Friday, 15 May 2015

Days Out: The London Aquarium

It's funny, after living in London for nearly a decade, we've probably been to more tourist attractions since leaving London, than we ever did when we lived there (the word skint comes to mind!). But I thought I'd share our experiences with you for those attractions we have visited. Starting with the Sea Life London Aquarium!

We visited the London Aquarium on a rainy February day last year with our then not-quite-one-year-old. If you're taking babies or young toddlers it's the perfect trip - all the different lights, shapes and movements are really stimulating for young eyes (a bit like a sensory room!) but it is dark so I wouldn't be as comfortable taking a two year old who's more mobile because she would just run away and likely get lost!



If you're travelling with a buggy, then the Aquarium is very buggy friendly. The aquarium is spread over three floors but there are lifts and ramps everywhere. If you do have little ones toddling then there's quite a bit to see at their eye level but you might want to lift them up and carry them for a fair amount of it. We went on a weekday during February, so not exactly peak time, but it wasn't overly busy and meant for a nice leisurely walk around without feeling rushed by people coming up behind us. There's also plenty of space with wide corridors so you're not constantly in people's way with all your baby paraphernalia. The website does, however, warn that it's not unusual at busy times to have queues out the door to get in so if you're planning on going during peak time then take a look at their Priority Tickets to beat the queues!

This is the perfect attraction if it's a miserable day, or if you're caught on the South Bank in a downpour. We got the tube to Westminster, crossed Westminster Bridge and then you're there so we didn't get too soaked - although you wouldn't think it from some of the pictures!

In terms of the displays on offer, I'm guessing it's what you would expect for an aquarium - fish, fish, turtles, more fish.... - I can tell you there were lots of fish! If you're interested in the specifics then their website has lots of information. As well as all the tanks, there's a more experiential area where I think if you get there at the right time, staff are on hand to maybe give you a sea mouse to hold or something! (Yes, sea mice do exist, they're a bit like slugs - urgh!)



As you walk round the route there are lots of educational signs appropriate for kids, and staff do give talks at particular times. Plan your visit on the website if you want to get there for feeding times!

We were very excited to find there were penguins! I don't think I had expected the aquarium to have penguins but we are big fans and Ruby seemed to really like them. (This exhibit is rather cold - we put Ruby back in her snowsuit before we went in).


We, of course, finished our day with a little trip to the gift shop for a souvenir and I didn't find the prices overly extortionate which was nice because it meant we could treat Ruby to a soft toy (I *think* he was about £8). We have named him Terry the Terrapin - although we're not entirely sure that that's what he is! She was really taken with him and he went everywhere with us for quite a while (now languishing in the bottom of the toy box somewhere, no doubt!).



At the end of the day, back out onto the South Bank where it had thankfully stopped raining!

Here's the stats:

Transport: Five minutes walk from Westminster tube (Jubilee, Circle & District lines).

Cost: Standard tickets are £23.50 for adults and £16.95 for children. You can reduce this cost by booking online in advance (saves approx. 15%). However, if you're travelling by National Rail then make sure you print off this 2for1 voucher giving a massive saving. I have to be honest, I think it is overpriced if you do not take advantage of this deal. If you're getting two tickets for the price of one then I think it's good value.

Time: This isn't an all day activity. I'd say 2-3 hours, depending on how likely you are to stop at every single tank or listen to every talk. This is the main reason I would say it's overpriced if you pay full whack.

Food & Drink: There are no food or drink facilities on site - in fact they apparently have a strict No Food or Drink policy. However, there's plenty of great cafes and restaurants in close proximity to the aquarium.

Afterwards: Jump on a site-seeing tour bus, head down the south bank to visit the Tate Modern or cross over the Thames to see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden.... you're in the heart of London so if you plan your visit you can do pretty much anything!

***

I'm taking part in Blog Every Day in May. Check out these two challenges and join in the fun!


Blog Every Day in May badge  Found Love. Now What?



#TravelTales

5 comments:

  1. We loved the London Aquarium - it's a great day out! The section where you walk though the tunnel and are surrounded by water and fish is amazing. Glad you had fun! It is overpriced without a voucher though, we wouldn't have gone without one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, agreed on the price - I don't know how big families cope with these things! But otherwise a fantastic day out.

      Delete
  2. I haven't been to the London Aquarium for ages (as I live here, obviously I never seem to make it to the attractions near me!) but we had a fantastic time with my nearly three-year-old at another aquarium last weekend so maybe a good plan for a rainy summer day... #traveltales

    ReplyDelete
  3. Not been to the London Aquarium for ages. I do have a strong memory of some very excited kiddies at the Stingray tank when we did though, hehe.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised how much was there, I'm not sure what I expected, but because it was in an old government building in the middle of London I just didn't think it would be very good.

    I do agree, it's definitely a bit pricey at full cost but a great day out if you can get a decent discount.

    #traveltales

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.