A blue jelly fish

Happy World Oceans Day! To celebrate, here are five places in the UK that groups can visit to learn about and appreciate the wonders of the deep blue sea.

1. National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Said to be the largest aquarium in the UK, the National Marine Aquarium is both a visitor attraction and a charity dedicated to sustaining a future for the world’s oceans.

Groups can explore areas such as the Plymouth sound exhibit, which houses approximately 80 species of fish and invertebrates; and the Biozone, home to clownfish, lionfish, live coral, seahorses, and a giant pacific octopus.

Don’t miss the Atlantic Ocean exhibit either – it’s a single tank with over two million litres of water inside. This tank is home to lemon sharks, sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and some of the only white spotted eagle rays in Europe.

Group rates are available for parties of ten or more.


2. The Deep, Hull

The Deep boasts freshwater habitats and an exhibition containing 2.5 million litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt, and there are plenty of creatures to see. Don’t miss The Deep’s pair of green saw fish (there's only six of this species in Europe) or the coral reef, the slime exhibition, and a number of sharks in the Endless Oceans exhibit.

The Deep

Pictured: A child watching a zebra shark at The Deep.

Highlights for visitors also include a daily dive show at 2pm; penguin feeds; and touch pool sessions, during which visitors can handle some of the smaller species native to the UK including starfish, velvet swimmer crabs and sea urchins.

Group rates are available for parties of ten or more, as is a free place for the organiser for parties of over 20.


3. Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire

Mangrove swamps, a recreation of Lake Malawi in Africa, rock pools, fresh water displays, reefs and a coral cave: all of these environments are displayed at Blue Planet Aquarium.


Pictured: A sting ray; groups can see these as well as sharks and other creatures at Blue Planet Aquarium.

Whether visiting for World Oceans Day or not, there’s plenty to celebrate here, from the ongoing conservation programmes for endangered species like the golden dart frog, to the number of activities and demonstrations available that are raising awareness about our blue planet.

Groups can explore 35 exhibits overall; don’t miss getting up close to sharks and rays in the 70-metre long underwater tunnel. Discounted entry is available for parties of 15 or more.


4. Sea Life Centre Birmingham

The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham is home to over 2,000 sea creatures, from nurse sharks and green sea turtles to Asian short clawed otters and Gentoo penguins. There are also jellyfish, piranha, octopus and sting rays.

Gentoo penguins at The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham

Pictured: Gentoo penguins at The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham.

This Sea Life Centre showcases sea life from all over the planet, from the coast of Britain and the chilly Antarctic, to the tropical waters of the Caribbean. A number of expert-led talks and feeding demonstrations are available at various times throughout each day, and groups can learn about a number of the creatures at the centre.

Reduced prices for groups are available for Sea Life tickets booked in advance.


5. Bournemouth Oceanarium

Situated on Bournemouth’s seafront, the Oceanarium is home to sea species from across the globe, from crocodiles and sharks to otters and penguins. Piranha, water dragons, moray eels, lion fish and iguanas are also housed here. 

Underwater tunnel at the Oceanarium, Bournemouth

Pictured: The underwater tunnel at the Oceanarium, Bournemouth.

The attraction is made up of ten recreated areas of different underwater environments, including the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef, Africa, and even an abyss that houses creatures that live in the deepest parts of the ocean.

Pre-booked groups of 10 or more receive discounted rates here, and the GTO enters for free.