sea Life Centre is a popular place to spend a day, especially for families with young children.
The Sea Life centre is right next to the London Eye and opposite the Houses of Parliament. It is close to some of the capital’s best shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Inside, it houses an impressive collection of marine creatures, from imposing sharks and graceful rays, to squidgy jellyfish and chomping piranhas. Visitors can explore individual tanks and read the information boards which give details about the different creatures inside, or visit the petting tanks at the end of the visit to stroke some spiny corals and hold a starfish or two. Every child’s favourite clownfish, Nemo, can be spotted darting about in its tank, just a blur of black and orange stripes, and the occasional Green Bill Sea Turtle makes a leisurely appearance at feeding time.
One of the most popular attractions in London, the Aquarium impresses visitors because of its immersive glass tunnel walkway, allowing guests to view the animals from beneath the waves. Here in the London Sea Life Centre, a huge shark tank gives you a close-up view of sixteen different types of shark as you’ve never seen them before. Also in the London Sea Life centre is a unique penguin display featuring a family of Gentoo penguins. Their carefully constructed habitat is built to resemble the Antarctic, with interactive features for visitors to enjoy. The experience is designed to imitate an expedition to the frozen continent, with ice pools, goggle viewing and a research station to visit. It’s an unusual attraction and one that’s not often found in the Northern Hemisphere.
The centre is spread over three floors with fourteen different themes and numerous displays to visit, and requires some careful planning if you hope to get around everything in one day. There are regularly advertised animal feeding times, with discussions and lectures from animal carers and the chance to ask as many questions as you like. Parents are keen to let their children try some of the educational activities and quizzes that can be found throughout the centre, and there is always a lot of helpful information about planet conservation and tips for conserving our wildlife available to take away. Throughout the year, staff at the London Sea Life Aquarium hold themed parties and events, all centred around animal life, and always a great idea for entertaining the whole family. It’s an ideal destination for wet weather days when you want to keep out of the rain and one of the most popular attractions in London.
There are no cafes or restaurants at the London Sea Life Aquarium. Visitors are free to bring their own refreshments. Last entry to the Aquarium is by 6pm every evening. The centre closes at 7pm.
The London Sea Life Aquarium is always busy, but to avoid as many crowds as possible, plan your visit for as soon as the doors open or last thing in the evening. You’ll have much more opportunity to see the displays without being rushed. You could combine a trip here with a visit to one of the other attractions in London.
Getting to the London Sea Life Aquarium is easiest by taxi or London Underground. Take a look at the map here, to plan your route.