For a long time a visit to the National Maritime Museum was on my ‘must-visit-list‘. Not only because I was born in the port city of Rotterdam or have read good reviews about the museum. But also because Great Britain possesses such an enormous and important maritime history, which is often associated with British culture and identity. That is why the National Maritime Museum is considered a treasure trove for every maritime enthusiast, young or old. – I deliberately waited with our visit to this world-famous museum because they were recently renovating with an expansion of four new galleries. And of course we wanted to see these as well.
The National Maritime Museum is located in Greenwich, East London and literally borders the beautiful Greenwich Park. The Museum, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, was opened to the public around 1937. Before that time, in 1800, the building was originally used as a school for children of seafarers. The area where the museum is located has played an important role for the maritime history of Great Britain, because it was connected to the London Docks via the River Thames and, more recently, to Canary Wharf. Nowadays, the National Maritime Museum is the world largest museum of its kind and attracts more than 750,000 visitors annually.
When you enter this beautiful museum you’ll see an extensive map next to the information desk on the wall. It soon becomes clear that this museum is really big, spread over 3 floors you will find several galleries with different themes that all have to do with shipping and the sea. With more than 2 million objects, ranging from paintings, measuring instruments, maps, ship models, costumes and books, the departments within the National Maritime Museum are as big as the ship history of Great Britain itself.
Another striking place in the museum is The Great Map, on the first floor under the magnificent glass dome in the middle of the building. On this enormous atlas, children and adults can walk over the surface of the map, move boats and find out more information by using the tablets on the side.
There are more various areas spread throughout the museum that are specifically geared to children, such as the Ahoy! gallery. An indoor play corner with models of ship decks and huts to play in.
The older children can have fun at the All Hand’s Interactive Gallery, a playful set up space where they can fire a cannon, dress up and move goods with a crane.
With full admiration we spent hours in the museum, there is so much to discover. Something to be reckoned with when planning your visit in advance and maybe also want to see other sights in the Greenwich area. Such as: the Cutty Sark sailing ship, the art gallery of the Queen’s House and The Royal Observatory where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the London skyline.
The museum is free to visit, for some exhibitions a ticket is requested, unless you’re a member of the Royal Museums Greenwich. For more information about the exhibitions, events and memberships, I would advice to consult the website of the National Maritime Museum.
Suitable for ages
Young Children (4-8), Older Children (9-12), Adults
Parking available nearby – restaurant – souvenir shop – (disabled) toilets available – wheelchair friendly – baby changing – buggy friendly – buggy park – venue hiring
Address & Contact
Park Row, London SE10 9NF, England
For more information about the museum and exhibitions that take place, click here
T: 020 88584422
Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm
Closed 24th to 26th December
Except some special exhibitions (click here)