World’s Oldest Aquarium Gets Into the Coronation Spirit

Sea Life Brighton—the world’s oldest aquarium—is pulling out all the stops for this weekend’s coronation celebrations.

  • Sea Life Brighton is the world’s oldest public aquarium, open since 1872.
  • The venue will mark the King’s coronation with aquarium-wide celebrations.
  • Guests will receive a royal red carpet welcome this weekend.

Businesses up and down the country are getting into the coronation spirit with various festivities planned for this weekend. Sea Life Brighton is no exception and will mark the occasion with a patriotic red, white, and blue-themed celebration starting tomorrow.

Essex Magazine reports that as guests arrive in the aquarium’s courtyard, they’ll receive a royal red carpet welcome. That’s before stepping through the venue’s usually rainbow-coloured Victorian arches, reimagined in red, white, and blue for the weekend. The arches date back more than 150 years to when the aquarium first opened in the early 1870s.

In operation since 1872 following three years of construction, it’s now the oldest public aquarium in the world. Although not the first (that title goes to the Fish House in London, opened in 1853), it’s the longest-surviving by some margin. Originally Brighton Aquarium and now Sea Life Brighton, the venue is the work of Eugenius Birch, the architect also responsible for Brighton’s iconic West Pier.

To further celebrate this weekend’s coronation, visitors can expect to see Sea Life Brighton’s short-snouted seahorses “flying the flag” in honour of King Charles. The species (Hippocampus hippocampus) is most common in the Mediterranean Sea. However, colonies have also been found in the rather chillier British waters surrounding Southend-on-Sea… and even in the River Thames around London!

Elsewhere, Sea Life Brighton has renamed its well-known glass-bottomed boat HMS Brightonia for the coronation weekend. As ever, guests can experience floating over the aquarium’s vast ocean display, only with an added spot of special royal treatment for the next few days.

Speaking about getting into the coronation spirit this weekend, Sea Life Brighton’s general manager, Neil Harris, says, “It’s the perfect opportunity to have a bit of fun as a team and come up with some creative ways to enhance our guest experience for those who join us over the long weekend to celebrate the coronation.”

The coronation of Charles III and Camilla, as the king and queen of the UK and Commonwealth, takes place tomorrow, Saturday the 6th of May, at Westminster Abbey in the heart of London.