7 September 2018

What is the SEALife London Aquarium like for kids?

The London Aquarium is one of the attractions in London I always recommend families visit. It is a fantastic place for both younger and older kids, and there is such a great variety of things to see, everyone will find something exciting about it. When they recently invited us over to come view all the new things that have been set up, I jumped at the chance to review it. Here is what we thought of the attraction and also my top tips for visiting the London Aquarium.


London Aquarium - review and top tips for visiting

london aquarium tunnel

girl in front of shark tank

woman and baby in front of fish tank



Over the last few years the SEA LIFE London Aquarium has done loads of work on their premises and increased both the exhibition space and spruced up some of the existing areas. Newish additions include the penguins and the jellyfish, and the rainforest area has new decor and play areas for the kids. 

We visited the jellyfish section last year, and absolutely loved the strange world of the jellyfish - it was another fun and interesting addition to the aquarium. This time my daughter was very keen on seeing the penguins, and it was great to see them toddle on their icy little enclosure. The rainforest section had loads of creepy crawlies, crocodiles, tortoises and fish (like piranhas!) and my daughter loved playing at the new play areas - it made it a bit more fun and play-oriented for little ones, enabling us adults to really look at the animals and have a moment to read the signs too, which was great.


mum and daughter in front of fish tank

peep hole

piranha at london aquarium

girl looking at tarantula

crocodile

penguins at london aquarium

penguins swimming

woman looking at jellyfish

jellyfish london aquarium


Other than that, my absolute favourite is the big ocean tank, with all the sharks and giant turtles. It really is fantastic, and you get to view it at so many points during your tour. You get a glimpse of it at the very start, when walking above the sharks and then later when you walk through the tunnel. 

This year we also attended the Behind the Scenes Tour. I would really recommend this from years 5 upwards - our daughter found it absolutely fascinating to learn more about the aquarium practices and see the areas normally only the staff get access to. As an adult, I found it fascinating too! We got to see the quarantine area, hear more about the aquarium practices, and also see seadragons, fish that is not on display as they are so delicate and get disturbed by the noises of viewers. We got to hold a shark and a ray egg (empty of course) and see their breeding areas. We learned what they feed the fish, and how thick the aquarium glass is, so lots of learning. It all felt pretty special.


london aquarium back room

quarantine tank london aquarium

sea dragon tank

sea dragon through a peep hole

aquarium glass

coral tank

family photo in front of coral tank


The unfortunate thing about the aquarium is that it gets very very busy, especially between the hours of 11AM and 3PM. It can be difficult to secure good viewpoints, and you may have to wait quite long. As the tickets are expensive, this can be quite disappointing. On our visits we have always used the priority entrance, although this time as we visited in the afternoon, it was quite slow and we had to queue a relatively long time (15 minutes I think). On previous occasions when we have visited as they have opened, it was a lot speedier and you were pretty much waved straight through which was great.

Another slightly problematic thing of the aquarium is also that it is quite dark (as aquariums are!). Because some of the passages are narrow and winding, you have to be quite careful and keep an eye and a hand on your kid at all times as they can get so excited and start running off!


mum and daughter in front of shark tank

London Aquarium - review and top tips for visiting


So that's what we thought about the London Aquarium - great place to visit, loads to see, kids love it, but it can get VERY busy around midday. Definitely worth a visit though. See my top tips for visiting below!

Top tips:

  • Visit before 11AM or after 3PM - it is very busy midday.
  • It is fully buggy and wheelchair friendly. The closest buggy/wheelchair friendly tube station is Westminster. 
  • Under 3 year olds are free!
  • Lovely place to visit in the heat of summer as it tends to be very cool down there.
  • Don't bother too much with taking photos - unfortunately due to the darkness most photos just won't work. 
  • Best place to have a selfie is right after the see-through tunnel - a little enclosure that goes inside the tank. 
  • Behind the Scenes Tour is great- well worth it for both kids and adults. Best suitable for kids over 5.
  • You get to pet a starfish - so amazing! Don't rush though as it can take a while for kids to gather the courage to touch it. 
  • If you are peckish, there is a McDonald's right next door - as well as other restaurants nearby. 
  • South Bank is lovely to walk on before or after the Aquarium - there is also a small playground next door to the Aquarium, in Jubilee Gardens. 


Review of the SEALife London Aquarium and the Behind the Scenes Tour, and top tips for visiting. There are sharks, sting rays, jellyfish, penguins, and all kinds of bugs and fish. We think it's great place to take the kids in London!





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