A Complete Guide to Sealife London Aquarium

 

Discover marine mammals. Meet the sharks and stingrays. Join behind the scenes tour on how they care for 600 species. Explore the Amazon jungle and meet beetles, spiders, and bugs. Visit The Polar Experience and meet various penguins swimming inside the “frozen ocean”. Watch them shoot up towards the “ice sheets” at the top. Touch a live starfish with an experienced guide and get up close and personal with the sea creatures. 
 
Sea Life London Aquarium is by the strip of the River Thames, in the Southbank. It offers more than 600 marine and rainforest animals. It’s very educational for children and adults alike. The place is also great for marine, bugs and insect lovers.
 
This guide covers:
 
Information on different types of species in different areas of the ocean.
 
General information about nearby attractions.
 
Promotional discounts.
 
How long to spend time in Sealife, tips, and useful information.
 
Let’s begin.

Sea Life London Aquarium Tickets

Check out offers on other attractions when you buy tickets to Sea Life London Aquarium. For example, if you buy 2 or more London attraction tickets, you get 1 more attraction free of charge. For example, 1 ticket for Sea Life London Aquarium is £55, if you buy 4 attraction tickets, it would be £60. It’s worth it.
 
You can also buy the London Pass for Sea Life get discounts on more than 80 attractions. Check out their website here
 
Don’t forget to get a Fast-Track ticket where you can jump the queue.
 
The Shrek Experience, London Eye and London Dungeon are next to each other.  Click here for my time at the London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds.
 
The dark entrance feels you’re going down the bottom of the sea. You can see pictures of fishes, bubbles and pipes, submarine windows corals on the blue wall. You can hear music in the background, the beating of the drums, and the synchronizers. The music seems suited to the environment.

The beginning of the tour

 

Sealife London Aquarium

The lift down sent us to Sea Life, flashing blue lights made the environment interesting. The first stage of the tour is in the Atlantic Depths.  Various types of fishes of different colours swim in several tanks
 
Each fish you see will give you a picture of the sea creatures, its habitat, where it’s from, their diet, and the threats. The bullet points used were clear and easy to read.
 
There were plenty of kids under 4 since it was a school day. This is a good time to visit. 
 
You can hear the sound of toddlers talking to their parents about different kinds of fishes as we walked.
 
In the Atlantic Depths, brittles you can find stars and the shanny fishes among other species. Children and adults alike are in awe of the colourful corals, plants and sea decorations in the tanks.
 
What I learned
 
You find brittle starfishes in the coastline of Western Europe. You can find them by the beach or rockpools during winter. They’re called “brittle” since they can break off when you touch their arms by other animals and humans. They’re very sensitive. They are 2 cm long and can live up to 5 to 10 years.
 
Shanny fishes look like a cross between a fish and a frog. Their big eyes and mouth give it away. They can be shy and you can find them in rock pools and shallow water around the UK coast.
 
Also known as the blenny, they are 15 cm long and you can find them during the winter months.

 

Stingrays and big fishes

On the next leg of the tour, smiley, cute stingrays and big fishes swam together in a glass tank. It was as if they said “Hello” to us.
 
Kneel down to your knees and press your hand against the glass of the plastic pool as they swim towards you. It’s an amazing experience. The tips of their sides moved in waves; it’s as if they are waving at you. Then, not for very long, they swam back into the middle of the tank.
 
On the wall, a plaque with “Behind the Scene Tour” hung. You’d have to book that and must inquire about it.
 
During the tour, you’re able to touch a live starfish with a guide from a member of staff. She was there to help with any questions you may have about starfishes. When they’re alive, they feel soft but be gentle as they are living creatures.

What I learned

 

Starfishes belong in the Asteroidea family. Along with brittle starfishes, they can also belong in the ophiuroids family too. They are not fishes but an echinoderm. There are 2000 species of starfishes in the world, from tropical islands to stony beach areas. Some people have found that there are 20 to 40 arms on some starfishes.

Does the London Aquarium have sharks?

Yes it doesn, it includes sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks and black tip reef sharks.

Sharks and large fishes

A large glassed tunnel consisted of water above. Stingrays and the Great White Sharks swam above. The stingrays here were larger than the ones in the tank earlier on. Further up, get up close and personal between the huge glass with the great white sharks. Corals and shipwrecks put into the tanks as decorations while the fishes swim around.
 
30 tiny clown fishes swam in different directions in 1 small aquarium. A live sized glass had larger sharks and stingrays as they swim along with larger fishes on the other side. It feels being in the set of Finding Nemo. There were seahorses and crablike creatures, Among the larger fishes. It was good to see different fish species in one area.

 What I learned

The Great White Shark is the largest marine predator and can swim up to 15 miles per hour with its powerful tails. They can get as big as 15 to 20 feet, three quarters smaller than a bus and weighs up to 2.5 tonnes.  The great white sharks do not prey on humans, rather, curious to human taste.
 
Stingrays are cartilaginous fish and they’re related to the shark family. They are the most endangered and can you can find them on the coast on shallow water. They are usually buried in sand and are usually idle most of the time. They can get up to 5 – 7 feet long, 7 feet across and weigh up to 790 pounds. They can also live up to 15 – 25 years.
 
There are around 30 clownfishes and belong in the amphiprioninae family. They got their name because of its colours; white stripes with black borders and orange markings. the colours clowns use. They are usually small with 4.3 inches in length and can live up to 4 – 8 years.

 

The rainforest

Green leaves, bamboo sticks, pine wooded walls surround the rainforest and the dark environment felt like you were in the Amazon rainforest. You could also smell fresh leaves as you enter this room.

Here, tiny blue frogs stuck themselves on the window. There were various plants and rocks to make their home comfortable. Among them were millipedes and beetles.

An interactive ranger explained all the different creatures of the forest as we continued the tour. He spoke about their homes and their diets.

Further on, chirping birds, cricket noises and the hooting of the owls could be heard in the background. There weren’t any crickets here though.

Here, you could see leafcutter ants working together to make their home comfortable. Turtles sleeping and staying still, not caring about who watched them and rainforest fishes swimming aimlessly behind the tank. A light sounding roar of waterdrops in the tank could be heard, although no water could be seen.

Dare to touch the piranha fossils. Type in the computer of what you discovered in the rainforest.

In the next room, you are surrounded by different coloured jelly fish neon lights swimming on the floors, the walls and the ceilings, though the environment was still dark. Real jellyfishes and crabs behind aquariums changed colours as the neon lights hit them at the bottom of the tank. Pinks, blues, greens, yellows, changing continuously. 

 

What I learned

There are 200 jellyfish species in the world and they have lived over hundreds of millions of years, way back to the dinosaurs. They stun their prey by stinging them with their tentacles and use them to defend against their predators. Some jellyfishes mature within months, then die after breeding.

Leaf cutter ants are native to South and Central America, Mexico and some parts of the Southern United States. There are 47 species in total and they usually cut leaves to feed fungus in their nest. Ants need to survive on fungus, fungus need to survive on ants and most leaf cutter ants are infertile females working together.

Piranhas are also known as caribe or piraya. There are 60 species of piranhas and all of them have razor toothed mouth. They feed on plant-based diet and can go up to 6cm long. Colours vary incredibly from silver with orange markings to black. You can find them in lakes and rivers in South America, particularly Argentina and Colombia.

 

The Polar Experience

In the Polar Experience, you are surrounded by white iceberg walls. It felt cold, since the air conditioning was on. There were around 10 penguins swimming in their enclosure, splashing themselves into the deep water of the “Antarctic Ocean”. They can shoot themselves up again up on to land, on the edge of the ice. Their names were given and put up on the walls.

The only difficulty was taking pictures since water covered the glass between us, consequently, it would blur in photos.

 

Sea Life Aquarium London Information

You can get to Sea life Aquarium by tube. Get off at Westminster Station and walk across Westminster Bridge over the River Thames. There are also several buses that will take you to Southbank and Westminster.

By bus, you can take numbers 12, 53, 59, 76, 148, 159, 211, 341, 211, 77, RV1 and 381.

There is also a car park near the aquarium. You can get 15% discounts through the London Aquarium website if you prebook your parking.

 You will see a few rickshaws selling their service to tourists by Westminster Bridge. Personally, it’s not worth the time and they charge you £15 for a ride.

Sea Life Aquarium London is a self-guided tour and takes roughly 2 hours to visit, but spend as much time as you’d like here. Please note that children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

There are usually street performers here. Personally, don’t waste your time with them because you could be spending your time wisely here as well as the other attractions by the Southbank area.

Other attractions worth visiting are Westminster Abbey, Big Ben (although the clock tower is going through a major refurbishment, it’s covered by a blanket right now), Madame Tussauds, Shrek the Experience, London Dungeon, London Eye, the view of the River Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Tate Gellery. Opposite the Tate Gallery, cross the Millennium Bridge, you will end up in Fleet Street where you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral.

At the end of Southbank you will see The Clink Prison Museum, a prison that has been around since the 12th Century. Borough Market, The Golden Hinde Ship that have travelled the world between the 16th Century, Southwark Cathedral, the ruins of one side stoned wall of Winchester Palace and London Bridge Station.

Annisa’s Advice

Allow yourself 1 and a half hours here. A lot of people buy tickets to visit Sealife London Aquarium with other attractions nearby. Buy the Fast Track Ticket in the The London Pass website. They offer great VIP benefits and would be much cheaper to buy if you’re spending more than three days here.

Visit during the time when children are at school. School holidays can be busy, especially during Behind the Scenes tour.

Click here to go back to the Top 10 attractions in London.

Take care!!!

 

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