Address: Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HT
Ahoy there! If you’re yet to pay a trip to the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, you’re missing a real treat. Built on the Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, this beautiful tea clipper was one of the last ships of its kind to take to the high seas before the steam-powered shipping revolution, which signalled the end of the era of sails. Part of the National Historic Fleet – the nautical equivalent of a Grade I-listed building – she is one of only three remaining original composite construction 19th century clippers still in existence around the world. As such, she forms an integral part of Britain’s maritime heritage.
After spending a few years on the tea trade, Cutty Sark found herself working the route to Australia transporting wool to the colonies. She was the fastest ship of her time and, for a decade, held the record time for a trip down under After being sold to Portuguese company Ferreira and Co. in 1895 and renamed Ferreira, Cutty Sark continued as a cargo ship until 1922. At this point, retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman took her on as his training ship in Falmouth, Cornwall. Later Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College in London to train auxiliary cadets, before being retired to her dry dock at Greenwich – where she stands today – in 1954.
The visitor experience at Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark is now a major London tourist attraction, which welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The ship forms part of Royal Museums Greenwich, alongside three other major sites of interest: the National Maritime Museum, The Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which stands proudly on the Prime Meridian.
A major renovation following a serious fire in 2007 has upgraded the visitor experience at Cutty Sark, contributing to increased interest in the grand old clipper. She continues to dominate the centre of Greenwich and serves as an iconic landmark on the south side of the River Thames.
Paying a trip to Cutty Sark at Greenwich allows visitors to see what life was like for sailors who travelled across the world on tea clippers more than a century ago. She is full of memorabilia and information on the golden age of shipping, during which Great Britain played such a prominent role.
As well as exploring the Dry Berth, Tween Deck and Master’s Saloon, among other parts of the Cutty Sark, it is possible to walk underneath the hull and appreciate the full size and majesty of the ship. This is because the ship has been raised three metres above ground level, to provide visitors with a fantastic view of the entire structure.
Opening times at Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark visitor experience is open seven days a week from 10:00 to 17:00. Last admission at the attraction is at 16:15, 45 minutes before closing time. Start times for ticketed events are as advertised.
Special events at Cutty Sark
Throughout the year, various special events take place at the Cutty Sark, including talks, concerts, lectures and celebrations. Several parts of the ship and the dry berth in which it stands can be used for this purpose. The autumn 2015 lineup includes the following events:
- Tea treasure chests (October 3rd-4th)
- Eric Ravilious: A Life in Pictures (October 16th)
- You can’t buy pyramid teabags in Egypt (October 17th)
- Phil Jupitus (October 18th)
- Alistair McGowan: In Persons (October 23rd)
- Nelson – The Sailor’s Story (October 24th)
- Nick Ross: Crime, how to solve it and why almost everything we’re told is wrong (October 25th)
- Julie Felix in the Spotlight (October 30th)
- Anna Noakes and Gabriella Dall’Olio: Live and Alive (harp and flute concert (November 1st)
- Rangoli patterns (November 7th-8th)
- Blofeld and Baxter: Rogues on the Road (November 4th)
- Hank Wangford (November 14th)
- Deborah Moggach (November 15th)
- Ship’s Birthday – Cutty Sark turns 146 (November 21st)
Parking for Cutty Sark
For visitors arriving by car or another road vehicle, the closest car park is Cutty Sark Gardens Car Park in Greenwich, a short distance on foot from the tea clipper. The underground car park – which is located at Cutty Sark Gardens, London, SE10 9HT – has space for 70 vehicles.
Getting to Cutty Sark by rail
The closest station to the attraction is Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, which is on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). It is a three-minute walk from Cutty Sark.
Another option is to take the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich and use local bus services to travel into the centre of Greenwich.
Mainline rail services to Greenwich Station – a short distance along the high street – run frequently from London Bridge and Cannon Street stations in the centre of the capital.