Golden Hinde review
Visit London Drum’s YouTube channel for more videos
It's almost a shame that I have to tell you about this place because it's much better left as a surprise. People should definitely find this place by accident and not be led there by a guidebook. You can tell who's not expecting it when they're walking down the claustrophobic Clink Street, because they'll suddenly come to a stop and start fiddling in their handbag for a camera.
This is the Golden Hinde II -- a near perfect replica of the ship that carried Francis Drake around the world. This is the ship in which the Elizabethean privateer (the polite name for a pirate) sacked the Spanish treasure ships, sailed round the tip of Argentina, up the west coast of America, and got back home in time to fight off the Spanish Armada.
The original ship became so famous that people used to visit it in the same way that we're visiting this one now. It lasted for a hundred years before the weather managed to do what the Spanish couldn't (sink it), and we had to wait another 350 years for this rebuild. And I know exactly what your first thought will be: you'll be standing here thinking that it's far too small. There are passenger ferries on the Thames that are bigger than this, and it's incredible to think that Drake had a crew of 80 blokes onboard for 33 months. Imagine having to live with 80 men for three years on that tiny thing! (Luckily 24 of them died along the way, freeing up some space.) You can get some idea of what it must have been like if there happens to be a party of school kids onboard. Whenever I walk past this boat it always seems to have been hijacked by a rowdy outing of primary school teachers and their charges (the kind of charges who charge and barge around the deck like pirates).
Luckily I'm on my own today, so I can have a good look round and describe it in detail. They give you a little sheet of paper telling you a few bits and bobs about the boat before you board, but you're better off just having a wander around and exploring. Poke your nose into all the cabins and galleys. Poke your eyes through the portholes. Poke your hands into the cannons... and pretend in your head that you're a 16th-century pirate.
Whenever you see an old pirate movie they always have a very ornate dining room where the captain sits with his crew, eating meat off silver plates and dripping red wine down their front -- it has one of them as well, complete with hanging lanterns and a big-backed chair where Drake would have sat. Obviously I sat in it. If anyone deserves to sit in the captain's chair it's me.
It's when you go downstairs that the ship really comes alive. The decks downstairs are five feet high -- even your kids will have to duck. You literally have to walk around like an upside down 'L', or you'll crack your head on the thick oak beams.
I think it's worth paying the entry fee just to have a look at the downstairs decks.
Have you been here? Are you going?Ask a question, or write your own review
I’ve been here more than once…
Keep up-to-date: Follow me on Facebook Subscribe to my mailing list You will receive one email every time I write a new post (and that’s all – I won’t send anything else). The frequency of my posts varies, but it’s usually once a week. You will be able to unsubscribe any time you like, simply by clicking the ‘unsubscribe now’ link at the end of every email.
Have you seen my London book?
Honest reviews of London’s landmarks and attractions
Money saving tips things to do for free and cheap days out
Useful information with opening times, prices, photos, maps
Read my review:
Mayor's Question Time, at City Hall
Mayor's Question Time has fallen a bit flat since Boris Johnson left. I used to like watching him because he was funny -… more
Read my review:
The West End roughly encompasses the area around Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. A lot of the big… more
Read my review:
You really have to be a fan of the Royals to like the Royal Mews. Either that or you need to love horses, because there'… more
Read my review:
What's the oldest thing in London? No, it's not Prince Philip. It's actually this big block of rock on Victoria Embankm… more
|> What’s on in Jan|
|> What’s on in Feb|
|> What’s on in Mar|
|> What’s on in Apr|
Get an Oyster for the cheapest fares The easiest way to travel in London
> Save money Get the cheapest fares on London transport
> Easy to use Pay as you go credit on the buses, boats and underground trains
Save some money with London Pass Cheap entry into London attractions
> Save money Free or discounted entry into top attractions
> Save time Jump the longest queues with Fast Track entry