National Sea Life Centres (Part 1 of 2)

Published on: 19/09/22

We’re lucky to be surrounded by the rich, diverse nature that inhabits the coasts and seas of our island nation. But how much do we really know about what goes on beneath the waves? Since 1979, when the first UK Sea Life centre was opened, these incredible resources have enlightened and enthralled the British public as to what goes on in the 70% of the globe that exists under the ocean waves.

A mixture of education, entertainment and conservation, Sea Life centres adhere to the highest standards of animal welfare, with tanks specially designed and monitored to mirror the natural environments of the inhabitants. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get up close and personal- far from it! From expansive rockpools where friendly expert staff will encourage you to stroke a starfish or tickle a crab, to walk-through penguin enclosures and their famous underwater ocean tunnels, where you can eyeball enigmatically circling sharks, rays, dish and turtles. Starting our two-week blog special with Sea Life centres in the south of Britain, you’ll find some great ideas for upcoming half term outings. But with most centres open up to 364 days a year, getting face to fin with nature isn’t just for the holidays!

Sea Life London Aquarium

Book Now

Home to one of Europe's largest collections of global marine life, The Sea Life London Aquarium is the jewel in the crown of the Sea Life collection. Situated within the iconic County Hall building, bang on the South bank of the river Thames, just over Westminster Bridge from Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, easy access, transport, and a wealth of surrounding attractions aren’t going to be a problem- perfect for a visit to the capital. In fact, it’s also right next door to the London Eye, one of the six fantastic partner attractions that you can visit for less, thanks to a clever Big City Saver attraction pass- how’s that for canny organisation!

Step inside and discover a peaceful and fascinating world fathoms away from the bustling city streets! Home to over 500 species in 14 themed zones, there is so much to ‘sea’. Travel to the frozen extremities of the Antarctic and meet the stars of Polar Adventure, the amusing Gentoo penguin colony, try Ocean Invaders, the UK’s largest jellyfish experience, with three unique interactive zones, or dive into a dazzling underwater oasis and wave your fins at the UK’s largest living coral reef, in Coral Kingdom. If you’ve ever wanted to stroke a starfish, or tickle a sea anemone, seize your chance at the rockpool!

Sea Life Brighton

Book Now

You’re never far from the sea in Brighton, which is celebrated in all its glory at Sea Life Brighton. The oldest aquarium in the world, built in 1872 in a Victorian arcade, its glorious original gothic architecture attracts admiration to this very day. Step off the pavement and dive into an amazing journey through local, marine, and natural history, amongst the dazzling scales, gigantic teeth and fantastic fins of 5,500 mesmerising creatures, even a glass-bottom boat trip!

Set under lofty brick-vaulted ceilings, meet swooping rays, starfish and anemones at the interactive rockpool. Dive in deeper and discover the underwater world as you've never seen it before, journeying from day to night in a UK-first experience. Visit the underwater viewing area, tunnel, and themed zones, encountering some of the world's most incredible animals, including colourful clownfish, magical seahorses, a clever octopus, thousands of tropical fish and many more. Then take the weight off your fins with a creature talk in the comfort of the 250-seater auditorium, or some refreshment in the themed café.

Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park

Book Now

The quintessential fishing town, Weymouth is synonymous with the sea, making it the perfect Sea Life destination- in fact, it’s home to the second-ever Sea Life Centre Weymouth, opened ‘ray’ back in 1983! Making the most of its maritime home, this stunning attraction is spread over 5 spacious acres, enabling it to play host to over 2,500 creatures across 13 different zones, and the largest man-made rockpool in the UK! You’ll make plenty of new friends, from seals, Humboldt and fairy penguins to clownfish, sharks, otters and, green sea turtles (look out for the delicate ‘weedy sea dragons’, our particular favourites!)

With fun quizzes to complete, talks and feeding demonstrations all day, there’s plenty for everyone, including piratical children’s play aboard the Caribbean Cove Galleon - Dorset's greatest adventure playground! Adding an element of local history, explore Pisces III, a famous 20ft-long 'small' submarine, which in 1973 endured a dramatic rescue with two crew on board in a 72-hour ordeal. Or simply marvel at the 24-hour wonder of a coral reef as it moves from night to day in the re-imagined Ocean Tunnel display.

Sea Life Hunstanton

Book Now

The famous Norfolk coastline is home hundreds of captivating grey and harbour seals, but it can be hard to get a glimpse of these tricksy mammals in the wild. Blow all your frustrations away with a visit to Sea Life Hunstanton, Norfolk's only seal sanctuary open to visitors. Get up close to cute rescued seal pups, and learn from the dedicated team about their important work and the seafaring lives of these fascinating and friendly creatures. But true to the Sea Life ethos, you’ll get to see more than just seals- over 2,000 more creatures, in fact, from tiny shrimps to Amazonian Piranhas and jaw-some sharks!

Hunstanton’s state of the art marine aquarium will take you on a memorable undersea odyssey filled with amazing close encounters. Get up close to the otterly adorable family of Asian short clawed otters, archerfish, and Ernie, the magnificent giant sea turtle. The friendly Rainforest Rangers will show you jungle creepy crawlies, snakes and lizards, and teach you how to waddle with the charming colony of Humboldt penguins. Look up for the Inca terns- ‘the birds with magnificent moustaches’- as they fly and dive above your head, then take your new knowledge and enjoy a bit of rockpooling back out along Norfolk’s magnificent seashore.

Sea Life Great Yarmouth

Book Now

Set right on its colourful seafront, alongside an array of family-friendly attractions, the magical marine world of Sea Life Great Yarmouth will introduce you to many beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep. Come face to fin with fish, turtles and enigmatic blacktip reef sharks in the massive 250,000 litre Tropical Ocean Display Tunnel, as they roam around the Lost City of Atlantis! Interact with playful Humboldt penguins as they swim and socialise together and immerse yourself in the mysterious and graceful world of rays in 'Under the Raydar'!

Discover the incredible creatures that have adapted to live in the shallow pools of our coasts at the rockpool, where every explorer has the chance to stroke a starfish! Discover the world's smallest crocodiles, and be mesmerised by enchanting jellyfish as they shimmy under sensory lighting, which emphasises their beauty in a uniquely stunning experience. Your ticket is valid all day, allowing plenty of opportunity to enjoy daily fun talks, animal feeds, special events and adventure quizzes- by the time you surface, you’ll be in no doubt you’ve come closer than ever before to the creatures and features of the world's wild oceans!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions at the link below, which include some Top Tips and Did you know information, which you can use to show off with your friends and family

  • Read our frequently asked questions (FAQs) - Click Here

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our article called National Sea Life Centres (Part 1 of 2) and that you have found the information above include our FAQ page helpful in deciding on which venue you to choose for your Activities and Days Out.

Latest Articles