Visiting Sea Life London with Kids: How to Have an Awesome Visit

As some of you will know, we spent a day in London prior to our USA Road Trip. We acted like tourists and visited the London Eye, did a spot of dragon hunting in the Tower of London and we also went to Sea Life. It was a day dedicated to BattleKid as we knew he was facing some long days of flying and driving ahead. In this post I tell you all about our visit and give you some tips about visiting Sea Life, London with kids to ensure you have an awesome visit.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit

Sea Life was our second attraction of the day, after our trip on the London Eye. It is conveniently located right beside the London Eye, meaning you can easily combine the two. As with our tickets for the London Eye, I booked Flexi Anytime Priority tickets. Given that it was the end of the summer holidays, I thought it was best to book these tickets as it meant we could arrive at anytime on our chosen day and by-pass any queues. As it was there wasn’t a huge queue when we arrived, but this isn’t always guaranteed.

Sea Life was opened in 1997 as the London Aquarium and is located on the ground floor of County Hall in Southbank. It plays host to one million visitors a year. Within Sea Life there are around 500 species of fish and various marine areas including a Shark Walk, Ray Lagoon, Nemo’s Coral and Penguin Point. There are various feeding times during which staff give family-friendly talks. Sea Life is also heavily involved in conservation and has programmes including ray breeding, coral propagation and a big fish campaign.

When we arrived, we had to pick up a Ranger Pack for BattleKid which I had ordered when I booked our tickets online, and then we were in. I had been apprehensive about what visiting Sea Life with a toddler would be like, whether it would be any good. And we weren’t disappointed. Sea Life London is huge!

We started out by walking over the shark tank, and to be honest, it gave me the heebie jeebies. I’m not a huge fan of sharks but walking over them on glass was a bit disconcerting. Things like “the glass is going to crack and break” were running through my mind. BattleKid, however, found it fascinating. From the Shark Walk, we entered the Atlantic Coasts area, we saw sand eels and an octopus.

We soon found ourselves at the Ray Lagoon and saw rays and sharks of various sizes before moving onto Rockpools. In Rockpools we saw anemones, starfish and crabs too. In this area there are open tanks, allowing you to get your hands wet, although we stopped BattleKid from doing so.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit
Amazed at each and every tank of fish and sea creatures.

From Rockpools we passed under the Ocean tunnel, giving us another chance to see more shark and ray swimming over our heads. It was a cool tunnel and reminded me of the one in the Blue Planet Aquarium. We also saw some Green Sea Turtles in this area. They were so beautiful, so majestic. They were one of my personal highlights of our visit to the aquarium in London.

The tunnel led us to the Pacific Wreck area where I discovered the skeleton of a whale inside one tank (see our vlog video for a glimpse of this). And then came the main attraction for kids of all ages, Nemo’s Coral Reef. There was a tank huge of both white and orange, and white and black, clown fish (Nemo to you and I), and a certain little boy did not want to leave this tank I can tell you. It was hugely popular with kids and was the busiest place in the aquarium during our visit. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time there!

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit
Nemo was a hit, someone didn’t want to leave this tank!

We visited the Seahorse Kingdom and saw a few different varieties. BattleKid wasn’t that interested in them and we swiftly moved on to the creatures of the Rainforests of the World. Here we saw fish, including piranha with vicious looking teeth and catfish, as well as a crocodile. From the Rainforests area, you pass by the Thames Walk where you can learn about the creatures of this great river, as well as the efforts it takes to clean the river and its banks.

Then it was time to meet the penguins. You pass through an ice tunnel to reach their enclosure and it’s a bit chilly in there. The penguin enclosure is not the biggest I’ve seen but it more than caught the attention of BattleKid. He loves seeing the penguins swimming past him at the window. They are one of his favourite creatures thanks to the Oliver Jeffers book, Lost and Found.

By this stage someone was starting to get hungry, so we quickly passed through the Conservation Cover before entering a new area for Sea Life in London, Ocean Invaders. In this area there were tanks of jellyfish of various shapes and sizes, and jellyfish projected onto the floor, which BattleKid loved jumping on. It was a really impressive display and one BattleKid enjoyed a lot.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit
Seeing ALL the jellyfish at the Sea Life London Aquarium
Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit
Trying to keep up with the jellyfish on the ground.

While all the areas and tanks of Sea Life London Aquarium are impressive, none are more so than the main and biggest tank around which the London aquarium in centred. It forms most of the Pacific Ocean display and spans the three floors of the aquarium. You pass this tank on several occasions during your visit and it is by far my favourite part of the aquarium at Sea Life. It houses fish, ray, sharks and turtles and plays host to some Easter Island Head statues. It is the most impressive aquarium tank I’ve ever seen. Each time we came upon it during our visit I was awed by it.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit
My favourite part of our visit? The Easter Island Heads in the main tank.

After visiting the gift shop for a magnet for our fridge (we collect them everywhere we go), and buying a little treat for BattleKid, it was time to say goodbye to Sea Life Aquarium in London and move on to our next stop on our 36 hours in London.

Tips for visiting Sea Life in London with Kids

  • Sea Life London is open 7 days a week from 10am to 7pm, with last entry at 6pm.
  • It will take you a few hours to get around so plan your visit accordingly.
  • Sea Life London ticket prices are as follows*: Standard adult tickets cost £26 and children are £21 (ages 3 to 15), under 3’s are free. There are savings to be made online if you book in advance, and Sea Life tickets can be combined with certain other London attractions. We booked Anytime Priority tickets at a cost of £25 per adult and £17.55 per child. These allowed us to arrive at anytime on our chosen date and enter with no queuing.
  • Sea Life is also part of the Merlin Annual Pass, making it easy to visit regularly if you are pass holders. If we were still in the UK I’d seriously consider getting Merlin Passes.
  • A Sea Life Ranger Pack is available for £4 from the ticket office and includes an activity trail, magnifying glass, dress-up accessories, trading cards and a lanyard for tickets. This will make the visit a truly interesting one for kids a bit older than BattleKid (three and a half at the time of visiting).
  • There are toilets available on every floor, along with baby changing facilities.
  • Sea Life is fully wheelchair accessible with lifts going to all floors.
  • Note that there is no café or restaurant in the aquarium and you are not allowed to bring food in with you. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby for refreshments though.
  • There is no parking at the Sea Life London Aquarium. For details on how to get to the London Aquarium, nearest parking to Sea Life and the nearest tube station to Sea Life London Aquarium, visit the information section of their website.
  • There is an area for official Sea Life photos, although I am afraid I cannot remember how much we paid for our 3 photos.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sea Life in London. Although it was the end of the summer holidays it wasn’t too busy. We kept bumping into the same group of mums with their buggies, but apart from that it wasn’t crowded. We also liked the fact the aquarium was right beside the London Eye, meaning we could easily combine the two. And there are additional attractions nearby for kids of various ages too.

Sea Life in London is definitely worth a visit with kids and wasn’t as busy as I expected at the end of the summer holidays. If you are planning to go during the peak of the summer holidays, I’d suggest getting there early or booking the Fast Track tickets. Be prepared to take your time and go at your children’s pace. And expect a lengthy stop when you come across Nemo. By keeping these points in mind you are bound to have smiling children, although they might be reluctant to leave.

If you are visiting London with kids and are looking for an interesting and enjoyable place to visit with them, then we highly recommend a visit to Sea Life. They won’t be disappointed.

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post. We were not asked to write this review of Sea Life London

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit. With hints and tips to make your visit an awesome one.

Visiting Sea Life London With Kids and How To Have an Awesome Visit. With hints and tips to make your visit an awesome one.

Family Day in London – Our 36 Hours

I might have mentioned it before, but when we booked our USA road trip last October, we were well and truly still living in Wales. Fast forward eight months and we had moved to Portugal. This meant a hasty booking of flights back to the UK in order to meet up with our Portland flight. It did mean, however, we got to have a family day in London. We left Faro on the Thursday before our USA trip at 8pm and landed 2 hours and 20 minutes later into Heathrow.

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We could have flown to another airport much cheaper, but it would have meant an airport change on our return trip from the States two weeks later and I really didn’t fancy that with a three-year-old in tow. So, we flew with British Airways and had a relatively easy flight back to the UK. We cleared customs and had our bags within half an hour and were soon getting a taxi across the road to the Park Inn by Radisson next to Terminal 3. This was to be our home for the next two nights. Although we were in late, we were all tucked up in bed by midnight, ready for a fun family day in London.

We were up and dressed by 8.30am on the Friday and as we hadn’t added breakfast to our hotel booking, we got an Uber into Southbank to visit Le Pain Quotidien on Southbank. I had had brunch there with my sisters during my weekend away with them in June and BattleDad was up for trying it out.

We had an amazing breakfast, with BattleKid enjoying scrambled eggs and bacon, while I had a smoked chorizo frittata and BattleDad munching down baked eggs with scrambled egg. Suitably fuelled we walked through the Jubilee Gardens towards the London Eye. There was a brief stop for someone little to chase the birds!

I had booked Fast Track Anytime tickets for the London Eye so once BattleKid had chased all the birds away, we joined the short queue and on we went into one of the pods. While those tickets are expensive, they are worth it to arrive any time you like and skips the long queues which are always at the Eye! I had visited the London Eye during that aforementioned weekend but this was both BattleDad and BattleKid’s first time, so I knew I wanted us to do it on our family day in London. Both enjoyed it, although a certain someone enjoyed the information tablets within the pods more than the day in london - BattleKid standing in front of the London Eye family day in london - BattleKid looking out of our london eye pod

From the London Eye, we walked the very short distance to SeaLife, the next stop on our family day in London. I had seen a few blog posts about it and with BattleKid having enjoyed the Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester and the smaller aquariums in Chester and Bristol Zoo, we knew he should enjoy SeaLife. Again, I bought Fast Track Anytime tickets so we breezed through, only going to the cashier desk to pick up BattleKid’s Ranger Pack.

Well, I have to say I was very impressed by SeaLife. I had wondered what an aquarium on the bank of the River Thames would be like but it was really good. BattleKid loved it, running from tank to tank searching for Nemo and Dory, as you do when you are 3. I especially loved the Easter Islands heads in the large day in london - the wonderful Easter Island statues in one of the aquariums in SeaLife family day in london - BattleKid searching for Nemo and Dory in SeaLife

After a brief stop on Southbank to watch some street performers, we crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridges to get a tube from Embankment to the Tower of London, the last attraction on our family day in London. Why were we headed there? To do a spot of dragon hunting of course! And this tube trip was BattleKid’s first ever ride on a London Underground. He wasn’t too sure of the noise they made coming into stations but once he was on he was fine. Watching him enjoying the short trip reminded me of our rides on the New York Subway last year.

family day in london - BattleKid covering his ears to reduce the noise of the underground trains approaching
Closing his ears as a train approaches for his first ride on a London Underground tube!

I had prebooked tickets for the Tower of London to save some time and after a short bag search we entered the ‘castle’ to start our dragon hunt. After the excitement of the morning, we were getting peckish so we had a cuppa with cake at the Raven Café before resuming our dragon hunt. We eventually found him within the White day in london - The Tower of London family day in london - BattleKid in front of the White Tower in the Tower of London

We left the Tower of London via Tower Bridge and got a tube back to Paddington. Someone fell asleep in BattleDad’s arms along the way, tired from all his adventures during our family day in London. When we arrived at Paddington I stocked up on some last-minute essentials in Boots before buying BattleKid a Paddington Bear in the Station. It had to be day in london

We got a black cab back to our hotel rather than trying to get the Heathrow Express. The driver introduced us to Gett, the new black cab app that works like Uber and he managed to get us some money off our trip, which was really nice of him. We tipped him well. After over an hour’s sleep, BattleKid woke refreshed and we had dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7pm. We had to leave feedback with the waiter for the kitchen staff as BattleKid’s dinner came out so hot it could have rivalled lava. Thankfully we stopped him trying to eat it while it was too hot.

After dinner BattleKid had a bath, which is a treat as we don’t have one in our Portuguese home, only a shower. I was knackered so I fell asleep by 10pm, while the boys were awake for a bit longer. We had an amazing family day in London and it was the perfect way to get us ready for our USA road trip!

Cath x

And for some more ideas of what to do in London with kids, check out Go Live Young’s post about the Top 10 Things to do in London with Kids and also Mexico Cassie’s post about Unmissable London Activities for Kids.

Fancy a family visit to London. Check out some family-friendly hotels here and research your flights using Skyscanner if travelling from outside the UK to London.

*Please note that the above links are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking through, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost you.

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Oregon Girl Around the World

The Portugal Diaries #8

The second weekend of June saw me jet off to London to meet two of my three sisters for the weekend. We had booked tickets for the Take That concert last year, long before Portugal was ever a possible move for us. It felt really weird but thrilling to be landing in London from Portugal knowing they were coming from Ireland. It was to be a proper girlie weekend and the first time in quite a long time I’ve had 3 nights away from my boys.

I arrived Friday afternoon and after checking into our AirBnB near the O2, I ventured into London and Oxford Street for a bit of shopping. It had been so long since I’d gone shopping on my own that I almost didn’t know where to start.

Well, it was Pandora I popped into first. And I came away with my first Pandora bracelet with charms, and a beautiful necklace too. Despite there being a Pandora in Abergavenny, I’d never been in a store before and I could have gone madder than I did in terms of spending. But as I said to BattleDad and my sister later, they won’t be stuck for ideas for my birthday or Christmas presents in the future!

After a bit more shopping I headed back to our apartment, conscious of not being in London longer than I needed a week after the latest terrorist attacks.

My sisters arrived Saturday morning and we had a fun filled day in London before having a lovely meal in the Ice Bar.

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3 sisters on tour

portugal diaries 8 I’ll be writing about that separately but suffice to say we had a blast, a cold one! Sunday saw us doing some more sightseeing before an early dinner before the Take That concert. The concert was amazing and All Saints, the supporting act, brought me back to the 90’s and early 00’s!

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All Saints bring us back to the 90’s

We had VIP tickets and they were worth every penny! What does VIP get you? This……..

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Howard starting the show 5 feet from us
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Gary came up towards the end of the show to sing beside us. We all got to shake his hand!

On Monday we all headed to Gatwick to go our separate ways and we all agreed it had been a fantastic weekend and was something we should do on an annual basis but with our other sister along too. The 4 McKenna girls together!

It felt strange knowing I was leaving the cooler air of London for the hot air of Portugal. I chuckled to myself when the air hostess welcomed everyone to Portugal and wished them a good holiday. I thought “I’m not on holiday”!

And something exciting happened while I was away. A certain little boy had the stabilisers taken off his bike and lo and behold he was peddling independently when I arrived back. That week we also got word that the Landy was finally fixed (at a cost) and we collected it before it was BattleDad’s turn to head to London himself, for a Guns and Roses concert. It took him back to his year spent in Paris as part of the opening crew of Euro Disney, blasting G’n’R in his earphones of his Walkman. Showing his age now haha!

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Riding with no stablisers

And the evening he arrived we had a fun thing planned!

To be continued…

Cath x

To catch more of my Portugal Diaries, click here.


Be In The Picture 6

At the start of each month, which comes around so quickly these days, I look back on the pictures I’ve taken for the month and each time I am surprised. Since starting to take part in Be In the Picture I make a big effort to ensure there are a few pictures taken of me for BattleKid to have in the future, even if it is in these posts.

We are almost 2 months in Portugal and we’ve all been spending a lot more time together as a family, which was one of our reasons for moving down here. We’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather with just a few days where we’ve needed to shelter indoors with the air con on as the temperatures crept beyond 35ºC.

So let’s take a look back at the month. Earlier this month I’ve been trying to keep on top of both blog work and a course I’m doing but I’ve been finding it hard. I have been known to bribe a certain someone with Disney Cars 2 and the odd biscuit so I can get some work done. Bad mum, I know but sometimes it has to be done!

be in the picture 6

All that effort was to get some stuff done before I jetted back to the UK for a weekend in London with 2 of my sisters for the Take That concert. It was a great weekend with visits to The Shard, The London Eye, Duck Tours and also the Ice Bar. We also hit Oxford Street for a bit of shopping, as you do!

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Sisters in London
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Outside the Shard
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Ice Bar drinkies
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Boy is it cold in the Ice Bar

After the fab weekend in London, the rest of the following week was all about relaxing and nice dinners as a family.

be in the picture 6

BattleDad then had an overnight in London himself for a Guns and Roses concert and as soon as he got back he was packing up for yet another week in Paris to be at the client site. So, going solo, BattleKid and I decided to check out some of the local beaches early one morning while the sun wasn’t too hot. We visited Cacela Vehla but there wasn’t much of a beach. We did however discover a small one at Fabrica and enjoyed a morning on the sand collecting shells.

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Me and my boy at Fabrica
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Nothing like the sand between your toes before 10am

Once BattleDad was back it was haircut time for the boy. While we waited he offered to be a pillow!

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On the last Monday of the month, BattleDad finished his client calls by 5pm, so we decided to go exploring as a little boy had had a nap earlier so there would be no early bedtime. We headed for Manta Rota and discovered a glorious beach. We had a lovely evening on the beach.

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Kicking sand at Manta Rota
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Chasing the boy at Manta Rota

It was such a nice beach that I took my sister and niece, who were visiting, on their last day before they needed to be at the airport for their flight home to Ireland.

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Chilling on Manta Rota beach
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Being buried by the boy

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the fact I can wear summer gear! Even with a small bit of rain, I’ve been in t-shirts, summery blouses, shorts, skirts and dresses. I’m so used to it now that putting a pair of jeans on me in London felt so alien. I’m not sure how I’m going to fare in Bluestone in October or even Disneyland Paris in December, which we finally booked!

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Enjoying my summer wardrobe

So there you have it, June was a busy month and as you can see I’ve been making a real effort to get in front of the camera, with and without the boy. If you missed last months Be in the Picture, you can find it here.

Be in the Picture was created by Kerry of Kerry Louise Norris and Alana of Baby Holiday in which they encouraged us to get in front of the camera instead of always being behind it. I’m guilty of this and by joining in with Be in the Picture, it ensures BattleKid will have pictures of me as well of himself when he grows up

25/52 My Sunday Photo: 18/06/2017

Last weekend I was in London for a concert with my sisters, we decided to do a few tourist trips to fill in our girlie weekend. First port of call was The View from The Shard. It was a glorious day and you could see for miles. I was quite pleased to see two of my favourite London sites from The Shard, HMS Belfast, which one of my uncles served on, and The Tower of London. I also got to see The Shard in all it’s glory from the London Eye.
To see what everyone else is linking up this weekend to My Sunday Photo, please click on the badge below. Why not join in yourself!