Ilfracombe Aquarium

Pier Cafe & Gift Shop opening 12th April | Exhibits hoping 17th May

Enjoy the unique local journey of an Exmoor stream from source to sea at North Devon's much loved aquarium...

Enjoy the unique & fascinating journey of an Exmoor stream source to sea at North Devon's much loved aquarium...

Please arrive before 12.30pm to allow some time to enjoy the exhibits. This is also the time we will review closing.

Local Aquatic

porthole thin cafe

Pier Café
with views

porthole thin shop

Funky Fish
Gift Shop

About Us

Starfish with face

Ilfracombe Aquarium consists of Local Aquatic Exhibits, Pier Café & Gift Shop. It is a much loved, award winning, and ever evolving, all-weather, family fun, educational attraction. It is located in the Old Lifeboat House on the pier. Conveniently located, it is surrounded by Ilfracombe’s picturesque & historic harbour which is home to Damien Hirst’s Verity sculpture and 14th century St. Nicholas’ Chapel. Ilfracombe town is located on the dramatic and spectacular North Devon coast. It is 20 mins. drive from Barnstaple, 10 mins. from Woolacombe. It is set within the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Just some of our species often on display...

What's available

Living Exhibits

Lovingly cared for, living exhibits displaying up to 75 species of local aquatic species in carefully recreated and realistic habitats.


Exhibits multi-sensual, free fun quiz trails, viewing stools for little ones, feeding demonstrations, interactives, and animal encounters. Experienced guides in attendance. Shop & café all child friendly.


Extensive info. & visuals. Experienced fish-keeper guides on hand sharing knowledge, offering feeding demonstrations and personal, sensory, animal encounters.


Delicious, sensibly priced, quality products available to enjoy via table service in a relaxing, all-weather, harbourside environment. Sun deck available during peak times when weather allows offering unrivalled harbour, Verity and coastal views. Takeaway also available.


A great range of good value, aquatic themed gifts and cards. Perfect as souvenirs and gifts for friends and loved ones.


We are wheelchair & mobility scooter accessible throughout exhibits, shop and café.


Well-behaved dogs are most welcome in the cafe & shop. Only assistance dogs allowed in aquarium.


On the pier at Ilfracombe harbour. Is alongside pier car park, 1 minute from Damien Hirst’s Verity and directly below Lantern Hill and 14th Century St Nicholas’ Chapel.


Families, school and other groups all catered for. Annual Membership available providing unlimited entry for 12 months from date of purchase.


The aquarium provides a unique and most memorable venue for a special event. Consultancy is available via our experienced team. Simply contact for details.


As per current governmental guidelines we conduct all necessary safety measures to comply and ensure the safety of our customers.

Reviews 2023

Hidden gem! Would definitely recommend

Sophie S

Great place to visit with the kids

M Higgs

Would highly recommend and will visit again…


Aquarium café not to be missed!

Vicky A

Local Aquatic Exhibits

No need to pre-book

Whether you have a mere passing interest or ingrained passion for all things nature you are sure to find this local and extensive exhibit collection fascinating. Average dwell time within the exhibits varies between 30 – 45mins. but with no time restrictions many dwell longer. Along with the Pier café, Funky Fish Gift Shop, convenient harbour location and Ilfracombe town all being accessible by foot it is worth a special day out.

Improvements every year

We continue to take COVID-19 seriously. We want to keep everyone safe whilst under our care. We will continue to comply with latest Government guidelines.

Exhibit COVID-19 measures include;  

  • Staggered entry managed.
  • Mask wearing, whether it be voluntary or obligatory, remains very much appreciated.
  • Hand sanitisers available on entry. Hand wash facilities available in exhibits.
  • Vents and powered fan ventilation provides fresh air through exhibits.

Pier Café

Everyone is welcome to our established and ever-popular café. We offer table service and takeaway. It is a place to relax and enjoy a wide variety of fairtrade teas, freshly ground coffee, award winning savouries, fresh cakes, cream and savoury teas. A selection of snacks, cold drinks and locally sourced luxury dairy ice cream in tubs are also available. Everything is sensibly priced and served with a smile.

The sheltered outside seating is a lovely sun-trap throughout the day. The space adjoins a large pedestrian area which is great for kids to move safely.

From the sun deck, available during peak times when weather allows, enjoy the spectacular coastal views and busy harbour life. Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’ the renowned 25 tonne bronze statue is located 100m from the aquarium at the end of the Pier.

Adjacent public pier parking and toilets are also both conveniently available.

MENU – available soon

Funky Fish Gift Shop

We’ve got a wide variety of good value aquatic themed gifts. Pocket money toys, souvenirs, unusual nautically themed gifts, cards and locally handcrafted items are all available for sale.

Come and have a browse. A purchase could be a wonderful way to remember your visit to the aquarium and Ilfracombe.