London weather can be quite temperamental, especially when you’ve planned a day out or it’s the school holidays. Recently I discovered a great rainy day activity, where the wet weather can actually add to the experience. From the moment we boarded the world’s only surviving tea clipper, the Cutty Sark in Greenwich we were in for an adventure packed day.
The historic ship underwent a £50 million restoration, funded by Heritage Lottery after a devastating fire in 2007. It reopened in 2012, permanently out of water with its hull lifted and encased in glass. Protected from the elements and for the first time visible to the public.
It’s a spectacular sight as you walk towards Greenwich Pier. The legendary ship, built in Scotland in 1869 was designed to carry tea from China to England. Acclaimed as the fastest ship of its time, the Cutty Sark travelled the globe and visited every major world port. Incredible how it’s survived and now stands as an award-winning London attraction.
Once on board, the architectural blend of the old and new will further blow your mind. It almost appears like it’s floating on a sea of glass, walking beneath the copper clad hull enables you to fully appreciate the ship’s greatness.
There are three parts to explore each full of interesting and interactive exhibits, showcasing life on board a tea clipper for sailors who travelled across the world more than a century ago. There is a trail booklet which will keep the kids entertained hunting down a list of items too, like the owner John Willis’s top hat.
In the lowest part of ship known as the Dry Berth, you can immerse yourself in a short movie about the Cutty Sark. Wander through the stacked cargo boxes and uncover the history of the transportation of tea from the Far East to Britain. Along with a variety of different types of cargo from coal, wool, tea, and even pianos.
The next floor, the Tween deck is full of interactive games and hands on activities. Here you can also meet the colourful characters from Cutty Sark’s past and hear amazing stories about life at sea. The characters change daily from Captain Woodgett, the ships longest-serving master; Nannie the Witch, Mrs Ray, who misses her apprentice son dearly; James Robson the cook and Jock Willis the man who built the Cutty Sark.
Mr S learnt a thing or two too…
And Asha stepped into the shoes of a sailor and wrote a letter home to a loved one.
A big hit was the interactive game. The aim, to try beat the Cutty Sark’s record time of sailing back to London. After numerous attempts (it was hard to pull them off it) they both got fairly close to the 109 days.
By the time we hit the top deck the heavens had well and truly opened. Thankfully you’re not completely out in the open, the little cabins and the Master Saloon were great for shelter.
Shiver me timbers! The rain actually added an air of being at sea, or rather that’s how I sold it to me hearties!
The cramped living quarters and tiny bunks, surprised us all. They were definitely not made for tall people.
The rain definitely helped when we stood at the ship’s wheel and imagined how to steer 963 tons of Victorian tea clipper through storms and high seas.
After all the exploration we were ready for refreshments at the Cutty Sark Cafe, located beneath the gleaming copper hull.
There are sandwiches, freshly baked cakes, assorted snacks and healthy children’s dishes. You can even indulge in a cream tea with the most spectacular view.
We’d luckily planned the trip on the first Saturday of the month, when creative activities are laid on for the kids. The girls loved designing their own tote bags to help carry their own precious cargo.
And Mummy loved her tea break with a few moments of peace and quiet
Wee ones need not miss out, every Wednesday during term-time they can enjoy toddler time on board the Cutty Sark. From 10–11.30am or 1.20-2.50pm with songs, stories and playtime.
This October half term don’t miss the storytelling festival She Tells Sea Tales – Adventure is Out There, with tales of adventure, mermaids and storms in a teacup. You can get creative too and make your own adventure kid suitcase or create your own animated sea story with Chocolate Films. Sounds too good miss!
The Cutty Sark is an incredible London attraction to visit for both young and old. Visually stunning with a compelling history retold in a fun, immersive way. It’s so easy to reach too on the Tube, DLR, mainline or the Thames Clipper. No excuses – jump on board!
Tickets for an adult is £12.15 and Child£6.30. There are a variety of different ticket options which incorporates the other Royal Museums of Greenwich. For more information on opening times and prices visit the Cutty Sark’s website.
Have you been to the Cutty Sark? Are you fan of the restoration? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets to visit the Cutty Sark. However, all views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
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