National Seal Sanctuary

National Seal Sanctuary

Britain's Leading Marine
Animal Rescue Centre

The National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek,
Near Helston, TR12 6UG
Tel: (01326) 221361


The National Seal Sanctuary, set in the picturesque Helford Estuary,
is a haven for some of the marine world's most enchanting creatures.

A busy rescue centre caring for dozens of injured and orphaned seals before they are released back into the wild, the Sanctuary is also a permanent home for a lively community of seals and sea-lions whose injuries prevent them from being able to fend for themselves. The highlight of any visit is feeding time when Spiftire, Anneka, Scooby, Sheba and the rest of the gang use a mixture of charm, guile and sheer brute force to try and gain more than their fair share!

On land they appear clumsy creatures but our special underwater observatories allow you to see the grace and elegance of these mammals in their natural element.

Meet Rocky, the blind but highly inquisitive sea-lion; Charlie, also known as Bopping Harry, who arrived at the sanctuary with bullet wounds to his head; Twiggy, a recent arrival and Scooby, who slaps his flippers against his side to get more attention - and more fish!

And you can't miss Carus, a magnificent bull sea-lion. He's the Sanctuary's largest resident - tipping the scales at around 600 pounds!

Care and conservation close-up

The Seal Sanctuary first opened its doors in 1957 at St. Agnes before moving to its present location at Gweek in 1976. Each year up to 30 seal pups are rescued and cared for at the sanctuary until they're fit enough to be returned to the wild. The first rescued pups arrive in early September and the special hospital is kept busy until the end of February when most of the youngsters are well enough to go outside into one of the rehabilitation pools.

The fascinating story of seal rescue and release is related in our brand new audio-visual exhibition area and continues throughout the seal hospital, where the initial intensive care takes place.

This specially-equipped facility is staffed by a dedicated team of animal experts, who provide round the clock care and attention to the sick and injured pups.

Once on the road to recovery, the young pups are moved to our outdoor nursery and convalescence pools where they gain further weight and start to learn the skills necessary to ensure their survival back in the wild.

It's not just seals

In addition to seals and sea-lions the Sanctuary is also home to a variety of other animals such as donkeys, ponies and goats who have found themselves without a home.

Other highlights include the Creekside Woodland Walk and, when you feel like a break, sit down and enjoy the views across the estuary in our cafe or open-air barbecue.


Finally you can browse round our well-stocked souvenir shop filled with unusual and attractive gift items to remind you of your visit.

Your ticket price includes full use of all facilities, all day.

* Enjoy enchanting views of endearing seals and sea-lions.
* Fascinating feeding demonstrations throughout the day.
* Rescue, rehabilitation and release exhibition.
* Free Safari Bus ride (summer season).
* The chance to meet our cuddly character Sammy the Seal.
* Full use of shop and cafe facilities.
* Plus, don't forget three year olds and under are free!


The National Seal Sanctuary is located on the upper reaches of the beautiful Helford River by the creekside village of Gweek,
approximately six miles from Helston.

Opening Times

Every day from 9.00am
(except Christmas Day)

Admission Charged

Argal Reservoir       Flambards       Helford       Helston       Lizard Peninsula       Bosvathick House and Garden

Glendurgan Garden       Trebah Garden