cutty sark greenwich london se10 feature image

All Aboard The Cutty Sark Greenwich London SE10

I recently visited the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London SE10, an iconic historic sailing ship and now an award-winning visitor attraction. This British clipper, built in 1869 in Scotland, was among the last and fastest tea clippers. It started by trading tea and later switched to Australian wool. By 1895, steamships had taken over, turning the Cutty Sark into a Portuguese cargo ship and later a British training ship until 1954. Today, it is a public exhibit and a part of the National Historic Fleet. Visiting the Cutty Sark is an opportunity to learn about one of the most famous ships in the world and enjoy spectacular views of the London skyline. If you’re looking for things to do in Greenwich or London tourist attractions, visiting the Cutty Sark is a fun and unique experience.

Cutty Sark Highlights

cutty sark greenwich beneath the ship

Throughout the tour, you’ll learn about the ship’s fascinating history. John Willis, a ship-owner, commissioned it for the profitable tea trade between China and Britain, where speed was crucial. Designed by Hercules Linton and inspired by The Tweed, another swift vessel, the Cutty Sark featured a unique hull and square stern for enhanced performance. Constructed with a sharp hull, iron frame, teak and elm, it was known for its speed, stability and cargo capacity.

cutty sark greenwich copper hull

One remarkable feature of the Cutty Sark is its lifted copper hull, resulting from an extraordinary conservation effort. Visitors can walk beneath the ship for a unique ‘fish’s eye view’. The hull, a blend of copper and zinc, was innovative for its time, combining wooden planks with an iron framework, which allowed for more cargo space. While originally covered in Muntz metal, the current sheathing maintains its historical appearance.

cutty sark greenwich figureheads

The Cutty Sark also houses the world’s most extensive collection of Merchant Navy ship figureheads. These include figures from literature, history and politics, like Florence Nightingale and Benjamin Disraeli.

cutty sark greenwich tea chests

Inside the ship, the lower hold gives an idea of the cramped conditions, with tea crates lining the floor. A film and a display of ship materials provide further insight.

cutty sark greenwich lifebuoy

The tween deck displays various ship-related items, including the ship’s bell, cargo weighing scales and a branded life buoy.

cutty sark greenwich upper deck views

The main deck is the most impressive, where you can see Nannie, the witch figurehead, with her outstretched arm pointing the way. You get great views across the River Thames.

cutty sark greenwich ropes

You’ll see plenty of ropes and knots on the upper deck.

cutty sark greenwich cabins and bunk beds

I enjoyed viewing the carpenter’s workshop, galley and bunks.

cutty sark greenwich ships wheel

The ship’s wheel, restored for the opening in 1957, highlights the ingenious engineering of the time, exemplifying the efficient use of space in a cargo carrier. Unfortunately, this part of the ship was closed during my visit due to conservation work. However, the ship’s wheel was temporarily displayed in the Dry Dock.

Watch My Cutty Sark Video

Helpful Information About The Cutty Sark

cutty sark greenwich ships bell

For more information, go to the Royal Museums Greenwich website. The address is King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9HT, a short walk from Greenwich Station, Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway or Maze Hill Station. You can visit daily from 10 am until 5 pm, with the last entry at 4.15 pm. Ticket prices are £18 for adults and £9 for children. You’ll find a great gift shop in the foyer and a café on the lower ground deck under the hull serving various snacks, refreshments and cream teas. It’s a tourist attraction that’s perfect for the entire family. I wandered around on a weekday morning, so it wasn’t busy, which I appreciated.

cutty sark greenwich mugs

If you want to explore the area, you may find these articles of interest:

Best Things To Do In Greenwich:

Greenwich Day Itinerary

Greenwich Helpful Area Guide

Ten Things To Do In Greenwich

North Greenwich To Greenwich Thames Path Walk

National Maritime Museum Greenwich

The Royal Observatory Greenwich

Queen’s House Greenwich

Best Places To Eat In Greenwich:

Goddards At Greenwich Pie And Mash

Breakfast At Peyton And Byrne Bakery Greenwich

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.