Do I have to wear a mask when visiting the Aquarium?

In order to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, we would request and advise all visitors over the age of 11 years old to wear face coverings while indoors, unless medically exempt.

How have you ensured the Aquarium is safe to open?

We recognise our responsibility with regard to the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our staff and visitors in light of the coronavirus pandemic and are committed to following the advice and guidance provided by the government.

For that reason, we’ve implemented a number of changes to the Aquarium experience:

  • We’ll be limiting the number of visitors who are able to come to the Aquarium each day to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • All visitors and free returners must book online in advance of their visit.
  • We’ve installed additional hand-wash and sanitation facilities around the Aquarium.
  • The whole Aquarium has been rearranged to follow a strict one way route to help with limit crowds. This includes our gift shop.


  • Loola Land Soft play will remain closed to safely uphold social distancing measures and limit people’s contact with hard surfaces.
  • We’ll be managing toilet facilities to control numbers of people in and out and ensuring regular cleaning takes place.
  • We’ve installed lots of guidance on hygiene, social distancing and safety measures around the Aquarium as friendly reminders to everyone how to enjoy their day.
  • Our team of Housekeepers will be working on an enhanced cleaning regime.
  • Our Ocean Discovery Rangers will be around the Aquarium, helping to ensure everyone keeps a safe distance.


Do I have to sign in or use the Test and Trace QR code during my visit?

To support the Test and Trace effort, we continue to encourage all visitors to scan our venue QR code or provide written contact details.


How do I book tickets to visit?

Prebook your tickets prior to arrival using our online bookings system and use contactless payments onsite where possible. Contactless payments are available by bank card, apple pay or android payments and are limited to £45 per transaction

When you book you will be requested to pick a date and a timed session. This is so we can safely monitor/limit the number of visitors at the Aquarium each day. 

If you have not booked your session before arrival, you will not be able to enter the Aquarium.

Online bookings are available up to 1-hour before the entry time.

If you are using your in-date valid free return annual pass, you must book a session before arrival. Visitors that qualify for free entry (e.g. carers, under 3’s) must still book a session.

How much will tickets be when I visit?

There are now three ticket types depending on when you’d like to visit us:

  • Saver – If you’re visiting for the first time in November to March (or live in a PL postcode, all year)
  • Standard – If you’re visiting in April to July, September and October
  • Peak – If you’re visiting in August

Please visit our Ticket Prices and Types page for ticket type prices.

No matter when you want to visit us, the following will always be true:

  • All tickets come with a free year pass to the Aquarium
  • Child tickets are always half the price of Adult Tickets
  • Senior tickets are always £2 less than Adult Tickets
  • Student tickets are always £5 less than Adult Tickets
  • If you live in a PL Postcode, you are now able to purchase a ‘Locals Pass’ meaning you’ll always pay the Saver ticket price

We’ve tried to ensure our new ticketing structure is accessible to all, as we want to ensure as many people as possible can connect with the Ocean through our Aquarium. No matter which option you choose, you’ll receive a Complimentary Year Pass on arrival to the Aquarium, so you can book to visit us as much as you like for a year.

What are the new timed sessions?

Visits are available by booking timed session, this is so we can safely monitor/limit the number of visitors at the Aquarium each day.

The sessions are:

  • 10:00 – 13:00
  • 10:30 – 13:30
  • 11:00 – 14:00
  • 11:30 – 14:30
  • 12:00 – 15:00
  • 12:30 – 15:30
  • 13:00 – 16:00
  • 13:30 – 16:30
  • 14:00 – 17:00

You can arrive at any time within the first hour of your session, but you will be required to leave when your session ends.
You can book multiple sessions in the same day.  You can book to come on multiple days.

Online bookings are available up to 1-hour before the entry time.

If you are using your free return annual pass, you must book a session before arrival. Visitors that qualify for free entry (e.g. carers, under 3’s) must still book a session.

Can I still use my Complimentary Year Pass?

If you have an in-date valid Complimentary Year Pass you’ll be able to visit, but you’ll have to book a slot via our website.

Everyone who visits will need to book a place via our website.  When you book your visit, if there is anyone  in your party that qualifies for free entry (e.g. carers, under 3’s), you must still book them in as part of your party. 

I have a complimentary year pass/ gift ticket will you extending the date?

Our charity has thought long and hard about what we are able to achieve with our current ticket holders and it is with huge regret that we are not able to extend year passes or gift tickets with extra time to be used when we reopen.

With months without income, our charity is in a precarious financial position and protecting the Aquarium and the animals we care for must be our main priority.

We hope you understand.

How do I qualify for a Local’s Pass?

If you live in a PL postcode, please bring proof along with you to qualify for a Local’s Pass. Examples of proof we’ll accept include:

  • Current UK Driving License
  • Current Passport
  • Utility bill (gas, electricity, water, or landline phone) dated from the last 3 months
  • Council tax bill for current tax year
  • Bank statement dated from last 3 months
  • Building Society or Credit Union statement dated from the last 3 months
  • Tenancy agreement

How do I book to return with my Local’s Pass ticket?

All returning Complimentary Year Pass ticket holders, including those who previously visited with a Local’s Pass, must book a time slot for return visits. Slots can be booked via our General Admissions section on our booking page. Tickets are free to book as many times as you like all year round no matter what ticket you have.

What happens if I book and there is another lockdown?

Daytime Visits
In the event we have to close due to a national or regional lockdown, we will be able to move your booking to a date in the future for you to use when is suitable for you.

Evening events 
We will hold your booking and contact you to book an alternative date of your choice when new dates are available.  If none of these are suitable, we will process your refund.

What happens if I book and I’m told to isolate?

If you or anyone in your party are officially contacted by the NHS track & trace team and told to isolate, please reply to your booking confirmation email with a new date you’d like your booking moved to.

Will the Gift Shop be open?

Our Ocean Gift shop will be open at the end of the Aquarium. In line with government guidance we have made the following changes to our shop for your safety;

  • A one-way system has been introduced within our shop to maintain social distancing.
  • An exit is available to restart an Aquarium journey if desired. 
  • We encourage everyone to wear a face covering throughout your visit (unless you are recognised as exempt).

We will continue to monitor the most up to date government announcements and react as appropriate.

Will the Cafe be open?

Our Waves Cafe is open and ready for you to stop by for a bite to eat and a snack during your visit. With plenty of drinks, snacks and tasty meals, there is lots of different options to suit any appetite.

Where do I find hand washing facilities?

We have new hand wash stations installed outside our Aquarium, in our Waves Café and Outdoor Garden plus hand sanitizers located around the building for use too.

Can we bring a picnic with us?

Yes, you’re very welcome to bring a picnic with you when visiting the Aquarium. 

As we adapt to re-opening the Aquarium, we ask that all picnics are eaten outside and request that your waste is taken home with you for responsible disposal.

Will toilets be open?

All of our toilet facilities will be open.  We ask customers to be mindful in the toilet corridors when queueing. Our team will be carefully managing these areas, and so there may be a short wait to use the facilities. All of our washrooms will be cleaned thoroughly and regularly throughout the day for your safety.

Can I still use cash at the Aquarium?

Prebook your tickets prior to arrival using our online bookings system and use contactless payments onsite where possible. Contactless payments are available by bank card, apple pay or android payments and are limited to £45 per transaction.

Will there still be talks and shows at the Aquarium?

Due to social distancing requirements there will be impromptu talks around the Aquarium. We have information sheets, trails and feeding videos available via our free Wi-Fi on site.

Are you offering any discounts?

Currently we are not offering any discounts on admissions (excluding Wet and Wild deal with Dartmoor Zoo,to receive your discount please reply to your booking confirmation email and we’ll process it within 2-4 working days).

However, if you work within the NHS, Blue Light services or Armed Forces we would be pleased to offer a 10% discount on food and drink and gift shop purchases.   Please bring some valid ID to be used at the time of purchase.



Will schools be allowed to visit?

We are now accepting school visits to the Aquarium.  If you wish to book a school visit or would like a member of our team to come to your school, please contact our team directly at learning@oceanconservationtrust.org

I have a question not answered here and can’t get through to anyone on the phone?

For anything else, please email enquiries@oceanconservationtrust.org and our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us at this time.

I have an event, function or experience booked with you, will this go ahead?

Our event team will be in touch with you individually to talk about your event or function and we’re taking steps to ensure that all activities at the Aquarium are delivered with safety in mind, following the latest government guidance. Please bear with us, as our team are working through our lists which will take us a little bit of time.

I’ve got a free year pass, why do I have to book?

The number of visitors being welcomed back to our Aquarium each day will be limited to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable day with us, while fully adhering to the government’s social distancing and safety guidelines.

To do this, our team will be carefully managing the amount of people at the Aquarium at any one time. This means that our family of members will also need to let us know that you plan to visit, in advance, by using our online booking system.

To do this, head to ‘book tickets’ via our website or click here

Select the day and time you’d like to visit and select the free ticket option.

Remember to book a place for everyone in your group. If you are coming with people that need to pay, please add their tickets to your basket. 

Thank you for your understanding and for your incredible, unwavering support – it’s hugely appreciated.

I have a question you haven’t answered or I’d like some more information

We’ve tried to cover as much as possible here in our FAQs but please do email us enquiries@oceanconservationtrust.org if you have any further questions that have not been answered, or if you’d like to make any suggestions. We’re always happy to hear from our wonderful visitors. For more information and advice on Covid-19 in England, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

What happens if there’s a local lockdown?

We follow the news about local lockdowns and note that they only appear to last a maximum of 2 weeks.  For tickets purchased for a date that then coincides with a lockdown, we will not offer an automatic refund, this is because the ticket can be transferred to another date and used accordingly (the year pass will start from that day of entry).

If you still wish to receive a refund, as you can no longer use the ticket, specifically due to the lockdown or Covid symptoms, please contact us via enquiries@oceanconservationtrust.org

Non COVID Questions

Why is the National Marine Aquarium a charity?

The National Marine Aquarium is the Ocean Conservation Trust’s window to the Ocean and is an essential element in the delivery of our habitat restoration and behaviour change programmes.

Our charity has been running the UK’s largest charitable aquarium for over 20 years. Our Aquarium was the first UK aquarium set up specifically to further learning, research and conservation of the marine environment.

How is the National Marine Aquarium funded?

The National Marine Aquarium is operated by the Ocean Conservation Trust. We receive no revenue support and is entirely dependent on visitor income to cover the costs of operation and to support our charitable work. We do apply for grants and sponsorship funds wherever possible but these go to supporting specific projects and not the day to day running of our Aquarium.

Can I smoke at the Aquarium?

We do not allow any form of smoking inside the building. This includes the use of any e-cigarette/vaping devices. This is to ensure that we avoid any confusion on reports of sources of smoke within the building. We do have a garden in which members of the public may smoke if they wish.

Any more questions you may have for us, please email our team on enquiries@oceanconservationtrust.org

We hope to sea you soon!

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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