Review: Sea Life Aquarium Lates is after work fun for adults

SEA LIFE London Aquarium, in Southbank, has relaunched its Lates events, an exclusive after-dark experience only for people aged 18 and over.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the incredible underwater world, so I went along with a friend on May 22.

Because of the hour, after work, there were none of the queues you experience when you go as a family and we were offered a complimentary drink to really wind down.

Your Local Guardian: Newsquest reporter attests that Aquarium Lates is magical, with or without a drinkNewsquest reporter attests that Aquarium Lates is magical, with or without a drink (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

There is so much to see, read and marvel at as the Aquarium is home to more than 500 species and 6,000 creatures large and miniscule.

One of the very first highlights was to walk across a transparent bridge and stand looking down as sharks swam by beneath us.

With a mouth full of pointy teeth, the sand tiger sharks look ferocious but are apparently harmless to humans, though not to small fish, crustaceans and squid.

Your Local Guardian: Sand Tiger Sharks glide by at Sea Life London AquariumSand Tiger Sharks glide by at Sea Life London Aquarium (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

There are also blacktip reef sharks, bottom dwellers and nurse sharks, all awesome up close and behind the safety of thick glass.

As you walk, the lack of people and chatter and melodic piped music has a mesmerising effect.

Lights are low, and there is one thing to note – if you want to take pictures you do have to turn your camera flash off so as not to alarm the animals.

The state our planet came to mind while looking at the live coral swishing in the water. We saw beautiful clown fish, made popular in the film Finding Nemo.

Fun fact, all clownfish are born as boys and if the females die, the largest male will change sex.

We then walked through a rainforest habitat and past piranhas to a polar adventure, with the sound of a blizzard whipping up.

We spied a gentoo penguin, all on its own, dancing and cleaning itself away from its peers, who were nesting in an adjoining room.

Your Local Guardian: A Gentoo Penguin at London Zoo A Gentoo Penguin at London Zoo (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

What followed was a jelly fish masterclass. You wouldn’t want to be in the water with most of them but they are exquisite.

The hypnotic luminosity of the moon jellyfish as it expands and contracts, pushing itself forwards is a balm for the eyes.

Your Local Guardian: Japanese Sea Nettles have tentacles up to three metres longJapanese Sea Nettles have tentacles up to three metres long (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Another beautiful, though more poisonous jellyfish, is the Japanese sea nettle, which has tentacles up to three metres long.

There is so much more, including sea horses and turtles and plenty of information on conservation and protecting our oceans from plastics pollution, as well as a small gift shop on your way out.

The Aquarium Lates are a magical, informative evening and perfect for a date night, drinks with friends or post-work fun. Enjoy.

Tickets cost £29 and can be booked at www.visitsealife.com/london/explore/events/sea-life-lates/

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