National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum
The largest maritime museum in the world contains some 2500 models of ships, plus paintings, navigational instruments, uniforms, and historical artefacts telling the long story of Britain at sea. Look for the collection of royal barges and the special exhibits on Admiral Nelson and Captain Cook.


The museum was established at Greenwich in 1934 taking advantage of a location with historic roots in the story of navigation. The Royal Observatory is just up the hill from the museum, and the Prime Meridian runs past the site. The museum took over buildings used by the Royal Hospital School, including the 17th-century Queen's House, designed by Inigo Jones.

The museum holds over 2 million items, from early maps to manuscripts, navigational instruments to document archives. The portrait collection alone rivals the National Portrait Gallery for size. The museum holds the Caird Library, the largest maritime reference archive in the world, with over 100,000 books and pamphlets dating back to 1474. The documentary resources are remarkable, and provide an unrivalled record of the history of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

In 2012 the museum joined with the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, and Queen's House to form an umbrella group known as Royal Museums Greenwich. Consolidating these popular heritage sites into one does make it easier for visitors, and, though only the Cutty Sark and Observatory charge admission, you can now get a joint ticket to save some money on a visit. And, really, there is so much to see in Greenwich that you really should just make a day of it and visit all the sites at once!


On a sunny day in summer Greenwich can be a very busy place indeed! But don't let that put you off; the area is big enough to take a lot of visitors. The easiest way to access the museum from central London is via the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). From Cutty Sark station it is a very easy, level walk of about 5 minutes to the museum. If you feel energetic you can climb Greenwich Hill above the museum for superb views over the River Thames and London.