Cutty Sark Sailing Clipper
King William Walk
TfL Fare Zone 2/3
A Greenwich Icon has returned - the Cutty Sark is once again open to visitors.
Cutty Sark is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper. Most of the hull fabric seen on her today dates back to her original construction in the mid 19th century, She has survived heavy seas, war, neglect, obsolescence, fire and old age to finally be at rest in Greenwich.
In May 2007 tragedy struck the world’s most famous ‘tea’ clipper when she caught on fire during restoration. This beautiful old ship had been undergoing conservation for several years and luckily, when this disaster happened, the masts and rigging, the figurehead, the coach house, all the collections and much of the planking had been removed. More than 50% of the ship was saved.
Re-opened 25 April 2012
A completely new and immersive experience allows visitors to venture both underneath and aboard Cutty Sark. The ship has been raised over three metres allowing visitors the unique experience of walking under a 19th-century three-masted sailing ship.
The iconic ship’s original wooden planks and iron frames that crossed the China Seas have been meticulously conserved giving visitors the opportunity to touch history. Innovative exhibits and interactive displays evoke the sights, smells and sounds of life at sea and tell the ship’s fascinating 146-year history, bringing to life the romance, danger and adventure of life under sail.
Open daily from 10:00 hours.
Tickets & Prices
The Cutty Sark has greatly improved access made possible by the fire. This includes a new visitor entrance below the water line on the starboard quarter. This entrance opens into the lower hold from where a glass lift takes visitors up to the weather deck.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:
Some history of the Ship
This famous sailing ship was built in Scotland in 1869 to service the lucrative tea trade with China. She had to be fast and capable of sailing around the Cape of Good Hope.
- Unusual Name and Figurehead
Her unusual name and figurehead come from the Robert Burns poem Tam O’ Shanter. Tam meets a group of witches. One of them is young and beautiful and named ‘Nannie’. ‘Nannie’ is wearing a short shirt called a ‘cutty sark’.
When Tam flees, Nannie grabs for him but only manages to catch and pull off the tail of his horse Maggie. The figurehead represents Nannie in her short shirt and she is stretching out, holding what appears to be a horse's tail in her hand.
She embarked on her maiden voyage from London
to Shanghai on 16 February 1870. On her first voyage, Cutty Sark
carried ‘large amounts of wine, spirits and beer’, and came back from Shanghai loaded with 1.3 million pounds of tea.
Cutty Sark was very fast but unfortunately for her, the very year she was launched, the Suez Canal was opened. The Canal was no use to sailing ships and by 1877 she had carried her last tea cargo. She started to carry different cargoes including coal, jute, castor oil and even Australian post from Calcutta to Melbourne.
- Transporting Wool from Australia to Britain
Aged 14 years, Cutty Sark started recording remarkably fast passage times under her Master, Richard Woodget. From 1885 to 1895 she became the dominant ship in bringing wool from Sydney to London, setting new speed records year after year.
She would also call in to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia, mooring at the Newstead Wool Wharves (these warehouses have now been restored and converted into apartments).
With steam ships starting to take over the wool trade, Cutty Sark became less profitable for her owners and she was sold to a Portuguese firm in 1895 for £2,100, and renamed Ferreira.
After life as a Portuguese vessel for thirty years, she was returned to England as a training ship for the Royal Navy ratings at Greenwich
. In 1954 she was placed in a specially constructed dry dock for restoration as a historic monument.. In 1957 she was opened to the public as a historic monument by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and been a popular tourist attraction ever since.
Merchant Navy Memorial
Cutty Sark stands as a memorial to the Merchant Navy, particularly those who lost their lives in the two world wars. The amazing collection of ship figureheads on display is part of this memorial, thanks to a bequest by an eccentric maritime history lover, Sydney Cumbers.
Sydney gave his collection to the Cutty Sark in 1953, in memory of Britain's merchant seamen and the Little Ships that went to the rescue of the army at Dunkirk in the Second World War.
Unique Exhibition of Ships Figureheads
With the raising of the ship’s hull a wonderful new exhibition space has been created in the dry dock where the complete Long John Silver Figureheads Colection can now be displayed. Previously, only a few of these wonderful characters could be shown in the cargo hold. This collection of recently conserved historic wooden figureheads is the largest in the world!
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here:
Food & Drink
The Even Keel Café is open only to Cutty Sark visitors from 10.00 – 16.30 hours. The cafe is located directly beneath the gleaming copper hull of Cutty Sark and offers hot and cold lunches, sweet and savoury snacks, tea, coffee and children’s dishes.
- Afternoon tea
Book afternoon tea in advance from around £22.95, including entry to the ship, Web: Even Keel Café
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)2088 584 422
Cutty Sark website
This is an excellent website with details of current activities and events especially for children.
Enjoy your trip to Greenwich
by rail or river, it takes no time at all. We're just 10 minutes from central London by rail, or make the journey part of the fun and arrive by boat.
If travelling by river, a good view of the restored Cutty Sark can be had when first arriving at Greenwich Wharf.
- By Rail
town centre, the nearest stations are:
Cutty Sark Docklands Light Rail (DLR)
Oyster cards can be used at all local stations and on buses. All the Greenwich Royal Museums within historic Greenwich and Royal Greenwich Park
are within easy walking distance of each other, and only a short walk from the stations.
Follow the detailed directions on the Greenwich page of this web site.
Google Maps - Greenwich Cutty Sark