I got the boat down to Greenwich mid-morning so then I had to decide what to do when I got there. There's quite a few places to go, but I plumped for the National Maritime Museum. I thought about going to the Observatory first but that would have involved walking up the big hill and doing some exercise. So that was out. When they move it down the hill, I will go.
From the outside the museum looks pretty good and old. That bit of Greenwich is full of stuff by Christopher Wren, but step inside and the whole place looks modern. It's all metal and glass and office carpets.
I'm not really into boats so maybe I didn't enjoy the exhibits as much as other people do, but I thought it was a bit boring to be honest. There are no really big boats. I was expecting it to be a bit like the Imperial War Museum with tanks and jeeps and planes hanging from the ceiling, but there's nothing like that. They've got a few little floaters inside, but nothing more than 20 feet. And they are just little boats, nothing exciting. They've got one of the gilded ones from George I's party on the Thames, when Handel played his "Water Music". That was quite nice I suppose. And they've got one of those carved wooden sterns from a ship at Trafalgar (I think they call it the "castle"), along with the big busty birds that decorated the end. But that's it really. All the other boats are scale models about five feet long -- the kind of thing that you'd build out of matchsticks if you had too much time on your hands.
They've got some right-on exhibitions about slavery, with display cases filled with guns and pistols that the evil white traders shot them with. (Moral message: slavery is bad. Like we didn't know?) And there's lots of timepieces and clocks and watches too. The rest of the displays are filled with maps and pictures of famous sailors. Oh, and they've got Captain Bligh's sword and coconut cup too, which he used to measure out his rations when he was stranded in the rowing boat.
If you're looking for stuff about World War II, then forget it. There's hardly anything here. The best bit was a scale model of a battlecruiser about five feet long. But the little exhibition I saw on HMS Belfast was ten times better than anything I saw here.
The submarine section consists of three objects no bigger than a fridge, and some pictures on the wall to show how deep they go.
The best bit of the exhibition though, for me, was also the most disappointing. They have got the actual uniform that Lord Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar, complete with the bullet hole where the French guy shot him. You can even see his bloodstained undergarments. But they've hidden it away in a little room which I nearly missed. They should get it out of there and put it pride of place in the middle of the museum! Why hide that away? That was the best bit!
Note: The museum has got a load of naval paintings too, which can be found in Queen's House.