Have you ever wished you could swim to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean to see some of the rarest marine life in the world? Or even take a trip to the icy terrain of Antarctica and snap photos of a family of penguins in their natural habitat? Well luckily for you, the SEA Life London Aquarium allows visitors to do just that - and it's located right on South Bank's doorstep.

Originally opened as the London Aquarium in 1997, SEA LIFE attracts more than a million visitors each year, and is the largest aquarium in London. Not only does the SEA LIFE London Aquarium provide hours upon hours of entertainment for visitors as they watch sharks, turtles and tropical fish swim over, under and all around them, it's also one of the UK's leading centres in marine management, conservation and preservation in marine animal welfare.

The aquarium has different zones dedicated to specific areas of the world and the marine animals that reside in them, such as “Pacific Wreck,” “Rainforests Of The World,” “Seadragon Kingdom,” “Shark Walk,” “Penguin Point,” “Ocean Tunnel,” “Dive Discovery,” and much, much more.

Besides being home to countless sting rays, turtles, catfish, crabs, piranhas, and crocodiles, the aquarium also houses some of the rarest and most beautiful marine animals in the world, such as the bowmouth guitarfish, lionfish, blind cave fish, and even poison dart frogs.

Sea Life London Aquarium, alligator. By Jenn and Jon Sea Life London Aquarium, exterior. By Gary Bembridge
Sea Life London Aquarium, exterior close up. By Bas Boerman Sea Life London Aquarium stingrays. By Jenn and Jon Sea Life London Aquarium, ticket desk. By Gary Bembridge

Highlights The Sea Life London Aquarium

From walking over a glass window and watching sharks swim under your feet in the Pacific display, to gawking at sand eels, snails and octopus in the Atlantic Zone, strolling through the SEA LIFE London Aquarium will make you feel as if you're diving into the depths of the world's biggest oceans.

Visitors can snap photos of some jellyfish, pipefish and coloured gurnards in the Tidal Reach zone, and even watch sting rays glide over them through waters near a lagoon in the shallow Atlantic waters. Young children will especially enjoy stroking starfish and tickling sea anemone at the Rockpools section, and even get the chance to feel the shell of a crab as well (with the assistance of the aquarium staff, of course)

Special Tips

  • If you plan on visiting The London Eye and the London Dungeon as well as the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, make sure you take advantage of the discounted combined tickets (available on any of their official websites).
  • It can get quite warm inside the aquarium (even during the colder months) and cold in the penguin area, so you might want to dress in layers during your visit.
  • Because some of the areas of the aquarium are quite narrow with smaller enclosures, you may want to avoid visiting during the busier periods (especially if you don't want other people blocking your view of the exhibits)