Cutty Sark Visitors Center

Visit the Cutty Sark Visitors Centre and enjoy a unique voyage of discovery as you step back in time and experience life on board the last surviving tea clipper. Learn about the stories that earned Cutty Sark her reputation as one of the world’s most famous sailing ships.

Impressively positioned on the riverbank at Greenwich, the Cutty Sark Visitors Centre stands at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich, alongside attractions including the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the London Planetarium.

On board, you’ll firstly explore the lower hold below deck that once transported 10,000 tea chests back from China, and then wool from Australia from 1883 after steam ships drove Cutty Sark out of the tea trade.

A Scottish ship built in Clyde in 1869 by John Willis, Cutty Sark is the last surviving tea clipper, famous for her record-breaking passages to almost every major port across the world during a service of 52 years.

Climbing the stairs to ‘Tween Deck, see the historical artefacts that have survived for almost 150 years – including a telescope, seaman’s chest and a Star of India stern decoration. 

As you take the air on main deck, step back in time and imagine yourself as a seafaring Victorian. Take the helm at the ship’s wheel and put yourself in the shoes of Captain Richard Woodget, explore the master’s cabin and climb into the bunk beds where the crew slept. Looking up at the masts and 11 miles of rigging, it isn’t hard to believe how Cutty Sark earned her reputation as the fastest ship in the world.

Finally, there’s the opportunity to walk underneath the ship’s impressive copper-clad hull, of which 90% dates back to 1869. Here you can find out about the large-scale conservation work to treat Cutty Sark’s fragile structure in 2007 following fire damage, and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the ‘Even Keel’ café. Don’t miss the Long John Silver Collection of figureheads – the largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads in the world.

Children will be kept entertained by navigating the ship on interactive displays, guessing the ship’s cargoes through smell and touch samples – from tea to wool, coal and cocoa beans. Play ‘Captain Woodget’s Apprentice’ on the main deck by downloading the app on the App Store or Google Play.

If you’d like to take a memento home, there’s a gift shop selling everything to do with sailing, from Cutty Sark Whiskey, to sailors’ shirts, model ships and compasses.

Free Entry to The Cutty Sark with The London Pass

Look out for…

  • The Long John Silver Collection of Figureheads: the largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads in the world. It was given to Cutty Sark in 1953 by Sydney Cumbers (also known as Captain Long John Silver because of his eye patch and his love of all things maritime). The figureheads come from vessels mostly dating from the 19th century, and the collection is dedicated as a memorial to the men of the Merchant Navy
  • Main Deck – admire the impressive masts and riggings, look out across the Thames to the Shard and Canary Wharf and take the helm at the ship’s wheel
  • The Hull – View the underneath of the boat which has been raised up on stilts, so visitors can walk right underneath it. 90% dates back to 1869

Did you know?…

  • Cutty Sark is the only historic sailing ship in the world to have its own theatre. The Michael Edwards Studio Theatre is situated in the lower hold of Cutty Sark, which stored cargoes of tea nearly 150 years ago. It’s a unique performing arts space and hosts cabaret, comedy, lectures and musical performances throughout the year.
  • Cutty Sark never left Britain without a cargo in her hold. She carried everything from mining gear to household goods, including large quantities of beer and spirits to Australia, and coal for steamships to the Far East.
  • During her 52-year service, Cutty Sark sailed 957,995 nautical miles – the equivalent of going to the moon and back 2.5 times.

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All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.