Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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This is the final part of blog entries on our Trip to London with our 7 month old baby. The earlier parts are in: Trip to London with a Baby - Part 1 - Hotel at Wembley Park and travelling around London on the Underground; Trip to London with a Baby - Part 2 - St. John's Gate Museum and Priory tours, London Tourist Attraction and Trip to London with a Baby - Part 3 - London in London with Babies and Children. In part 1 I have put details of the accommodation and travelling in and around London, in part 2 I have provided details about a London tourist attraction St. John's Gate and in part 3 I've described some shops that children like and in this part I will give details of our visit to the London Aquarium.

We were originally planning to go to London Zoo, however partly due to the poor weather we decided to go to the London Aquarium instead. I've wanted to visit the London Aquarium for some time. I used to go to London's southbank quite a lot when I worked for IBM. I had often walked past the entrance to the aquarium, but never had the opportunity to go inside.

We have a fish tank at home and our baby has always found the fish interesting, so we thought that this was something that she would enjoy. She seamed very interested in looking at the fish.

London County Hall and London Aquarium

To get to the London Aquarium we took the tube to the Westminster Underground Station. After stopping to look at the St. Stephen's Tower (more often, although incorrectly known as Big Ben, which is actually the name for the bell) we headed across the Thames over Westminster Bridge. The Aquarium is located in County Hall which is on the left at the end of the Bridge, next to the London Eye (The Big Wheel).

Alternative tube stations include Waterloo Underground Station, within Waterloo International Railway Station (where Eurostar London to Paris trains terminate), or Embankment / Charing Cross Stations. It is easiest to find the aquarium from Westminster, which also includes the sites of the Houses of Parliament. We went back by crossing the Hungerford Bridge and we walked to Tottenham Court Road.

Admission is about £11 to £12 for adults, and about £7 - £8 for children. The price is only a little less than you'd pay for other attractions, such as London Zoo, but whereas you can easily spend a full day at some other attractions typically you'll only spend a couple of hours at the aquarium.

The aquarium has good access for pushchairs, including lifts between all the floors. When taking the lifts, you are directed slightly differently, but it's only a small change. There are baby changing facilities in the aquarium, but we didn't need to use them at the time, so I don't know what they are like.

The aquarium is well worth a visit and our baby also found it very interesting (see picture below):

Baby looking at Fish in the London Aquarium

The most memorable tank is the shark tank, which has viewing available from two different floors. Another popular area is the one containing the rays where you can touch the top of the rays as they swim around. There are also a good selection of other tanks including cold water fish and tropical fish.

After leaving the aquarium it was lunchtime. We went to the cafe by the entrance to the aquarium. After leaving the aquarium shop, the cafe can be reached by going outside, or by making your way through the inside of the county hall, and passing back through where the lifts exit from the aquarium, however I'd actually recommend going elsewhere.

The aquarium cafe is very small with the tables very close to each other, with barely room for the highchair let alone the pushchair. The food available is mainly sandwiches and paninis. I've certainly had nicer food and will not be going back there again. There are no toilet or changing facilities in the cafe, but there are some further down the building in the room by the ticket offices for the London Eye. After using the baby changing facilities (in the disabled toilets) we noticed that there was a pub style restaurant there, which looked much better.