Lats week we drove into London to Greenwich to visit The Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark is somewhere I remembered visiting as a child and when I mentioned to different people about us visiting almost of all of them said they remembered school trips there as a child too.
We parked very easy about a three minute walk away and strolled along the Thames past the Old Royal Navy College and the Naval College Gardens which was lovely. As we approached the ship itself Oscar couldn’t believe how big it was. We got our tickets and the boys were given an explorer trail booklet to read and stamp around the ship. I also brought them a Royal Museums Greenwich Kid’s Handbook which is full of games, facts, quizzes and stickers.
The Cutty Sark is one of the top tourist attractions in London as it is the World’s last surviving ‘tea clipper’ ship which was built to carry tea from China to Britain between 1870 and 1878. It belonged to a man called Jock Willis who took over his Father’s shipping company in 1862. The Cutty Sark was one of the fastest ship’s on the seas at the time reaching speeds of 17.5 knots thanks to her sleek, narrow design. The ship also transported Wool and in December 1883 she left New South Wales and made it back to England in just 82 days! She carried other goods too such as beer, coal, candles, cork, clay, pickles, perfumes, pianos, paper, sugar, shoes, shark bones, screws and wine.
We started on the Lower Hold. When you walk in their is still a smell of tea in the air and this space would have been full of chests of tea from China. On the floor there were words written in Mandarin, as Oscar has just started to learn Mandarin at school he managed to read a few words himself, much to a group of tourists amusement, they couldn’t believe it! On each floor of the ship, facts are written all around and there is so much to learn about it. Not forgetting to get our booklets stamped on each floor too.
We then went up to the Tween Deck which has really low ceilings and this is where they would have stored most of the cargo. There are lots of interactive things to do on this deck. Oscar and Archie both tried to sail the ship to see how long it would take them to get back from Australia. Archie liked playing with the model ship and there was also a story telling time going on which the children loved.
On the Main Deck there was so much to see and learn about. This is where the crew lived, work, ate and slept. We went in the cabins which were very snug, obviously the Captain and officers cabins were much more comfortable. Animals would also be kept on this deck, mainly chickens in a cage. We went up to the Stern and Oscar got to ‘steer’the ship. He couldn’t believe how big the Ship’s wheel is. He then went on to ask a member of staff ton’s of questions which was nice to see as he is at the age now where he takes everything in and wants to learn about all that he sees.
Downstairs in the dock there is a lovely cafe that serves all sorts of food and afternoon tea. In the Dock there is a nice children’s corner with cushions and books where Archie sat for awhile whilst Oscar listened to all of the fact phones about this level. There was also a workshop on where you could draw and cut out your own characters/animals and make them into an animation, Oscar really enjoyed this.
We also looked at the different figureheads and learnt that Cutty Sark means short shirt in Scots and Nannie the Cutty Sark’s figurehead is wearing one. I was blown away that in 1869 when the Cutty Sark was first built it cost £16,150!
Also in The Dock they have a lovely toddler session called ‘Toddler Time On Board Cutty Sark’ which runs Wednesday during term time from 10-11.30am and 1.20-2.50pm. You can bring your little sailors along to enjoy stories, playtime and sing along to songs with the groups theme changing each week. Such a lovely group in the most amazing setting! The session is for Under 4’s and can be purchased on the day at the admissions desk. It costs £5 for an adult, with under 4’s being free or if you sign up to an annual membership for only £44 you will get these sessions free.
An annual membership gives you fast track and free entry to four world class attractions; The Cutty Sark, The National Maritime Museum, The Queens House and The Royal Observatory plus lots of members perks.
We really enjoyed our visit to The Cutty Sark last week and it’s somewhere we will definitely visit again along with the rest of the Royal Museums Greenwich attractions. A fun and educational day out is always a win from me!
This is a paid collaboration with the Royal Museums Greenwich.