National Maritime Museum, London
Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
Discover British history, art, and science related to the sea at National Maritime Museum. View portraits of leading British maritime figures, see public records and model ships, and enter the Royal Observatory to learn about the development of navigational techniques and equipment. Check out “Voyagers” to hear the stories of Britain and the sea through an audio-visual installation, explore the collection of archives and objects in the “Compass Lounge,” and steer a ship into port and fire a cannon at pirates in the children’s gallery. The venue hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, so check what's on before you visit. Use our London vacation builder to add National Maritime Museum and other attractions to your London vacation plans.
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We spent the day at Greenwich and about 2 hours in this museum. Lots of cool stuff and plenty of hands on for the kids. You could see it all in half a day I reckon. The coffee shop on the ground floor... read more »
This free museum isn't just for kids but there is lots of interactive stuff for them to do. Highlight for us was a display on Nelson. Very well done and very informative. Learnt stacks. There's quite ... read more »
Most tourists never wonder this far east of the city centre- and of course there are many wonderful things to do in Central London. But if you have a few days in London, I would highly recommend going... read more »
What I love about this museum is that it has so many different things. It's a large museum with a mixture of exhibitions, some which are interactive for children such as the one where you need to load up your ship to be balanced evenly, or the maritime warfare game where you have to adjust a cannon to shoot and catch pirate ones, unfortunately these exhibits are often broken due to wear and tear. There are a lot of old items on display, such as the uniform Nelson wore at Trafalgar. There is also open area with a café on the second floor which is great if you are bringing kids as it's actually large enough for children to move around.
The curators here work to give complete and deep perspectives on the culture of British maritime activities. Exhibitions and exhibits are changed regularly in order to maximise the limited space in the museum grounds. The space inside the museum is well developed and lit with guides and deaf signer videos accompanying many of the projections. The museum features lots of richly detailed examples of British maritime history as well as a selection of child friendly displays and exhibits that are very popular. Unfortunately when we visited a few more interactive displays were broken through use. The two main cafés were actually cheap for London prices. Wheelchair parks dot the museum in many places and there's ramp and lift access to every exhibit for wheeled visitors.
Fantastic Museum. In addition there's an exhibition for children (AHOY! children gallery), so perfect for families with little children. Precious tip: the Neptune cafe on the first floor. It's wonderful to sit there for a coffee while looking at people wandering on the globe map's floor. But avoid: the baby changing facility next to The Brasserie restaurant. Believe me your child will be fainting in a few minutes. It doesn't have ventilator and it smells like hell!
There's plenty of great free museums in London but what the National Maritime Museum does rather uniquely and exceptionally well is marry up its extensive naval art collection with the exhibits. For example as you pass through the gallery on the East India Company you'll see historical artifacts, interactive exhibits and text explaining the history whilst also showing fine art from the period depicting what you've been reading about. It's a much more enjoyable way to consume art than simply rows of paintings. The only thing to note is the free galleries tend to be quite short and if you're looking for the history of shipbuilding or the Royal Navy, you won't find a great deal here. The paid galleries tend to be of a high standard and I've made a trip several times just to see these.
Some interesting exhibits, probably a little too dry for younger children. The Great Map is good fun for the kids - they're handed a tablet which they can use to play a game as they navigate their way around a very large map of the world - they can have fun while they learn some history and geography.
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