The National Maritime Museum explores the naval and maritime history of Britain, which was for centuries one of the world’s leading sea powers. The exhibitions showcase everything from real-life vessels and model ships to nautical instruments, objects, manuscripts, and maritime-themed artworks from the likes of J.M.W. Turner.
Visitors can explore the National Maritime Museum’s exhibits independently, or pay to join an hourlong guided tour, which can be booked online in advance of your visit. For a more intimate experience and thorough exploration of the museum, opt for a longer small-group tour.
The National Maritime Museum is one of four museums—together with the Greenwich Royal Observatory, the Queen’s House art gallery, and the Cutty Sark (a tea clipper turned museum)—that come under the banner of the Royal Museums Greenwich. Many day tours include visits to more than one of these attractions, as well as Greenwich Market and Greenwich Park. You can also visit the museum as a stop on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Maritime Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and art lovers.
- Special, child-oriented tours of the Greenwich neighborhood, which include a visit to the National Maritime Museum, are a good option for families.
- The National Maritime Museum is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The National Maritime Museum is in Greenwich, South East London. To get here, ride the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to the Cutty Sark stop or take the train from Cannon Street or London Bridge to the Greenwich rail station. Alternatively, travel by boat taking the MBNA Thames Clipper from London Eye Pier, London Bridge Pier, or Tower Pier to Greenwich Pier.
When to Get There
The National Maritime Museum is busiest on weekend afternoons, between 12pm and 3pm, and during school vacations. Go in early morning or late afternoon to experience it at its calmest. On Saturdays, from 12pm–3pm, the museum hosts performances from various costumed seafaring characters.
Highlights of the Collections
Among the must-see items in the collection are the 1933-built Miss Britain III, the first boat to reach speeds of more than 100 mph (160 kph), and The Battle of Trafalgar, one of J.M.W. Turner’s largest paintings. For families with kids, don’t miss the Ahoy! and All Hands galleries, with immersive exhibits aimed at children. The ship simulator and the giant walk-across Great Map will also prove a hit with younger visitors.