National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

London Pass
Free National Maritime Museum guidebook Entry to the National Maritime Museum is already free, but holders of the London Pass are entitled to receive a free museum guidebook
National Maritime Museum map
National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, Greenwich SE10 9NF
0208 312 6565

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun); Last entry 30 mins before closing
Visiting hours are subject to change
Ticket cost:
Adults free entry
Time required:
A typical visit to National Maritime Museum lasts 1½-2 hours (approx)

Getting to National Maritime Museum

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Cutty Sark DLR
The closest train station to National Maritime Museum is Cutty Sark
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Good for kids? Value for money? free Worth a visit?

Craig recommends… Here’s my latest reviews of the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House. The best boat in London is HMS Belfast. Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde is better for children, whilst the Cutty Sark is just a short walk from the museum. Or how about a day trip to Chatham Dockyards? You can see HMS Victory and the Mary Rose in Portsmouth.

The National Maritime Museum made it to No.9 in the Top 10 London museums.

National Maritime Museum in Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich tells the story of the British navy from the Spanish Armada all the way up to the submarines of World War II. Along the way you’ll learn about Drake’s round the world voyage, trade during the days of the British Empire, and Nelson’s sea battles with Napoleon.

Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum

Queen’s House

The Maritime Museum’s most historic building is the Queen’s House, which Inigo Jones designed in 1615. Although unremarkable by today’s standards, it caused an utter sensation in the 17th-century because it was the first time that anybody had seen a Palladian-style edifice.

The two larger buildings on either side of the Queen’s House, connected by two long white colonnades, were commissioned in 1807 to celebrate Britain’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Golden barge at the National Maritime Museum

Exhibition of boats

Alongside the museum’s huge collection of scale-model ships and boats, you can see some genuine old boats like Frederick’s golden barge of 1732, one of Ernest Shackleton’s lifeboats from his arctic expedition, and a replica of the 7th-century Sutton Hoo burial ship, which was found in Suffolk in 1939.

Admiral Nelson exhibition at the National Maritime Museum

Admiral Nelson’s uniform

The prize exhibit is the actual jacket that Admiral Nelson was wearing when he was shot by a French marksman on board HMS Victory – you can even see the bloodstained bullet-hole in front of his shoulder.

Craig’s review of the National Maritime Museum

This review originally appeared in his blog

I caught a boat from Westminster to Greenwich this 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 briefly thought about going to the Observatory first, but that would have involved walking up Greenwich Hill and doing some actual exercise. So that was out. When they move it down the hill, I will go.

From the outside the museum looks nice and old, but when you step inside and the whole place turns ultra-modern. It’s all shiny metal and glass and office carpets.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

I’m not really into boats so maybe I didn’t enjoy the exhibits as much as other people might, and I thought it was a bit boring to be honest. There are very few big boats. I suppose I was expecting it to be more like the Imperial War Museum, with full-sized tanks and jeeps and planes hanging from the ceiling, but there’s nothing like that.

They’ve got a few tiny ones inside, but nothing more than 20-feet. They’ve got one of those gilded ones from George I’s party on the Thames, when Handel played his Water Music. And they’ve got one of those carved wooden sterns from a big ship at Trafalgar, along with a couple of the big busty heads that decorated the end.

But that’s practically it for the big ships. All of the other boats are scale models about 5-feet long – the kind of thing you’d build as a kid if you had too much time on your hands.

Nelson’s HMS Victory uniform with bulet hole

After that come some right-on exhibitions about slavery, with some of the evil white traders’ guns and pistols and whips. (Moral message: slavery is bad. Like we didn’t already know?) And there’s a lot of timepieces and clocks and watches, too. The rest of the displays are filled with old maps and naval charts and paintings of famous sailors.

The best part of the museum is easily the Nelson exhibition. It seems almost unbelievable to me, but they’ve got the actual uniform that he was wearing at the Battle of Trafalgar, complete with the bullet hole where the French guy shot him. You can even see his bloodstained undergarments!

If you’re looking for some information about World War II, then forget it. There’s hardly anything here – just a scale model of a battlecruiser about five feet long. 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 exhibition inside HMS Belfast is a hundred times better than anything they have here.

Awful 33% Poor 0% Okay 33% Good 0% Great 33%
  • Admin – “Not far, probably about ten minutes. Its a nicer walk if you go along the river a little bit and then walk up the center of the old royal naval college, between the two wings of it.”

Ask a question about the National Maritime Museum

Have you seen our list of museum exhibitions in London? You can find exhibitions taking place today, tomorrow and at the weekend. We also have a guide to exhibitions in January, February and March

If you enjoy this then try: Cutty Sark (you can walk it in 6 mins); HMS Belfast (catch the tube from Cutty Sark to London Bridge) and Old Royal Naval College (you can walk it in 6 mins).

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