The Best Aquariums in England

The Best Aquariums UK Has On Offer

One popular question people ask me is what is the best aquarium. UK has lots of great aquariums. Some of the best aquariums near me is The Depp in Hull, and Sea Life Great Yarmouth. I believe the best aquarium UK has to offer is National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth. Have you visited some of the best aquariums UK has to offer?

When it’s pouring outside, it’s the perfect time to spend the day at one of England’s best aquariums. I have compiled a list of the best aquariums in England so you can have a great day out with your family.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Japan is known as the best Aquarium in the world. It is one of the biggest aquariums in the world and is home to 740 species including the gigantic whale shark. In the popular London Aquarium, there are a variety of sharks including the Sand Tiger Shark, Nurse Shark and Black Tip Reef Shark.

There are 966 fish species held in aquariums in Great Britain. Visiting a sealife aquarium is a great experience for the whole family. Not only is it a fun day out, it is also a great educational experience, and that is why lots of schools visit UK aquariums.

There are lots of aquariums in the UK including the popular Hull aquarium The Deep. I have put together a list of the best aquariums in England that offers value for money and a truly great experience.


Best Aquariums in England for a Day Out

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

aquariums near me

Plymouth, England is home to the biggest aquarium in the United Kingdom, the National Marine Aquarium. It has an extensive marine life collection, including a special section dedicated to marine life in the United Kingdom. The best sea life aquarium opened in 1988.

It is Great Britain’s largest aquarium as well as the best aquarium in England. It holds over 2.5 million litres of water and is home to some amazing sealife. You can expect to see rays, sharks and reef fish to name a few.

The Plymouth aquarium offers value for money and is a great day out for the whole family.


Sea Life Brighton

Brighton where Goggle Box stars Stephen Webb and Daniel live is one of the most popular UK staycation resorts for people of all ages, It is also the home to one of the best UK Aquariums.

Sea Life Brighton which many believe to be the best sealife aquarium in the UK holds the record for being the oldest aquarium in the world. The Brighton Aquarium first opened its doors in 1872 and was designed by Eugenius Birch at a cost of £133,000 (equivalent to around £5.5 million today).

With the huge investment over the years and the continued investment, Sea Life Brighton continues to be at the cutting edge of UK aquariums. Part of that investment is the walk-through rainforest, which is home to frogs, piranhas, and snakes. There is also a Glass Bottom Boat experience.

The Brighton Sea Life centre houses sharks, jellyfish, octopus, rare turtles, and so much more.

The Deep – Hull Aquarium

Best aquarium to visit UK

One of the best sea life aquariums in the UK and one of my favourite The Deep in Hull. The Hull aquarium was opened in 2002 and in 2013, it was voted the best family place to visit in Hull.

When The Deep opened, in its first year it welcomed 850,000 visitors which is incredible for a new attraction. The Hull aquarium with over 3000 creatures, including sharks and sawfish and with huge media exposure has become one of the best-known aquariums in the UK.

As well as attracting tourists from all over the UK and around the world, The Deep has also become an important educational facility.  Each year more than 30,000 primary and secondary school students visit The Deep.

The Hull aquarium is so popular that in one day they welcomed 5,484 visitors.


The Deep facts

  • The total volume of water in The Deep is 3,243,192 litres
  • The Marine Red List Officer has assessed over 1,600 species for the IUCN Red List globally
  • The Hull Aquarium has supported 67 BSc/MSc student projects through their Husbandry department
  • Since opening The Deep has used 2,500 tonnes of salt in our tanks
  • The Hull aquarium guiding team have delivered 27,450 hours of presentations including dive shows, penguin feeds, scatter feeds and interactive shows

The Deep is home to sharks, stingrays, sawfish, hundreds of tropical reef fish, Loggerhead sea turtles a colony of Gentoo penguins, and much more.

The Hull aquarium is a great place to visit for people of all ages.


National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

Birmingham National Sea Life Centre which has over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life opened in 1996. The Birmingham aquarium has an ocean tank that has a capacity of 1,000,000 litres of water. It houses giant green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish.

Since it opened, The National Sea Life Centre aquarium in Birmingham has become an important tourist attraction. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and those who visit it has described it as one of the best in the country.

There are many things that make the Birmingham Aquarium stand out from other UK aquariums, but the one thing I love is the 360 degree Ocean tunnel. It is the only one in the country.

The Ocean tunnel is truly amazing. Imagine being able to go through a tunnel under the water and see incredible creatures and sharks swimming overhead and underneath. This is what you will experience at the popular aquarium in Birmingham.

The National Sea Life Centre is home to Gentoo Penguins, Clownfish, Turtles, Sea Otters, and Sharks to name a few.

If you are looking for a great day out for the whole family, then the aquarium in Birmingham is just the ticket. It offers not just a great experience, but it also offers value for money.

It’s a great day out in Birmingham and deserves it’s place on the best aquariums in England


Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park

aquarium in birmingham

For those looking for a great day out in England and who love sea life, then The Sea Life Adventure park is the perfect choice. No matter how old you are, the Weymouth aquarium will bring you hours of fun.

The sealife aquarium opened in 1983 and has become a major tourist attraction in Weymouth. It houses 2,000 creatures which includes otters as well as rescued turtles.

The Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park is spread over 14 acres. It has indoor and also outdoor exhibits. There is a great play area and an outdoor splash park for the summer.

The Weymouth aquarium is a great day out. Once you have had a fantastic day in the aquarium then why not think about all the other great attractions in Weymouth.


Bristol Aquarium

The Bristol Aquarium which is located in the city centre deserves a place on our list as one of the best UK aquariums. It is a great place to visit in Bristol for the whole family. It is the only aquarium in the UK to house a botanical garden.

What I love about the aquarium in Bristol is all the things they have on offer. It is home to Sharks, rays, a giant octopus, Amazonian and tropical fish in huge tanks with underwater tunnels.

The Sunken Shipwreck exhibit is a great addition. It teaches people how man-made disasters can help marine life, which includes how shipwrecks provide excellent homes for reef species.


Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester

chester aquarium

The popular Chester aquarium is home Europe’s largest collection of sharks. The underwater Shark Tunnel is an amazing experience where you can see sand tiger sharks, black tip sharks, and guitar sharks. There is also an impressive host of rays as well as other incredible sea life.

The Chester aquarium gives people the opportunity to dive with the sharks, if that rocks your boat. Don’t worry if you have no diving experience as the professional aquarium team will be on hand.

When you have finished at the popular UK aquarium, then why not think about visiting Chester Zoo.

The Blue Planet Aquarium is located by the Cheshire Oaks retail and leisure complex. It was opened in July 1998.


Sea Life London Aquarium

The London aquarium is a great day out for the family. There are lot of things to do in London, and the SEA LIFE London Aquarium is one of them. It may not be the biggest UK aquarium but in my opinion, it is one of the best.

The Sea Life London Aquarium is located in the heart of London, close to the iconic London Eye. It is home to the UK’s largest jellyfish exhibit.

If you are visiting London for a great day out then you need to include a visit to the London Aquarium.


SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

The Great Yarmouth aquarium has become an important tourist attraction. It is open all year and can be found on the sea front in Great Yarmouth.

It may not be the biggest aquarium in the UK but it is still impressive. The 250,000 litre Tropical Ocean Display/tunnel allows people to get close and see the juvenile blacktip reef sharks.

The aquarium in Great Yarmouth has family-friendly exhibits, and children as well as adults with love seeing the sea turtles, rays, jellyfish, and my favourite, the penguins.

If it is raining and you are staying in one of the caravan parks in Great Yarmouth, then the popular Great Yarmouth aquarium will keep the children amused.

Once you have finished at Sea Life Great Yarmouth then why not visit the fun fair or the pier, or cross over the road and do some shopping.


Read The Best Places To Visit In Great Yarmouth


Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport, Cumbria

The Lake District is one of the most scenic places in the UK if not the world. There is so much to see and do in the Lake District. So, it’s not surprising that it has its own sealife aquarium.

The Lake District Coast Aquarium also known as Maryport Aquarium was first opened in 1997. Since opening its doors, Lake District Coast Aquarium in Cumbria has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Lake District.

With over 2,000 specimens, and 150 different species of local aquatic life, it is no wonder why it has become one of the most popular aquariums in England. With more than 75 display tanks there is lots to see which includes marine creatures from around the world.

For those families visiting the Lake District and wondering on rainy days what to do and if there is an aquarium near me, then the answer is, get your coat on and visit the Lake District Coast Aquarium.

With lots of things to do, children will love the Lake District aquarium as a fun day out. As well as great sea life, there is also a crazy gold course, and even an outdoor adventure playground to keep them occupied. There is a café to get something to eat, which includes fish and chips.

The Lake District aquarium is open seven days a week, all-year-round.


Sea Life Manchester

Manchester aquairum

Manchester is home to Coronation Street and two of the best football teams in the UK. It is also home to one of the best aquariums in England.

Children love visiting an Aquarium. Manchester Sea Life will bring children lots of smiles and a fun day out. The Manchester aquarium is located at the Trafford Centre which can easily be accessed by car or by tram.

Sea Life Manchester has more than 5,000 amazing sealife, including sea turtles, rays, sharks, jellyfish and more. There are different aquarium zones to explore including turtle beach which is a unique 3D projection experience.

There are educational talks, diving demonstrations, and what I love, is the animal feeding times. There are lots of events each year at the SEA LIFE Manchester.

There are lots of things to do in Manchester, but the Manchester aquarium has to be one of the best things to do for children.


Sea Life Scarborough

I love Scarborough. There is lots of things to do in Scarborough as well as great places to visit. I do love going to Scarborough for the concerts they put on. But one thing I really love to do when I go on holiday in Scarborough is a visit the Scarborough aquarium.

The Sea Life Scarborough opened in 1991, and quickly become a booming tourist attraction. The Scarborough aquarium is part of the SEA LIFE family which has aquariums all over the UK with many being described as the best aquariums in England.

Scarborough is not sunshine weather all-year-round, and to be honest, when you visit Scarborough, you must expect rain even when you think it will be a sunny day. So, it is important to find things to do in Scarborough when it is raining. The last thing you want when on holiday in Scarborough is children arguing because they are bored. The Sea Life Scarborough tourist attraction is perfect in all weathers, but especially when it is raining.

It is not surprising that it is known as one of the best sea life centres in England when you think it is part of the SEA LIFE brand. SEA LIFE are known for creating an amazing experience for their visitors. They invest a lot of money in their UK aquariums to make sure that visitors have a fun day out, and that includes the Sea Life Scarborough aquarium.

The Scarborough aquarium has lots of sea life creatures to see including blue spotted stingray, Native sharks, penguins, otters, clownfish, octopus, to name a few. There is even a rain forest adventure that the kids will love.

The children will love the 200,000l Ocean Tunnel where they can see what it is like to live under the sea. They will see Blacktip Reef Sharks, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and so much more

One thing that I love about the aquarium in Scarborough is the Seal Hospital. They rescue seals and once they get them back to full health, they then release then back into the sea. Each year around 30 seal pups are rescued off the Yorkshire coast. Without the Scarborough Seal Hospital, they would not survive.

If you are going to the popular Yorkshire holiday resort, then do book yourself a visit to the Scarborough aquarium.


Oceanarium, Bournemouth

aquarium uk

The Bournemouth aquarium which opened in 1998 has become an important tourist attraction for the popular seaside resort. Each year more than 225,000 people visit the Oceanarium, Bournemouth.

The popular UK aquarium which is on two levels has a diverse collection of marine creatures, making it one of the best aquariums in England. There is an underwater shark tunnel which the kids will love.

The Oceanarium, Bournemouth is located right on the sea front. So, if you had not already planned to go to the Bournemouth aquarium and you are on the sea front, and it starts to rain, then you can quickly grab your children and pop in and keep dry while having a great time.

When you visit the Bournemouth aquarium make sure you find out what times they feed the animals. Throughout the day you can watch as the penguins, otters, turtles, and sharks being fed.

Bournemouth aquarium has over 150 species of fish. The Great Barrier Reef which can be seen from two floors is spectacular. However, for me the Penguins at the Oceanarium is what I really enjoyed.

Oceanarium, Bournemouth aquarium is a great day out for the kids in Bournemouth on sunny and rainy days.


Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

If you are taking a staycation in Cornwall, then you must visit the popular Newquay aquarium. The Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay is home to a 250,000 litre ocean tank. It contains amazing sea life that includes black tip reef sharks.

The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay has 40 innovative displays. The aquarium focuses on marine life such as Pipefish, dogfish, sea bream, and more.

The children will love seeing the giant pacific octopuses, loggerhead turtles, dwarf caiman crocodiles, and black tip reef sharks.

Here is a list of what you can expect to see at the Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

Common blenny

Giant Pacific Octopus

Spiny starfish

Southern stingray


Silver dollar

Black reef tip shark

Yellow tang

Red-bellied piranha

Sea bass

Loggerhead turtle


Cuvier dwarf caiman



Sea bream





If you are stuck to find somewhere to hold a birthday party for your child then good news. The Newquay aquarium hosts children’s birthday parties.


Sea Life Blackpool

aquariums near me

Each year more than 18 million people visit Blackpool, making it one of the most loved seaside resorts in England. There are lots of things to see and do in Blackpool including the Sea Life Blackpool aquarium.

The Blackpool aquarium first opened in 1990, making it a great addition to the popular tourist attractions currently available. The Blackpool sea life aquarium is part of the SEA LIFE brand who have some of the best aquariums in England. So, when visiting the Sea Life Blackpool, you know that you are visiting an aquarium that puts their sea life first, and you are in for an amazing experience.

In the tanks you can expect to see species native to our shores such as starfish, stingray, crab, Pollack and dogfish. There are also two large tanks at the Blackpool aquarium where you can see small sharks.

Children will love the rainforest adventures where they can see frogs, turtles, and the new ranger’s table. One thing that stands out, and one thing the SEA LIFE brand are known for is their ocean tunnel. Imagine being able to go through a tunnel with water around you and seeing what it is like to live under the ocean? Well, that is what the aquarium in Blackpool offers.

The Sea Life Blackpool aquarium deserves its place on our best aquariums in the UK thanks to the amazing experience it provides.


Other Popular Aquariums In The UK


Exploris Northern Ireland

Located on the banks of Strangford Lough, an aquatic wildlife sanctuary as well as site of particular scientific significance, Exploris serves as the sole aquarium in Northern Ireland.


St. Andrews Aquarium Fife

The St. Andrews Aquarium features Scotland’s only privately owned aquarium, and it’s conveniently located near the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Fife. It has an Amazonian theme abundant with the dangerous piranha.


SEALiFE in Loch Lomond

SEALiFE Loch Lomond is conveniently located in the popular shopping, dining, and entertainment district of Loch Lomond Shores, on the scenic banks of the loch with an equally appealing display of aquatic life.


The Aquarium in Tynemouth

Explore Tynemouth Aquarium to see exotic marine life from places like the warm Caribbean and the United Kingdom.


SEALiFE Hunstanton

Hunstanton’s seashore is home to SEALiFE Hunstanton. Attractions feature the Ocean Tunnel as well as Penguin Beach, home to twenty curious and cute Humboldt penguins.


Seaquarium Rhyl

Located on the picturesque North Wales coast, the Seaquarium in Rhyl is the biggest aquarium in all of Wales. There are animals from all over the globe on display in our 9 themed areas, and if you go outside to Sea Lion Cove, you can even pet some of our friendly harbor seals.


Deep Sea World Fife

Scotland’s State Aquarium, Deep Sea World, can be found at North Queensferry, Fife, just under the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. You may stroll down the ocean floor with sharks gliding inches over your eyes in the globe’s longest submarine observation tube.


What is your favourite aquarium. UK has lots of acquriums but I would love to know which aquairums in the UK you have visited, and which one do you think is the best.


Here are all the best aquariums in England

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Sea Life Brighton

The Deep – Hull Aquarium

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park

Bristol Aquarium

Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester

Sea Life London Aquarium

SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport, Cumbria

Sea Life Manchester

Sea Life Scarborough

Oceanarium, Bournemouth

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

Sea Life Blackpool


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