Originally opened in 1997 in the historic Greater London Council building on South Bank, the capital’s aquarium is now neighbour to the iconic London Eye. After a multimillion-pound renovation in 2009, the original London Aquarium relaunched as the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, incorporating the name of its global conservation charity the SEA LIFE Trust. More than 500 species of aquatic life from around the world live in two million litres of water here.
Visitors can explore 14 themed zones split over three levels, interact with marine life and watch diving displays. The aquarium is especially suited to families with children 4-10 years old. Kids will enjoy touching the sea creatures that live in shallow rock pools. In the Rainforest Adventure area, crocodiles, creepy crawlies and the UK’s biggest piranha collection are some of the newest additions. There’s a Ray Lagoon, a glass tunnel where massive sea turtles swim overhead, and the UK’s largest living coral reef where hundreds of clownfish dart in and out of hiding. Highlights include walking over a glass floor with sharks swimming just below, seeing the replica of a 25-metre whale skeleton in the Open Oceans exhibition, spotting half-shark-half-ray bowmouth guitarfish “Betty” in the Shipwreck area, marvelling at the colony of penguins and coming close to jellyfish. There is also a conservation area spotlighting the many ways marine life is under threat. Note that there is no café or restaurant onsite (but plenty nearby). Vending machines and refreshment stands do sell snacks and drinks. Guests are asked not to bring their own food. A shop sells souvenirs at the exit.
The aquarium is open from 10am daily while the closing time varies between 4pm and 6pm as listed on the website ticket booking calendar. A standard adult ticket ordered online in advance costs £28.