If you are going to London it makes so much sense to have a Merlin Annual Pass as there is just so much to do there that it really will entertain you and save you money. This is also one of the really good reasons to have a premium annual pass as there are some restrictions on dates in London on a standard pass – plus a premium means you do not always have to wait in line as long (nothing like a bit of VIP treatment).
London Merlin Attractions on the South Bank
Four of the London Merlin attractions are located together over on the South Bank of the River Thames in Central London: SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, Coca-Cola London Eye and London Dungeons. Plus there’s 50% off on the London Eye River Cruise for Merlin Pass Holders.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium with a Merlin Premium Annual Pass
The home to one of Europe’s largest marine collections London SEA LIFE Aquarium takes visitors of all ages on an interactive and immersive adventure. Including a walk through a glass tunnel, feeding stingrays, touch pools, a rainforest area, you can see divers (with VIP packages available including snorkelling with sharks).
Not forgetting seahorses, clown fish, octopus, zebra sharks, the ever popular penguins and an amazing jellyfish section! Not only is there so much to keep everybody entertained but also informed – with the SEA LIFE network playing an important role in safeguarding the seas and their inhabitants for the future.
Allow for plenty of time for your visit and try to avoid times where it is likely to be busy such as school holidays as it is a very popular attraction. Decide whether your party is likely to be able to wait to experience the whole attraction in one go or whether it is best to target different areas.The beauty of having a Merlin Annual Pass is that is not going to cost you any extra to break it up into a few visits. The SEA LIFE London has plenty of toilet facilities throughout the whole experience. Optional photos to purchase of your experience – these can also be skipped to save time.
- County Hall, Riverside Building, London, SE1 7PB
- +44 (0)20 7967 8000
- Open 7 days a week: 10.00-18.00. Last admission: 17.00. Late summer opening times: 22 Jul-3rd Sept: 10.00-19.00. Last admission: 18.00
Another attraction suitable for the whole family (suitable for ages 3-12 years) is Shrek’s Adventure. An interactive family walk-through experience which takes you on a tour inspired by Dreamworks’ Shrek. As well as meeting some of the favourite characters from Shrek such as Donkey and Fiona (and also some baddies including Witches and Rumpelstiltskin), there’s a 4D bus ride, story-telling, and ingredients to collect for the muffin man’s magic spell!
This experience lasts approximately 75 minutes with the opportunity to meet some of Shrek’s other Dreamworks friends after you leave Far Far Away. It is an accessible adventure and we saw ourselves that a wheelchair user was comfortably able to experience the whole experience (children are also asked to be allowed to see with adults standing at the back and we were asked to do the same for the wheelchair user). I will say that it did get a bit awkward in the mirror maze when they thought that they couldn’t go forward though!
No phones or photography are allowed during this attraction.
- Shrek’s Adventure, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB.
- Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10-4, Thursdays 11-4, Saturday 10-6 and Sundays 10-5 – with extended opening in school holidays.
You may also be interested in Emma’s Review of Shrek’s Adventure
Coca-Cola London Eye
This is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel offering a 30 minute 360 experience of stunning London views. Situated across the River Thames to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament and from another angle experiencing the height of The Shard! Each pod has an interactive touch-screen display to help explore and identify the London Landmarks (such as Westminster Abbey, The Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Piccadilly Circus).
In the day you get beautiful clear views but at night it is all lit up and you get to see how magical London is in the dark.
- The London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB
- The London Eye opening times vary throughout the year, typically the attraction opens at 10:00 and closes between 18:00-20:30.
Here we come to the London Merlin Attraction that certainly isn’t suitable for the whole family as it recreates gory and macabre events from history. It has a mixture of special effects, live actors and even rides! Note they are not only not suitable for young children due to them being scared but also due to their content; for example Jack the Ripper! Note this attraction is very educational – notably teaching about Guy Fawkes, the Plague, Sweeney Todd and much much more.
Although it can be scary this is a great fun attraction – with plenty of interaction and wit. Our children are very brave and probably the youngest that went in at around 6/7 years old. However, we did experience children probably around 12ish at the Dungeons at Warwick Castle (which is very similar) absolutely hysterical and needed to leave. It is up to the parents’ discretion to make that decision – but do remember that if it is likely that your child will start screaming it isn’t nice for them or anyone else (especially as we had our torturer section cut short because of this).
No phones or photography are allowed during this attraction.
- The London Dungeons, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB
- Open 1-4 daily (apart from Christmas Day).
- Booking essential.
- 020 7654 0809
The closest underground station for the Southbank is Waterloo which is served by the Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee or Waterloo & City lines. Other stations nearby are Blackfriars (District and Circle lines), Southwark (Jubilee line), Embankment (District, Circle, Bakerloo and Northern lines) and Westminster (District, Circle and Jubilee lines). Jubilee line stations have disabled access and all stations are in zone 1.
Other London Merlin Attractions
Another great London Merlin Attraction but away from South Bank is Madame Tussauds. This famous waxworks museum hosts a number of famous faces that feel like you are standing next to the real person. With over 250 lifelike waxworks, an insight into how they are produced and a 4D Marvel experience.
This can be a very popular attraction so it is again better to visit during quieter times if possible. Some of the waxwork figures are going to demand more patience in waiting to get that all important selfie than others. Some children I guess could be frightened by how realistic they are!
Read more about what Kara thought about on her Visit to Madame Tussauds London with Kids.
Madame Tussauds London is located on Marylebone Road, just a minute walk from Baker Street underground station (which is on the Bakerloo, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines). By train Marylebone Station is within 10 minutes walking distance of Madame Tussauds: Euston, St.Pancras, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo and Charing Cross mainline stations are all within five stops on the underground. The following bus numbers travel to Madame Tussauds: 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 205, 274 and 453.
- Madame Tussauds, Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR
- Opening hours vary check the website – but usually around 9/10am until 4/5pm
You can also receive money off food, drink and merchandise with your Merlin Annual Pass – including 20% off at The Rainforest Cafe.
Theme Parks near London
In conclusion I think that, like Blackpool, London is definitely a place to own a Premium Merlin Annual Pass because it will save you so much money and provide the whole family with a lot of entertainment, knowledge and experiences. Plus it makes it more likely you can access attractions.
You may also be interested in my previous post about Teaching Children about London.
We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors. Information correct to my knowledge and opinions are my own.