The celebrated historic British clipper Cutty Sark is famous the world over. Having been lovingly restored after two fires in 2007 and again in 2014 extensively damaged her. Built in 1869 in Dumbarton, Scotland she wast the fastest ship of her time and was originally designed to ply the ‘tea route’ from China to Europe.
A few years after her construction steam ships superseded sail and along with the opening of the Suez Canal she only worked the tea route for four years. After a short stint sailing to Australia she sailed for a Portuguese shipping line before becoming a training ship in 1922. In 1954 she was officially retired and transferred to the dry dock in Greenwich for public display.
We’ll explore the ship inside and out, visit the crew quarters and marvel at the complex rigging. The visit will give you a true appreciation of life onboard during those long ocean crossings.
Greenwich Prime Meridian
The prime meridian is a geographical reference line that passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in 1851. By 1884 over two-thirds of all ships used the Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) as the reference meridian on their charts. Symbolised by a metal strip in the courtyard, since December 1999 it has been complimented by a powerful green laser shining north across the night sky.
Greenwich time is still used for shipping and air transportation the world over. In aviation it is referred to as ‘Zulu time’ and every aircraft flying the world over runs to GMT. In army applications ‘Military Time’ is still the reference, also set as GMT (or UTC).
We’ll explore the park and see the Royal Observatory that the meridian runs through.
Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College Greenwich is an architectural masterpiece on the south bank of the River Thames. Completely restored in 2019, the Painted Hall, a grand Baroque Hall is known as London’s Sistine Chapel. Inspired by the Italian Baroque masters, the hall took nineteen years from commission to completion in 1726. The estate has five centuries of rich history linking an enviable list of monarchs and famous British figures and maritime history.
The Painted Hall is the jewel in the crown of the college and one of London’s ‘hidden gems’.
National Maritime Museum
At the end of the tour we can either return to your chosen location in central London or if you want to spend more time in Greenwich and perhaps explore the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich we can end the tour at this location.
The journey to and from your accommodation in central London takes us through Southbank to the east end of the city. The trip is a feast for the eyes as we pass by Canary Wharf business district and The 02, originally the Millennium Dome, an event space built as part of a Uk wide initiative to celebrate the start of the 21st century.