Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth Review

We are big fans of visiting aquariums as there is something so magical about seeing creatures that live under the sea.

Last month we welcomed a new colony of Fairy Penguins at Weymouth Sea Life Centre and this weekend we were invited to visit Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth to see what they had to offer.

We enjoyed a visit to Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay back in 2013 and the kids still remember putting their hand in a box so see if they could identify what was inside.

Blue Reef Aquarium was a little tricky to find at first as my satnav told me to park at Clarence Pier, when in fact it is situated on Clarence Esplanade, a good 10 minute walk from the pier (to the left if looking out to sea).

Bluereef Portsmouth

Once we found it the kids could not wait to head inside to see over 50 living displays that reveal the sheer variety of life that live in the deep.


The first tank revealed some of the fish that live in waters locally, with plaques on the wall to help the kids identify what they are. Some of the locals include colourful wrasse, crustaceans, sea bass, and triggerfish. The kids were fascinated by the staff waiting patiently with a huge net to catch an undulated ray from one of the tanks.

Catching a Ray

I have to admit that we have been spoiled with visits to aquariums recently, having been to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and Oceanário de Lisboa so I found Blue Reef very tired and dated in comparison.

Sebby Shark

That being said, it didn’t faze the kids and Eliza especially examined each tank and insisted on identifying each fish she could see by using the wall plaques and Sebby insisted on singing ‘Baby Shark’ to the black tip reef sharks.


There was also a number of aquarium canister filters that was helping fish to breath quite easily. In the middle of the aquarium is an underwater tropical tunnel which offers at great view of the recreated coral reef and some of the fish that would naturally reside there.

Underwater Tunnel

Other displays included fish from tropical sharks and stingrays to giant lobsters, elegant seahorses to turtles and even a family of playful otters.

Blue Reef Window

We also spotted my favourite lion fish, a very colourful hermit crab and Nemo and Dory.

Blue Reef Collage

We visited on a beautiful sunny day and the real selling point for us was the aquarium’s outdoor Blue Reef Beach Club.

Blue Reef Beach Club

As well as a Splash Park area, which offered stunning views over the Solent, there was also a kids play park, plenty of picnic tables and an outdoor pool where the turtles were also out enjoying the lovely weather.


I think we managed to miss a couple of the keeper talks as the kids were too busy having fun in the sun.

Blue Reef Park

Possibly the highlight of our entire visit was the snapping turtle who took a real shine to Eliza. She kept moving across the tank and he followed her every time!!

Snapping Turtle

Blue Reef Aquarium is not a full day out, but there are lots of other attractions on Clarence Esplanade to enjoy such as Southsea Castle, The D-Day Story and Clarence Pier with fairground rides, a big viewing wheel and arcades.

Tickets to Blue Reef Aquarium cost £10.95 per adult and £8.50 per child (age 3-12), under 3’s are FREE and you can make a saving over just over £1 per person by booking online, in advance.





20 thoughts on “Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth Review

  1. Emily Leary says:

    Looks like everyone had a fantastic time! Mine always love aquariums visits, the things you can see are so different to any other attraction.

  2. Jemma says:

    My little boy would love this. It looks like such a great aquarium to visit.

  3. Kacie Morgan says:

    I’ve actually never been to an aquarium! I would absolutely love to though. I think my nearest one is in Bristol but it would be great to go here if I was ever in Portsmouth.

  4. Stephanie says:

    We’ve been here a couple of times over the years and love the outdoor bit too! Southsea is good fun to explore in the sunny weather!

  5. The tropical tunnel sounds like it was amazing. My kids would love to go through that and see the sort of fish that would live at a coral reef.

  6. Anosa says:

    I am hoping to take my nephew to an aquarium, apart from the parking it seems like such an amazing place to take with the kids

  7. Looks like your kids loved it 🙂 the lion fish is one of my favourite sea animals, too! Absolutely mesmerizing x

  8. We love visiting aquariums too as there is something so calming about them. Loved all your pictures of the blue reef aquairum, looks like your kids had so much fun!

  9. Joanna says:

    The aquarium looks lovely, even if it’s not as big as the ones you have seen recently. I like the underwater tunnel best.

  10. The aquarium looks lovely and those tickets are super affordable! I love the sound of the outdoor club, the splash area looks like so much fun!

  11. Lilinha says:

    We always enjoy a family trip to the aquarium. We would love to visit the Blue Reef.

  12. We always enjoy aquariums and will be visiting the one in Lisbon next month. Its a shame the Blue Reef is looking a bit dated but kids never notice these things.

  13. Alison Rost says:

    Aquariums are always so much fun and it’s a good experience for the kids because they learn so much from it! I think Blue Reef Aquarium is a pretty cool place to go to!

  14. Laura Dove says:

    What a fab aquarium! My kids love aquariums, we’ve never been here though!

  15. Emma Raphael says:

    There’s something relaxing about being in aquarium though isn’t there? The hermit crab is super cute! Glad the kids enjoyed it especially! 🙂

  16. Sarah Bailey says:

    Oh wow, this looks like such an amazing Aquarium to go and visit! I used to love seeing the fish when I was younger.

  17. Bryanna skye says:

    it sounds like the kiddos had a great time which is what counts 🙂

  18. We loved our visit to Blue Reef recently but didn’t have the glorious weather so sadly missed the beach club. It’s a wonderful location and looks like you guys had a great time x

  19. You can’t beat a trip to an aquarium. This looks great fun, we’re going to Portsmouth in August, I’ll have to add this to my list to visit x

  20. Jenni says:

    I love visiting aquariums and they are a fab way for little ones to learn

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