Five Fin-tastic aquariums across the UK with unmissable marine life

3 November 2021

The UK is home to so many amazing aquariums.  

There’s nothing quite like visiting these places and seeing the fascinating, terrifying and breath-taking creatures that inhabit our planet’s oceans with your own eyes. 

We’ve put this itinerary together because we think these places really are some of Britain’s best aquariums, so if you haven’t already, be sure to dive right in and experience them for yourself! 

The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Let’s begin our voyage with the UK’s largest aquarium: the National Marine Aquarium.  

Located in the sunny seaside city of Plymouth, the NMA is absolutely massive, with over 4000 species of animals to discover. 

There are so many amazing exhibits to see here, including one on the Great Barrier Reef where you can see two huge humphead wrasse called Cooper and Mini, as well as Samson the giant grouper. 

Also get ready for the breathtaking Eddystone Reef exhibit, which has the largest viewing platform in the entire UK - ideal for getting a great view of the sharks and rays! 

But the thing you absolutely have to check out while you’re here is the Atlantic Ocean display - home to the deepest tank in the whole of Britain.  

Holding two and a half million litres of water, it’s home to more fish than you’ll be able to count, ranging from tiny colourful coral dwellers to massive sharks. 

And keep an eye out for Friday, the cauliflower-munching sea turtle! 

Sea Life Brighton

Finally, let’s lay anchor at Brighton, one of Britain’s most popular places for seaside escapes. This is the place where you’ll find Britain’s oldest aquarium: Sea Life Brighton

The original Victorian architecture of this place is still intact from when it first opened in 1872, lit up in spectacular rainbow colours. 

It was built by the same architect of Brighton’s West Pier, Eugenius Birch, and just like the pier, it’s still a beloved attraction today. 

There’s the Day and Night section, the only experience of its kind in the UK which will show you how the life in the ocean changes throughout the day, as well as how the creatures that live there adapt to the darkness. 

The Rainforest Adventure, meanwhile, is home to lots of jungle-dwelling fish like piranhas, as well as other animals like terrapins and anacondas. 

If you want an extra special treat, also consider taking a VIP trip in the Glass Bottom Boat, which will sail you over the tanks and give you a truly unique perspective of the fish inside. 

The National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

Next, we sail down the canals of Birmingham for the National Sea Life Centre.  

This manta ray shaped building has so many fantastic animals to get up close to, from clownfish to sea turtles, moray eels to octopuses, and from sea otters to gentoo penguins! 

See if you can spot Pablo the penguin making mischief with his pals, whether you’re watching them waddle around on the icy surface of their enclosure or seeing them swim around from the underwater window below. 

We know you’ll be glued to the glass as you watch all of the aquatic residents here, especially if you go through the mesmerising ocean tunnel.  

This is the only 360-degree ocean tunnel in the UK, so you’ll even be able to see things swimming beneath your feet! 

Deep Sea World, Fife

In the Kingdom of Fife awaits this country’s national aquarium, Deep Sea World, with some really special exhibits to explore. 

There’s the seal harbour, where adorable harbour seals laze about on the beach and play in the water.  

Try and time your visit so that you can watch them being fed! 

There’s also the Temple of Frogs, where you can see many different species of - you guessed it - frogs!  

However, this temple is also home to a more unusual resident: Godzilla, the alligator snapping turtle. 

This guy looks straight out of Jurassic Park, and he’s certainly got a mean bite to back up his prehistoric appearance. 

While you’re here, you have to also check out the underwater tunnel, which is the largest of its kind in the entire UK.  

It’s 112 metres long, and this size means it’s able to hold some true monsters of the deep. Walking through it is a jaw-some experience! 

Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire 

Let’s chart a course to Cheshire and visit Blue Planet Aquarium.  

This place isn’t too far from Chester, and as well as fish, you’ll discover coves full of pelicans and swamps full of crocodiles. 

But what really makes Blue Planet special is the Aquatheatre, where you can take a seat to watch a tank that contains over 1500 species of fish, including the largest collection of sharks in Europe. 

If you’re lucky (and particularly brave), you can even arrange to dive in and swim with them yourselves… 

The end of the voyage

After a great day exploring one of these fintastic, fascinating aquariums, it’s time to head home.  

As you relax and reflect on the brilliant time you’ve had, we know you’ll agree that visiting an aquarium is a truly special way to learn about the life in our planet’s lakes, rivers and oceans.