The hustle and bustle of London is setting my anxiety on edge, and we have been in this queue for ages… but all of that melts away as I hear the running of water, and the sight of enchanting swimming creatures soothes all of my senses as I dive deep into the depths under the calm blue waters…
“We want you to love the oceans and creatures that live in them as much as we do. By sharing their beauty, we want to inspire you to help us protect them for generations to come! SEA LIFE London allows visitors to experience the ocean’s hidden marvels, and our expert staff are dedicated to, and passionate about conservation. In keeping with our message – BREED, RESCUE, PROTECT – we’ve developed a system of care and best-practice animal husbandry that draws on decades of collective experience from our marine biologists.” [source]
For my Birthday, Stuart treated me to a trip to SEA LIFE London Aquarium… he knows me well! I have recently become rather obsessed with sea creatures, and if you have seen my Chimera project, you will know why! so, I was really excited to visit such a huge aquarium. This excitement was slightly dampened by the inefficient queue system implemented by the centre, and the disgruntled, unhelpful staff working on the ticketing system – as an fyi, I would highly recommend buying your tickets online before visiting, which not only saves you money, but will save you time as well! However, when we finally did manage to make it inside my pangs of anxiety were quelled by the stunning sea creatures contained within.
As part of our adventure, we also booked a Behind the Scenes Tour, which was a really insightful look into what goes on behind closed doors in the aquarium. Sadly, it was quite a short tour, but our guide was really informative, and made our tour delightfully engaging. We were able to see how they care for sick fish, how new fish are settled in, and how some fish are not suitable for display but essential to aquariums to have for breeding programmes. I was really pleased to see the ethereal Leafy Sea Dragons, the alien Axolotls, and some adorable baby Lesser Spotted Dogfish.
Did you know? Seahorses have no stomach! So, they must constantly eat just to stay alive. In the few moments were they do stop eating to rest, seahorses attach themselves to objects like kelp, or coral with their prehensile tails to prevent them from drifting away.
I really enjoyed my trip to SEA LIFE London, and there were so many creatures that I was enraptured by.
A real highlight was the giant shark tank, containing an array of species including the Sand Tiger Shark, the Nurse Shark, the Black Tip Reef Shark, and many more. Sharks are woefully misunderstood fish, and are not the frightening monsters that they are made out to be. SEA LIFE London is a sponsor of Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation which aids in their fight to make the UK shark-fin free! Opportunities such as this to allow the public to see these beautiful animals up close is so important to conservation, as it is hard not to care about what you can see in front of you.
A close relative to the shark are rays, and there was a fantastic array (sorry!) of these majestic winged fish on display, including the Undulate Ray, the Stingray, the Bowmouth Guitarfish, and many more. I love watching rays swim about, the way they move is completely mesmerising.
My favourite exhibit was the jellyfish… obviously! There were a lot of species on display, more than I had ever seen before, and with the use of colour-changing lights they looked even more beguiling. I wandered around in these rooms for so long even Stuart was starting to get bored!!
My only issue with our trip to SEA LIFE London was the busyness. I would love to tell you all about how joyful it was to watch the penguins diving in and out of their icy pool, but I can’t, because I could barely see them over the crowds of people. Perhaps we should have known it was going to be so busy, I mean, what do you expect from a main London attraction?! While I was so in love the creatures inside this aquarium, the overcrowding has put me off going back…. but at least I got to see some truly amazing jellyfish!!!
SEA LIFE London Aquarium at a glance…
Open daily from 10:00 – 18:00 and open until 19:00 on Saturdays
I would highly recommend booking online before you visit to save money and time.
Standard Entry – £27 and there are plenty of extras you can add on.
Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB OR use Google Maps here.
The aquarium is fully accessible.
During busy periods, the line to purchase/collect tickets can be in excess of 60 minutes long, with the next available time slot being up to 2 hours ahead from when you reach the front of the queue.
There are plenty of other London attractions really close by, including the London Eye, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, and The Houses of Parliament.