Sealife Centre, Brighton

11 Reviews

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  • Dive dive dive!
    Dive dive dive!
    by themajor
  • Spotted wobbegong
    Spotted wobbegong
    by smirnofforiginal
  • Spider crab
    Spider crab
    by smirnofforiginal
  • themajor's Profile Photo


    by themajor Written Jun 21, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    First open to the public in 1871, Brighton Aquarium (now part of the Sealife Centre chain) can claim to be the world's oldest working aquarium. Designed and built by the wonderfully named architect Eugenius Birch, who was also responsible for the beautiful but now sadly defunct West Pier, the building cost a whopping £133,000 (equivalent to about £6 million today!). It had a largely prosperous life not only as an aquarium but also as a venue for music and other performances. Attractions also included a conservatory, a reading room, restaurant and a conservatory with fernery, rockery and cascade and a roller-skating rink on the roof terrace! Financial difficulties eventually led to it's purchase by Brighton Corporation in 1901 and as the years passed other changes were to follow.

    One of the most notable was the opening of a Dolphinarium in 1969 complete with special viewing auditorium and dolphin shows. These were a major attraction for many years until public concern for the environment and captive species started to lead to questions as to whether such 'entertainments' should even exist. Thus it waved goodbye to the dolphins and closed in 1991 control passing from the local council to the current owners the Sealife Centre group.

    Open; Daily from 10am. Closed Christmas Day.
    Adult: £12.99
    Child: £8.99 (3-14 yrs)
    Student with NUS: £10.99
    Concession: £10.99
    Family (2 adults & 2 children): £38.95

    Dive dive dive!
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Aquarium

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  • nigelw6443's Profile Photo

    Undersea adventure

    by nigelw6443 Updated Sep 23, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I first went to the then Brighton Aquarium many years ago when the main attraction was the dolphins. There are no longer dolphins but there is now an underwater tunnel through a large tank that houses sharks among others. It is quite pricey to get in but on a rainy day how else do you entertain your children at the seaside?

    Opening times:
    Daily from 10:00 am
    Adult: 7.50 GBP
    Children: 4.75 GBP

    The petting pool!
    Related to:
    • Aquarium
    • Museum Visits

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  • Pod's Profile Photo

    Opposite the entrance to...

    by Pod Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Opposite the entrance to Brighton Pier is the underwater world of the Sealife Centre. Dating from 1872, it is the world's oldest aquarium. Amble past the huge tanks of local and tropical marine life, where you can watch feeding displays and listen to information talks on the more than 100 species kept there. You can also take a walk through England's longest underwater observation tunnel to admire the stingrays and sharks swimming overhead.

    Related to:
    • Fishing

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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    Sealife Centre / Aquarium

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Nov 18, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The most charming thing about this aquarium is its Victorian charm... right down to the plumbing system!

    The Brighton Aquarium first opened its doors in 1872 and included five hawksbill turtles, a baby alligator & a 5 foot long dogfish.

    There are lots of exciting specimans to look at nowdays - my personal favourite being the spotted wobbegong sharks, and there is a lot of emphasis on conservation with great projects such as clutivating coral to stop it being taken from the wild and the support of the shark alliance who are fighting to save sharks from extinction.

    It is possible to purchase food (at certain times) to feed the rays or the bass fish who are gregarious and fun to watch.

    Once you have paid you will have your hand stamoed and that allows you re-entry. The ren-entry system is great because the aquarium itself will not keep you inside all day, however, to be able to return for the daily feeding etc... makes it perfect.

    It's about £12 per adult and £7 per child but have a look around, often there are vouchers to get kids in free :)

    There is no car park so you have to find a parking space on the streets. There are lots but the problem is Brighton is a very busy place so spaces can be like gold dust! The parking is metered and will cost around £3 for 2 hours.
    There is a cafe inside and also a shop.

    Spider crab Spotted wobbegong
    Related to:
    • Aquarium
    • Family Travel

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  • mel_bee's Profile Photo


    by mel_bee Written Oct 22, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I visited the sealife centre with my sister. It cost around £8 for adults, less for students and children. The building has historical interest and you learn all about the different uses it was put too including a ballroom. The exhibits were fascinating especially the baby seahorses and there is a daily programme of events!! The highlight has to be the themed Captain Nemo part with a pool containing sharks and beautiful turtles which you can walk through in a glass tunnel!

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  • Designerartgirl's Profile Photo

    Sea Life Centre

    by Designerartgirl Written Apr 14, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This aqarium is one of the worlds oldest, and houses around 150 marine species from around the world, from small little fish, to sharks to turtles you can a little bit of everything here.

    Activities for children include a rockpool talk where they are able to learn about the smaller creatures of the sea, feeding the sharks and turtles and also hand feeding the rays.

    They also help run a conservation and rescue of the wildlife, see their website for me details

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  • biggeorge's Profile Photo

    Sealife Centre - Load of old fish

    by biggeorge Written Sep 10, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The prospect of having to visit the sea life centre with a load of exchange students filled me with fear , we'd already been mightily bored by the Pavilion. However it wasn't that bad , starting with shrimpy small stuff and getting progressively cooler from rays to bigger rays to sharks and turtles before nautilus and octopusses.
    Sadly the next weeks visit saw me waiting outside to prevent the Spanish from dissappearing down the pub before we'd bored them more by making them walk about a bit more. I had a table , a newspaper and loads of cigarettes but sadly also a speaker playing an evil combination of sea related music ( mostly harp ) , after an hour I honestly felt like drowning myself.

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  • The Brighton Sea Life Centre

    by OBT1 Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ity is one of the oldest aquariums in Europe. It was built by the Victorians. It is not Sea World but it does have a lot of intresting exhibits about the sea's around the UK. There is also a small shark tunnel.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Brighton Sealife Centre

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    This is one of many Sealife Centres all over Europe. Not equal to some of the other aquariums that I've seen they are nevertheless worth a brief visit. This one has some interesting displays of marine life.

    Brighton's Sealife Centre
    Related to:
    • Aquarium

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  • CarolynShort's Profile Photo

    Sea Life Centre

    by CarolynShort Written Aug 24, 2002

    There's been an aquarium in Brighton since the 1800's, which was taken over by the Sea Life Centre chain in the 1990's, and I thought it was worth the £6.50 entrance fee... but then I always love aquariums. Highlight of my day was watching the shark feeding from an underwater glass tunnel.

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  • Lozza_9's Profile Photo

    Sea Life

    by Lozza_9 Written Sep 5, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Great place to spend a few hours. If you get there at the right time you can feed the fish.

    I wouldn't bother buy the book -its not worth it. Not much in it.


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