Deep Sea World – Scotland’s National Aquarium
Although it’s often listed as something to do in Edinburgh, Deep Sea World – Scotland’s National Aquarium – is actually located in the village of North Queensferry, in Fife. We’ve been meaning to go for ages, and they were doing a “kids for a quid” holiday special over Easter, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve heard so many people complain there’s not enough to do or it’s not big enough to justify the entry price, but like many things in life I think it’s what you make of it.
Yes, it’s not the cheapest activity to do in or near Edinburgh, but through the holiday deal we saved £22, and we spent three hours with the exhibits (plus lunch in the café and browse around the shop, so four hours in total). So I think overall we got our money’s worth, and the kids had a great time which was the main thing.
I’d recommend finding out when the various feeding times, talks and demonstrations are, and going to as many of them as you can. This will massively extend your time spent there and give you more ‘bang for your buck’. Without that, I will admit that you’d get through the exhibits quite quickly.
We went to see a couple of talks, including one about seahorses; got to hold a Giant African Landsnail in the handling session – which was the highlight for my 12 year old who is obsessed with snails; and went to watch the seal demonstration which was another highlight.
The seals performed all sorts of tricks, which kept everyone entertained, and we were reassured by the aquarists (that’s what their keepers are called) that the exercises keep them stimulated, as they are very intelligent animals.
The other big highlight was the underwater tunnel, which you can either walk through or stand on a giant moving conveyor belt which carries you through. It was pretty cool to watch sharks swimming overhead. The moving belt takes just under 10 minutes to go round once, and we went round three times, so the tunnel alone took us half an hour.
I’m also blessed to have children who are interested in reading exhibit labels. They were particularly interested in all the ‘did you know’ labels, which my youngest has no doubt all internalised and will randomly pull out from his memory to impress us with when we least expect it!
So, all in all, I’m glad we went. Everyone had a good time, we learned new things, and I feel we made the most of it. I’d definitely recommend going if you have children who are interested in marine life (the Octonauts have a lot to answer for), but it’s worth keeping an eye out for any future special offers.
EXTRA TIP: To extend your visit to North Queensferry, on your way back to the station, take a detour to Pierhead Playpark. At the end of Old Kirk Road, turn left in to Main Street and follow it until the water front at the end. Read our previous review on Pierhead Playpark for more info.
How to get there
Location: Battery Quarry, Forthside Terrace, North Queensferry KY11 1JR
From Edinburgh, take the train from Waverley or Haymarket to North Queensferry station (around 20 minutes). From there, it’s a 10 minute walk downhill to Deep Sea World.
For travel from Fife there’s also the West Sands bus stop on Main Road, which is serviced by bus routes to and from Inverkeithing Park and Ride. It seems to mostly align with school timetables.
Good to know
Open Hours: Open daily from 10am to 5pm, except at Christmas and New Year.
Cost: Standard (age 13+) £17.50; Junior (age 3-12) £12.75; under 3s free; Family Ticket (2 Standard + 2 Junior) £58.50