Sea Life Brighton to undergo £2.6m refurbishment

Sea Life Brighton
Sea Life Brighton

A Brighton aquarium is to see its ocean display revamped as part of a £2.6 million investment into the attraction.

The work means the ocean tunnel and display will be closed to the public from September 3 and will reopen in spring 2019.

Sea Life Brighton – which is the world's oldest aquarium still in operation – has seen £4 million worth of investment since 2011, and the latest boost is the fourth and final stage of works at the site.

Max Leviston, general manager at the aquarium, said: “Being the oldest operating aquarium in the world, with Grade II listed heritage, we have a responsibility to the building and the safety of our visitors, staff and creatures to ensure structural integrity is maintained.

“The works are also being completed to accommodate the Soho House development."

The neighbouring Aquarium Terraces site is set to be redeveloped into a new private members' club by Soho House – although work on site has seen delays.

“Although a small part of the attraction will be closed during this time, we will still have 55 displays and 3,500 amazing creatures including jellyfish, rays and seahorses to name but a few. Visitors will be truly amazed when they return to see what we’ve done to transform the ocean display next spring.”

The aquarium, built 1869 to 1872, was designed and engineered by Eugenius Birch, the designer of the West Pier in Brighton.

The building has been utilised in a number of ways over the years; playing host to a car museum; a ballroom; displaying a wide range of animals including penguins, chimpanzees and bears; while there was even a mini golf course on the roof at one point.

The aquarium contained a Dolphinarium from 1968, but Misty and her friends were released back to the wild when Sea Life took over in 1991.