The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK

Over the years we have visited most of the UK's Sea Life Aquariums (which are operated by Merlin Entertainment). Sea Life Aquariums are usually educational, interesting for all ages from babies to pensioners and indoors so perfect for all weathers.




Over the past year, we have mostly used our pay-monthly merlin annual pass to cover the cost of our admission. It is always worth looking around for offers before you buy tickets as there is nearly always a kids go free or 2 for 1 deal around. Past deals have involved tokens from McDonalds, Walkers & Cadburys. Check out Money Saving Expert for deals before you book.




You can also pay for tickets with Tesco Clubcard points and if you travel by train, you may be eligible to use this 2 for 1 deal with National Rail (you need to download a voucher or use a 2for1 booklet voucher available from most train stations before you travel).


If I had to pick my top three Sea Life Aquariums, Brighton, Cornwall (Gweek) and London would be be my preference. I think they offer the most unique experiences and wide selection of creatures (although our trip to Birmingham this month could change this).

We generally spend 1-2 hours visiting a Sea Life Aquarium. They are usually not a full day out and best visited when combined with another attraction (most are situated in places with other attractions nearby). Most have cafes but we have never been wowed by the food - they are nice enough for a coffee though and many have a play area / things for kids to do by the cafe.


Most Sea Life Aquariums are pretty similar in terms of their fish and displays but they do have some differences. They are unique enough for us to visit different ones around the UK but they still can feel very samey so best not visit too many in quick succession. My advice would be to spread your visits out over the years. Most will have fish, octopus, crabs, a shark tunnel, rays, touch pools, seahorses and jellyfish on display.


There are often trails for children to join in with and feeds/talks scheduled throughout the day as well as unique experiences such as shark diving/feeding, sleepovers, VIP days or behind the scenes tours available at an additional cost.


Sea Life Aquariums are usually pushchair friendly. They do get busy though, especially over weekends and school holidays. I recommend visiting a couple of hours before closing or as soon as they open to avoid the crowds. Most Sea Life Aquariums offer free entry to under 3s (check individual websites for details) and are a brilliant day out for toddlers/babies.

Sea Life Brighton



The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK - Sea Life Brighton

The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Brighton


Sea Life Brighton is my favourite Sea Life Aquarium. It is fairly unique and holds the accolade of being the world's oldest aquarium. It is worth a visit just to see the building alone. Highlights for us included the beautiful jellyfish, over 5500 sea creatures to discover, the stunning Victorian arcade at the entrance, a rainforest adventure with terrapins, a glass-bottom boat tour above the shark tank
( extra charge) , rays, a sea tunnel and day & night ocean experience. 



Read a full review of Sea Life Brighton by What the Redhead Said here 
Read a full review of Sea Life Brighton by Mummy Travels here

Sea Life Trust : Cornish Seal Sanctuary (formally Sea Life Gweek)



The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Gweek


Merlin gifted Sea Life Gweek to their charity the Sea Life Trust in 2018 in order to allow the sanctuary to retain more visitor revenue and focus more on their seal rescue operations.

The centre runs one of the busiest seal rescue operations in Europe and is completely different to the other indoor centres. We visited during our trip to Cornwall in February 2019 and fell in love with the place.

The sanctuary is now a charity which rescues and rehabilitates over 70 seal pups each season. The attraction is mostly outdoors and includes seal pools, feeding sessions and talks, otters, a seal hospital, penguin beach, sea lions, farm animals an outdoor play area and more. Note that a Merlin Annual Pass is no longer a valid form of entry.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is dog-friendly too!


  • What's Nearby? - There isn't really much to do nearby in the immediate vicinity but Gweek is one of the only Sea Life  Aquariums where you could spend more than a couple of hours. The rest of Cornwall is on your doorstep.
  • Standard Admission (remember to look for offers): From £10.85 (adult) online
  • Parking, Location & Public Transport: Find out more here
  • Accessibility: Find out more here
  • Find out more here 

 Read a full review of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary by Emmys Mummy here. 

Sea Life London


The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life London

We visited Sea Life London in October 2018 using their 2 for 1 train deal  and wow it was busy. Definitely expect a bit of a queue before you even get inside plus the exhibitions to be busy. On weekends and during school holidays / peak periods you must pre-book a slot online to avoid disappointment.

Despite the crowds, we really enjoyed our trip to Sea Life London and there are lots of different exhibitions to see. It is pretty big inside.

Highlights include cute penguin chicks, a rainforest adventure with spiders and crocodiles, the UK's largest jellyfish experience, a ray lagoon, the UK's largest living coral, polar adventure, shark walk, ocean tunnel, shipwreck and more.



  • What's Nearby? - Sea Life London is on the Southbank where you are spoilt for choice when it comes to other attractions. Shrek Advenure, the London Dungeons & the London Eye are all next door. 
  • Standard Admission (remember to look for offers): From £22 online
  • Parking, Location & Public Transport : Find out more here
  • Accessibility: I could not find an accessibility statement on their website, unfortunately. Here is a link to their Disabled FAQs. 
  • Find out more here 

Read a full review of Sea Life London by What the Redhead Said here
Read a full review of Sea Life London by The Inspiration Edit here 
Read a full review of Sea Life London by Dear Bear and Beany here 
Read a full review of Sea Life London by Emily and Indiana here 


Sea Life Birmingham



The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Birmingham

At time of writing, we have yet to visit Sea Life Birmingham but it is on the cards for February Half Term. Birmingham is the UK's National  Sea Life Centre and I am pretty excited to visit.

Highlights include a penguin ice adventure, the UKs only 360 Ocean Tunnel with Sharks, Sea Turtles and more, over 2000 creatures and a Splash & Bubbles Cinema Experience (no additional cost).



  • What's Nearby? - Birmingham LEGOLAND Discovery is next door. You can buy a discounted ticket to visit both. 
  • Standard Admission (remember to look for offers): From £13.95 online 
  • Parking, Location & Public Transport : Find out more here
  • Accessibility: Find out more here
  • Find out more here 


Read a full review of Sea Life Birmingham by Beauties and the Bibs here 
Read a full review of Sea Life Birmingham by Mummy Travels here. 


Sea Life Loch Lomond


The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Loch Lomond

The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Loch Lomond

The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Loch Lomond


Admission to Sea Life Loch Lomond is pretty reasonable when compared with other Sea Life Centres around the UK. We visited during our stay at Cameron Lodges Loch Lomond in July 2019. This Sea Life Centre is a tall building and spread across various levels (there is a lift) and there is a cracking view across Loch Lomond from both the cafe and the viewing tower.

Highlights include sharks, rays, otters, seahorses and touch pools.





Sea Life Scarborough


The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Scarborough


I have fond memories of visiting this aquarium as a child myself. I always remember thinking the pyramid shape looked so futuristic. We visited with the kids quite a bit when they were little too during our annual holidays in Scarborough. 

Highlights include Yorkshire's only Seal Hospital, a Turtle Rescue Centre, Ocean Walk, Rainforest Adventure (from Feb Half Term) with Pythons, Geckos and Frogs, Rays, Penguin Island, Otters, Outdoor Adventure Play Area, Seal Pool, Shark Encounter and more.




Read a full review of Sea Life Scarborough by The Mum Diaries here
Read a full review of Sea Life Scarborough by Newcastle Family Life here 

Sea Life Blackpool 




The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Blackpool

The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Blackpool


Sea Life Blackpool feels like one of the smaller aquariums but it is a good option for exploring the cold weather and entry is often bought as part of a multi-ticket offer with other attractions which makes it good value.

Highlights include rockpools, stingrays, submarine rides, seahorses, shark tunnel, rainforest adventure with turtles and poisonous frogs & sea turtles. There is a small soft play and an indoor picnic area too which is always much appreciated.




Read a full review of Sea Life Blackpool by Toby Goes Bananas Here 
Read a review of Turtle & Shark Feeding (A VIP Experience) by Mini Travellers Here

Sea Life Manchester  



The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Manchester


Sea Life Manchester is part of the Trafford Centre and one of the smaller Sea Life Aquariums. Highlights include Turtle Beach, Pufferfish, Eels, Lobster, Shrimp, Jellyfish, Shark Wreck, Coral Reefs, Shark Tunnel and more.

Trips with a Tot highly recommends Manchester Sealife for little ones - there are small viewing holes, tunnels and a soft play too.

Credit - Trips with a Tot

Credit - Trips with a Tot. 




Read a full review of Sea Life Manchester by The Inspiration Edit here
Read a full review of Sea Life Manchester by What the Redhead Said here


Chessington & Alton Towers 



The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK  - Sea Life Alton Towers

Both Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers have mini Sea Life Aquariums in their parks. There is no additional cost to visit, they are inside so ideal for sheltering from the weather and you can visit regularly throughout the day. Both are usually open during the winter when the main parks are closed and accessible though some school holiday packages when staying in resort accommodation (check the specifics of your package when booking).

I was impressed with how much these aquariums had to offer considering they are not the main attraction and they are both definitely worth popping into as part of your wider day out.

Read our Guide to Visiting Alton Towers here and our Guide to Visiting the Southern Merlin Theme Parks (including Chessington) here.


Sea Life Aquariums we still have to visit......

Hopefully we will manage to visit these last few UK Sea Life Aquariums over the next few weeks. I will update this post with my thoughts as and when we do. 

Hunstanton

Read a full review of Sea Life Hunstanton by Boo Roo & Tigger Too here

Great Yarmouth

Read a full review of Sea Life Great Yarmouth by Boo Roo & Tigger Too here  
Read a full review of Sea Life Great Yarmouth by Me, Him, the Dog & A Baby here 

Bray

Weymouth

Read a full review of Sea Life Weymouth by Dear Bear and Beany here 


Other UK Aquariums to visit:


Well done for getting to the bottom of this post! Let me know your favourite Sea Life Aquarium in the comments. If you are looking for more ideas for UK days out, why not join our UK Days Out Facebook Group here. It is a lovely group and place to ask for recommendations for the best places to visit around the UK.



Pin Me For Later
The Best Sea Life Aquariums in the UK

Share:

2 comments

  1. I do love a sealife centre! It's out go to thing if we're away somewhere and it's raining (like the torrential rain we had on our honeymoon in Sydney!) The sharks and otters are my faves

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been to the Sea Life Centre in London, and also Hunstanton. I honestly had no idea they had so many across the UK, they're such an amazing organisation xo

    Makeup Muddle

    ReplyDelete

I'd love you to Tweet your thoughts about this post (@nefamilyfun) or leave a comment over on my Facebook page (fb.com/NeFamilyFun) - Sam x

© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig