Days Out in Sussex with the Kids: Blue Reef Hastings

It can be hard to find things to do in bad weather, but the Blue Reef aquarium at Hastings is a good place to go whether it is raining or snowing! I took K there last week so we could review it.

The best, best bit is the tunnel, pictured right. Everyone loves stepping down and going ‘under the sea’. The Blue Reef isn’t too large, so you can go round this bit several times and see something different on each circuit. If you are three, the chance to run round and round in circles is just too tempting! Watch out though if you are visiting with a baby in a buggy or use a wheelchair- this is one part of an otherwise accessible venue that has a few steps.

Near to the main aquarium with the tunnel (and the sharks, don’t forget the sharks mum!) you can hunt for the octopus. Octopi like the dark apparently, but that makes it all the more fun to hunt for his long legs in his gloomy tank.

We also love the open topped tank full of large flat fish. They flap about and regularly surface: be brave and you can touch them! (See below and right)

There are a range of creatures in small tanks, and I like the hatchery (is there a better word for it?) where you can see what the aquarium is breeding. K wasn’t so interested in this bit and was keen to get back to the giant tank of exciting and brightly coloured fish.

The aquarium works well for a range of ages: the building is small enough that older kids can wander round at their own pace without getting lost, and you can find things for different interests. There is a quiz to follow as you go round which is challenging enough for D, 10 and J, 7. J finds all the information about the fish ‘Fascinating!’ now he is old enough to read the boards.

The Blue Reef aquarium costs £8.20 for an adult, or £26 for a family of four, so isn’t a cheap attraction, but you can go out and come in again. We recommend Eat@The Stade for a child friendly lunch, or the Jerwood Gallery for a bit of culture. You are also right alongside the fairground so there is plenty to make a great day out.

Disclosure: We were given Moneysupermarket vouchers to review this attraction free of charge. 


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