Ilfracombe Aquarium

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

Plan Your Visit

WE ARE OPEN!

The Local Aquatic Exhibits, Pier Café and Funky Fish Gift Shop are open as shown below and we look forward to welcoming you!

Opening Times 2022

4th April – Fri 8th April10:30am – 3:30pm
Sat 9th April – Sat 28th May10am – 4pm
Each Sunday; Sun 10th April - Sun 22nd May10:30am – 3:30pm
Sun 29th May – Sat 4th June10am – 4:30pm
Sun 5th June10am – 4pm
Mon 6th June onwards10am – 4:30pm TBC...
NB. Times may vary slightly as influenced by weather and trade demands. Please check our social media channels &/or call t. 01271 864533 for any updates. Thank you.

EXHIBIT ADMISSION PRICES

Adult (16yrs+)£7.75
Child (3-15yrs)£5.75
Seniors (65yrs+)£6.75
Student (16+ in education. and/or with NUS card)£6.25
Family (2 adults & 2 children)£24.25
Family (2 adults & 3 children*)£29.50
Family (1 adult & 3 children*)£22.50
Grandparents (2 seniors & 2 children*)£22.50
*any additional children within family groups charged @ £5.25 each

EXHIBITS CONCESSION ADMISSION PRICES

Adult (16yrs+)£6.75
Child (3-15yrs)£4.75
Seniors (65yrs+)£5.75
Student (16+ in education. &/or with NUS card)£5.25

EXHIBITS ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP

These tickets are cost saving. They provide unlimited entry to the aquarium exhibits for 12 months from date of purchase.
Provides same day admission purchase refund on purchase of Annual Membership ticket. Offer valid within 7 days of receipt date.

Adult (16yrs+)£19.95
Child (3-15yrs)£14.95
Seniors (65yrs+)£17.50
Student (with NUS card)£16.25
Family (1 adults & 2 children)£48.95
Family (2 adults & 2 children)£59.95
Family (2 adults & 3 children)£69.95
Family (1 adult & 3 children)£55.50
Grandparents (2 seniors & 2 children)£55.50

GROUPS

The aquarium is ideal for schools, extra-curriculur and general group visits.

Specific requirements of each group are catered for, providing a fun, educational and memorable experience.

For details of school and extra-curricular group visits including options see below in Education. Further to this please email info@ilfracombeaquarium.co.uk.

Prebooked
Group Prices

Curricular or extra-curricular groups such as scouts, guides, other clubs etc. Discount equates to 75p off each Standard Admission Prices. Discount also includes FREE ENTRY to teachers/leaders; 2 free per group of up to 15 children. Other adults charged at £5.00.
Adult (teacher/helper)
£5.00
Child (3-15yrs)
£5.00
Student (16+ in education &/or with NUS card)
£5.50
Tour (option – prebooked, up to 60 mins.)
£10.00

Other
Group Prices

PRE-BOOKED OR NON PRE-BOOKED GROUP (10+ MEMBERS) ADMISSION PRICES

Mixed groups. Discount equates to 50p off each Standard Admission Prices.

*NB: Discount only applies to individual visitors. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with other offers &/or family tickets.
Adult (16+)
£7.25
Child (3-15yrs)
£5.25
Senior (65yrs+)
£6.25
Student (16+ in education &/or with NUS card)
£5.75

Concession
Group Prices

PRE-BOOKED OR NON PRE-BOOKED CONCESSION GROUP (10+ MEMBERS) ADMISSION PRICES

Disability groups. Discount equates to 50p off each Concession Admission Prices. Non-employed carers to entrant entitled to 1 FREE ENTRY to 1 concession. Employed carers (with display of DLA &/or Access Card) are charged at Concession Group Adult price at £6.25
Adult (teacher/helper)
£6.25
Child (3-15yrs)
£4.25
Senior (65yrs+)
£5.25

EDUCATION

The aquarium has been established since 2001. It continues to develop as a valued resource where schools, colleges and extra-curricular groups can enjoy a fun, eye-opening and most memorable, educational experience.

Allow for planning, approx. 1hour

Includes:

  • A welcome talk given by either the owner or by an experienced fish keeper/educational guide. This sets the scene for the exhibits experience.
  • Quizzes (4-12yrs) offered on entry. Provides fun, fish trails.
  • Feeding demonstrations and sensory experiences offered (when possible) offered by the experienced fish keeper. This member of staff and other trained team members (on duty during peak times) are on hand pointing out items of interest, sharing fun-facts and answering questions.
  • Free time; shop/cafe.
  • FREE revisit; on same day (off-peak times).

Allow for planning, approx. 1hour +

Includes:

  • A welcome talk given by either the owner or by an experienced fish keeper/educational guide. This sets the scene for the exhibits experience.
  • A personal experienced, fish keeper guide providing a tour. This is tailored to include specific requirements of the group.
  • Additional structure and learning opportunities will be available throughout the tour.
  • Rockpool interactive encounter.
  • Feeding demonstrations and further sensory experiences offered offered by the experienced fish keeper. This member of staff and other trained team members (on duty during peak times) are on hand pointing out items of interest, sharing fun-facts and answering questions.
  • Quizzes (4-12yrs) offered on entry. Provides fun, fish trails.
  • Complimentary educational leaflets/posters (subject to availability) educational souvenirs.
  • Free time; exhibits/shop/cafe.
  • FREE revisit; on same day (off-peak times).

In order that we provide a quality, personal and most memorable, fun and  educational experience for the group we request that each group be no more than 15 children. For Educational Visits an interval period of at least ¾ – 1 hour between groups is preferred.

For groups involving more than 15 children we advise, whilst one group is experiencing the exhibits, the other has options including; taking a walk around the harbour to watch the boats and operators go about their business. Go climb Lantern Hill, take in the majestic coastal views and visit the C14th chapel. Take a look on the pier at Damien Hirst’s renowned ‘Verity’ statue. Chill with a Pier Café ice cream in the sunshine. Lot’s to see & do..!    

Please note that larger groups can be catered for during off peak times. We would request that you call or email for assistance and reservation.

Please also see Further Facilities/Information/Other Local Attractions section of this page to assist you further…

The aquarium is accessible to wheelchairs and those with disabilities. Disabled parking and local authority toilets including a disabled toilet are all conveniently available alongside the aquarium on the Pier. The aquarium has a radar key at reception for those wishing to use the disabled toilet.

Aside from the fun and educational opportunities that the exhibits, team and resources provide, additional facilities onsite include The Funky Fish Gift Shop where unusual souvenirs from 30p can be purchased. Perfect for sourvenirs! The Pier Cafe provides fair trade tea, freshly ground coffee, local, luxury dairy ice cream, award winning hot savouries, sweet and savoury scones, snacks & cold drinks. Vegetarian & gluten free available. All-weather and sheltered outside seating areas adjoins a large pedestrian area directly outside.

Should the weather be inclement during busier times a large indoor rest room with seating (30+ children) is available (subject to prior arrangement with the harbour master). on t 01271 862108  harbourmaster@northdevon.gov.uk This facility is ideal for rest/study/lunch and is again conveniently located directly outside the front.

Convenient car parking, a minibus dropping-off point, short stay minibus parking on pier (subject to prior arrangement, off-peak times only) all available. A coach park nearby, modern toilets, disabled access are all available.

There are many other attractions, accessible by foot from the aquarium too, that can provide additional interest for groups. These include; C14th St. Nicholas’ Chapel & Lantern Hill, spectacular coastal views, Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’ statue, The harbour, operators and boats going by (!) The RNLI Lifeboat House, Ilfracombe Princess (Wildlife Cruises) all within 5 mins. walk from aquarium. Further afield – 10mins walk; The landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe Museum, Tunnels Beaches.

Additional information can be obtained through the TIC (01271 863001).

The aquarium can provide an outreach service where an experienced member of staff can visit the nursery, school or nursing home. The aquarist can bring along an electronic presentation, rockpool creatures and marine artefacts to provide a unique, fascinating, sensory educational experience which will be memorable for all.

It is however encouraged that for a more comprehensive and fulfilling experience a visit to the aquarium is a must!

Venue Hire

The aquarium is available for hire to provide a unique and most memorable venue for a specific event. The exhibits area can accommodate up to 50 people comfortably. Specific requirements and options available are best discussed prior to the event via email initially. Any enquiries will be given urgent attention.

CONSULTANCY

The team here has 50 years of collective experience in aquatics and hospitality.

Enquiries are given prompt attention. Be reassured we will do our very best to provide you with the friendly, professional advice required.

GETTING HERE

Postcode for sat nav: EX34 9EQ

From Woolacombe/Croyde

Take the B3343 to Mullacott Cross roundabout. Take first turning left to Ilfracombe and follow the A361 into St. Brannocks Road. At the first set of traffic lights on Church Street after a mini roundabout turn left onto Wilder Road following a sign to the seafront and a brown directional sign to, amongst others, Lundy Island (Car Parking for Ferry). Just before the next set of traffic lights you should see a brown directional sign directing you straight on to the aquarium. Follow this sign along the seafront down to the end of St James’ Place. At the end of St. James’ Place, a further brown directional sign to the aquarium directs you left down the Quay to the Pier. The Aquarium is on the Pier to the left.

From Braunton

Take the A361 to Mullacott roundabout. Take 2nd turning left to Ilfracombe. Follow directions as per from Woolacombe/Croyde (above).

From Barnstaple

Either take the A361 to Braunton then follow the directions as per from Woolacombe/Croyde (above). Alternatively take the B3230 via Muddiford to Ilfracombe. At the first set of traffic lights (New Barnstaple Road) turn left for ½ mile until you drop down hill approaching the high street. You should see a brown directional sign on your left directing you to turn right to the aquarium. Follow this onto the seafront then right down toward the harbour and pier.

From Exmoor

Take the A3123 to Lynton Cross (On-A-Hill Garage to your left). Either cross straight over here travelling approx. 1 mile to Mullacott roundabout where you take 3rd turning left (effectively right!) to Ilfracombe. Follow directions as per from Woolacombe/Croyde (above). Alternatively turn right at Lynton Cross and take the B3230. Now follow alternative directions as per from Barnstaple (above).

From Combe Martin/ Watermouth/Hele

Take the A399 coast road bringing you into Ilfracombe via Hele Bay. At the first set of traffic lights you should see a brown directional sign directing to the aquarium follow this and additional brown signs to the harbour, pier and aquarium.

Short stay

Pier car park alongside the aquarium. Prices vary according to time of year.

Short & long stay via Ropery Road car park. 5 mins. walk from aquarium.

Long stay

Cove and Larkstone car parks, both on the south side of the harbour. Prices are cheaper than short stay and vary according to time of year. 5-10 mins walk from aquarium.

Hillsborough car park, off Watermouth Road serving the swimming pool. Prices are cheaper than short stay and other long stay car parks. Prices vary according to time of year. 10 mins walk from aquarium. Alternatively a park & ride service normally functions during the main season. This takes passengers to the aquarium in 15 mins. via the high street and seafront.

For all public enquiries in South West England call: Traveline 08712002233

From Woolacombe Buses 31, 302

From Braunton From Barnstaple Buses 3, 30, 30E, 301

From Exmoor (Lynton/Lynmouth) Bus 300

From Combe Martin/ Watermouth/Hele Buses 3, 30, 30E, 300, 301, 33

Ilfracombe Pier is at the start/end of the Devon Coast to Coast (NCN route 27) Ilfracombe to Plymouth.

The aquarium provides a bike rack (x4) alongside the building for aquarium exhibit and pier café visitors to use.

There are a number of railings for bike fixing within the aquarium vicinity.

To promote NDDC to purchase lockable cycle lockers or bike racks in the future please contact the harbour master on 01271 862108  harbourmaster@northdevon.gov.uk

Come and enjoy a freshly ground coffee, locally pasties, fresh cakes and/or luxury dairy ice-cream to provide a smile and energy as a reward for your trip!

Ilfracombe is a popular destination from March through to October for visiting leisure craft. For further information contact the harbour master on t 01271 862108  harbourmaster@northdevon.gov.uk

The Waverley and Balmoral cruise liners visit Ilfracombe throughout the Summer from a number of locations within the Bristol Channel. For further info call 0845 1304647 or visit www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk

The Oldenburgh departs from Ilfracombe pier regularly for Lundy from Mar-Oct. For further information call 01271 863636 or visit www.lundyisland.co.uk.

FAQS

Lundy Treasures porthole at Ilfracombe Aquarium
A diverse collection of local aquatic life. Species displayed are typical of local rivers, lakes and ponds to those found in an estuary, the North Devon coast and around Lundy.
It’s really down to the individual. All visitors should allow for at least 30 minutes. Some enthusiasts can be in the exhibits for well over an hour. There is a lot to see and read. There are over 75 aquatic species to enjoy. During off peak times you can re-enter for free on same day.
Small native sharks are on display. These include dogfish (<60cm), bullhuss (<100cm), thornback & painted rays (<75cm). These are all ‘aquarium friendly’ species. They are established and proven to live happily in captivity and have bred. We would not wish to compromise the welfare of other larger more active, open ocean, native shark species so do not stock these species.

Prior to stocking we carefully consider the habitats that we are trying to recreate and the species that are found within those habitats that are also suitable for displaying in captivity.

We check those species conservation status and have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that the species within the collection have a high quality and long life.

We acquire species through a number of means:

  • Local fishermen
  • Collections locally
  • Within the industry
  • Captive bred at the aquarium

Each species has its own specific requirements both in terms of diet and frequency of feeds. To ensure the quality of life for each species we need to offer near to similar to their natural diets as well as replicate frequency of feeds. The diets consist of dry diets, pellets, shrimps, worms, prawns, fish, crab, shellfish. These items are obtained from south west based suppliers as well as locally. Sustainably sourced and minimising impact is always preferable.