London has a number of fantastic museums, each of which provide you with a world-class look at their respective areas of focus and expertise. The National Maritime Museum is one of the very best, and this blog we’ll take a closer look at the venue itself, as well as providing you with some top tips on planning your visit.
What is The National Maritime Museum?
The National Maritime Museum offers visitors an intensive and rigorous exploration of the rich maritime history which helped shape Britain. Few nations on earth have the same links to the sea as the UK, with trade and the naval history of the nation having helped to shape both the character and fortunes of the nation.
The museum itself has been open to the public since 1937, but even earlier than that, the same space was being used to help educate the children of sailors in the 1800s. This means the area where the museum now sits is one which is forever linked with maritime culture, and has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Located in Greenwich, the museum space was once amongst the most pivotal locations for Britain’s seafaring industry, and today it continues to welcome large crowds who all want to discover more about this important piece of British culture.
While making the most of the latest London hotels special offers, a trip here is a fantastic way to find out all about the maritime industry in the UK, and around 750,000 people flock here each year to begin their own voyage of discovery.
The museum is also close to other prominent London attractions such as the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark. If you have a few hours to spare, then this is a wonderful area to head for.
National Maritime Museum: Highlights
While the museum is a real treasure trove of information, it also houses more than two million important artefacts. These include everything from maritime memorabilia to maps which helped guide British ships around the globe.
Exhibits around the venue also help to bring the maritime side of Britain alive – focusing on some of the key figures who travelled the world including the inn-fated Captain James Cook in the 1770s, and Admiral Nelson, who won a spectacular victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The ground floor of the museum provides an initial taster of what to expect from the rest, ideal for helping you navigate through the different rooms and levels while staying at the Montcalm hotel London.
The museum is ideal for visitors of all ages, and special attention has been paid to ensuring it caters to families and children. Whether your kids are already intrigued by the world of maritime exploration or you simply want to teach them something new in a fun and original way, this is the perfect space to do so.
What should I do on my visit?
The following tips should help you make the most of your own visit to the museum, ensuring you see all the major sights and learn as much as you can during your trip!
Check for special events
As with some of the other top museums in London, The National Maritime Museum is constantly hosting new events, with a packed schedule for you to immerse yourself in.
If there is something you want to see, check the official website before you visit, and plan your trip accordingly. Prior and current events include everything from special photography exhibitions to tours focusing on specific eras of maritime history, as well as a range of talks and courses which bring this information to life in a new and inventive way.
Take a guided tour
If you really want to explore all the museum has to offer, why not opt for a guided tour? These tours will take you around the venue with an expert on hand, to explain key moments from the UK’s maritime history.
They’ll also be on hand to answer any questions you might have during your visit, ensuring you gain a true and comprehensive look at the sights and heritage of the museum. This is a particularly great option for anyone who has a vested interest in maritime history, with the tour lasting around one hour.
This leaves you with plenty of time to discover the museum before heading to Hankies Montcalm for a celebratory meal.
Take your time
There is a lot to see at the museum, including floors which span much of British maritime and naval history. For this reason, be sure to take your time as you discover sights such as the exact uniform Nelson was wearing at the Battle of Trafalgar, or a fittingly sombre look at the trading relationships Britain had during the 1600s-1850s, a period of rapid expansion for the nation.
We recommend spending at least a couple of hours here, though with an expert you can experience the highlights in a slightly shorter time-frame.
Bring the kids
The National Maritime Museum has been designed with families in mind, and there are lots of great parts of this museum which make it ideal for younger kids. Many of the child-friendly fun is created to impress the under-7s, with a special ‘AHOY!’ gallery for children, which brings some of the UK’s maritime history to vivid life.
Immersive and tons of fun, there’s also the chance for kids to explore the globe with the on-site atlas, playing games which also help them learn all about the places Britain has visited by boat.
For adventurous families, you can also all take part in one of the trails, guiding you around the museum in an interactive way while staying at Barbican Rooms by the Montcalm.
The National Maritime Museum is open every day between 10am-5pm, providing ample time to visit when you are next in London.
For both fans of all things maritime and complete novices to the sector, this is a wonderful place to spend a few hours marvelling at an important part of British history. To ensure you get the most from your day out, be sure to plan in advance.