National Maritime Museum

Critics' choice
National Maritime Museum
Greenwich

The most important of the group of attractions known (since the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012) as the Royal Museums Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum is the world's largest maritime museum, a huge store of creatively organised maritime art, cartography, models, interactives and regalia. It was greatly enhanced in 2011 by the addition of the Sammy Ofer Wing, which provides a new entrance from Greenwich Park, presided over by Yinka Shonibare's Fourth Plinth sculpture 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle'. Centred on Voyagers: Britons and the Sea – a collection of 200 artefacts, accompanied by an impressive audio-visual installation called the Wave – this extension also has the Compass Lounge (with free Wi-Fi), where you can explore the collection using computers, and a brasserie, café and shop. The museum's ground-level galleries include Explorers, which covers great sea expeditions back to medieval times, and Maritime London, which concentrates on the city as a port since 1700. Exhibits include wreckage from a Zeppelin shot down over the Thames estuary in 1916, the original model for Nelson's Column and early 19th-century plans for the Rotherhithe Tunnel. Upstairs is the Environment Gallery, which reveals our dependence on the health of the world’s oceans. Level two holds the interactives: the Bridge has a ship simulator, and All Hands lets children load cargo, and you can even try your hand as a ship’s gunner. The Ship of War: 1660-1815 is the museum’s superb collection of models, while the Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire gallery looks at the transport of goods and slaves between Britain, Africa and the Americas. A brand-new Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery, opened in October 2013, contains Nelson's Trafalgar uniform, blood-stained and with fatal bullet-hole. 'Forgotten Fighters: The First World War at Sea' opens on August 2 2014 as part of the museum's commemoration of World War I and tells the stories of those who fought at sea a century ago with exhibits such as weaponry, photographs and medals.

Venue name: National Maritime Museum
Contact:
Address: Romney Rd
Greenwich
London
SE10 9NF
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 10am-5pm; Thur 10am-8pm
Transport: Rail: Cutty Sark DLR/Greenwich rail
Price: Free

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