Situated on the north bank of the Humber Estuary, East Yorkshire, England, The Deep is a fantastic place to visit. It is the world's first submarium, a futuristic aquarium.
The Deep, Hull's landmark Millennium Project, consists of four elements:
- A tourist attraction
- Business centre
- Lifelong learning centre
- Research facility
Housed in two buildings set around the aquarium, The Deep is well signposted from the Humber Bridge1 (south) and Kingston-upon-Hull (north). The Humber Bridge (a single-span suspension bridge2) goes across the River Humber between the banks of Hessle on the north bank and Barton-on-Humber on the south bank. There is a toll3 for crossing the bridge. (In 1315 ferry tolls were half an old penny for a man on foot, 1d for a man with his horse, 2d for a cart with two horses and 1d for every additional horse.)
Join the back of the queue. Pay your entrance fee at the reception desk. Take a lift to the third floor and on your way take a look out the window for a fantastic view of the River Humber. You start your visit above the tank which contains 2.5 million litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt. Watch seven species of shark, conger eels, rays and hundreds of other stunning sea creatures. Check the website for an A-Z of the fish library.
As you work your way down the descending walkway4, you can view the fish through see-through walls. At each level you will see different fish, plant life and corals; the tank is laid out as close to their natural environment as possible.
There are some smaller pools so that children can study sea creatures close up. There is also plenty of information to be read as you walk round.
There are plenty of activities and interactive quizzes, you can even 'man' your own 'submarine'. One very interesting 'game' allows you to advance time and watch the screen as the map of the Humber region changes. Eventually where you are standing will be under water as erosion takes its toll.
Admire Gentoo penguins both above and below the water in their habitat. Marvel at how they are quite cumbersome on land but speed like torpedoes through water!
By the time you have walked down to the bottom level, you are below sea-level. You come to the pièce de résistance - Europe's deepest viewing tunnel. Words cannot describe the effect on your senses as you walk under the tank, look up, and watch the mouth, then the belly of a shark slide a few inches over your head. Your jaw drops, then you hear someone gasp:
Look at that!
You turn and swimming towards you is a huge manta ray. The grace and majesty of this creature in all its glory takes your breath away. Everyone in the group is dumbstruck. You turn round and around, watching big sharks weaving around and rainbow-coloured fish darting in and out of little caves.
Nobody wants to move on. The effect of being in the midst of all the marine life, knowing you are perfectly safe yet you are so close to creatures which couldn't survive where you are, and vice versa, has a magical, almost hypnotic effect.
When you can drag yourself away, you have a choice of how to leave.
The world's only underwater lift will take you back to ground level but the journey only lasts 20 seconds.
You can walk up, taking as long as you want, admiring the different levels of the tank as you go.
The Gift Shop
Enjoy some retail therapy in the gift shop. It has toys, games, souvenirs and gifts for everyone. Take a piece of The Deep home with you, in the form of a fridge magnet. Every purchase made will help The Deep continue to promote a sustainable future for the world's oceans and to provide a unique environment for research and learning.
There is a café which is located on the third floor, with spectacular views over the Humber Estuary and a lot on offer to tempt you. There are hot and cold meals, a healthy eating salad bar, home-made cakes and scones and toasted tea cakes. Smoothies, yoghurt drinks, fruit juice, coffees, hot chocolate and tea are also available. Children's meals, high chairs and easy wheelchair access mean everyone is welcome. Taking your own food and drink is not allowed, although there are picnic benches outside should you wish to bring your own lunch.
The Observatory is at the top of The Deep, in the glass apex seen from the river and bridges. There is an outside viewing platform for those not scared of heights. Note that all children must be accompanied by an adult.
There are plenty of events coming up at The Deep, including learning to dive? Consult the website for upcoming events.
Open Days and Times
The Deep is open daily (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from 10am to 6pm. You should allow at least two hours for your visit. The Deep is busy during school holidays and at weekends. The recommended latest visit time is 4.00pm. The last admittance is at 5.00pm.
A good way to avoid crowds and queues is to arrive after 2pm. Another way is to book your tickets in advance, as this allows you to 'fast track' any possible queue at reception. Phone The Deep then collect your tickets and pay on the day at the Fast Track Desk. Advance tickets must be booked at least 24 hours beforehand.
Basic signing for the deaf is available on request, with advance notice.
How to Get There
There is a park-and-ride facility that operates from Priory Park, Hessle. This is 5 miles west of Hull on the A63 approach road into the city. It is signposted from the A15, A63 and the Humber Bridge.
If you prefer to drive yourself, The Deep has its own car park with space for 280 vehicles. There is a charge for parking. Disabled badge holders park free. The Deep recommend using Hull city centre car parks or the park-and-ride bus service during busy periods. For more travel information call Hull's Tourist Information office.
From Hull's railway station you can take the Number 90 bus. The bus goes every 20 minutes from outside the station and will drop you off by the pedestrian bridge adjacent to The Deep.
Taxis are available from outside the train station.