Attraction Reviews,  Things to Do

Cutty Sark Review: All Aboard… or Abandon Ship?

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Do you enjoy attractions that combine history and culture with a bit of fun and adventure? Who doesn’t?! A visit to the iconic Cutty Sark clipper ship is the perfect way for the whole family to spend a few hours in South London.

If you are not familiar with this part of the city, then you may not know about this cultural gem, which is dry-moored on the bank of the Thames in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark, which was built in 1869, is the oldest remaining British Clipper ship in the world. It has been moored in Greenwich since 1954 and has since become a very popular landmark and award-winning tourist attraction. 

Cutty Sark Review Hero

Sadly, a devastating fire broke out on board this adored vessel in 2007. Fortunately, swift action from the emergency services meant the damage wasn’t as bad as it first appeared and the Cutty Sark was thoughtfully and lovingly restored, to include interactive activities for everyone to enjoy. 

If you’re trying to decide whether it makes sense to visit the Cutty Sark as part of your London itinerary, it can help to hear what it’s really like. Read on to discover my Cutty Sark review which I hope will help you decide if a trip to this fascinating attraction is for you. 

Bonus! As part of the London Pass, you can receive free admission to the Cutty Sark (valued at £20pp in 2024!). Click here to read my London Pass review and click here to buy your own London Pass and save during your London trip.

Basics of Visiting the Cutty Sark

Before jumping into my experience and review of the Cutty Sark museum, it helps to cover the basics of visiting. Here’s what you need to know if you decide to plan a trip to this London attraction.

Location & Transport

The Cutty Sark is dry-docked on King William Walk, Greenwich. Thanks to its location in the heart of Greenwich, the transport links to the Cutty Sark are excellent. The nearest Tube station is the “Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich” stop (3 minutes walk) which is serviced by the DLR line and the nearest train station is Greenwich Station (8 minutes walk).

The Cutty Sark is also just minutes away from the other Greenwich attractions such as the park, market, National Maritime Museum, and The Royal Observatory; it’s a great way to spend part of a day trip to Greenwich.

Hours, Admission & Tickets

The Cutty Sark is open daily from 10am to 5pm, except for Christmas Eve to Boxing Day (December 24th to 26th). Standard admission prices start at £18 per adult and £9 per child. 

Due to the popularity of this attraction, you must have a timed entry, so I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance online to ensure you don’t have to wait or end up being unable to visit on a busy day.

Food Options & Facilities

Photo courtesy of Royal Museums Greenwich

The Cutty Sark Café is located on the lower ground deck of the ship beneath the hull. Here you will find a decadent selection of classic British snacks and light bites including sandwiches, freshly made cakes, traditional cream teas, and a great variety of drinks. If you’d like to make your visit a bit more British, the café offers a delightful Afternoon tea from Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 3pm. It is worth noting that the food here is very nice if a little on the pricey side. 

Toilets and baby-change facilities are located on the lower ground floor by the café and in the access tower across from the Main Deck where there is also a buggy park. 

Gift Shop & Souvenirs

The Cutty Sark Gift Shop is located nearby on Greenwich Church Street and is crammed full of a whole array of souvenirs and gifts to suit all budgets. You can expect to find all your usual keepsakes, like magnets, t-shirts, and caps all adjourned with Cutty Sark personalization. I loved the mini Cutty Sarks in a Bottle!

My Experience at the Cutty Sark

The group I went with to the Cutty Sark had people of all ages, and everyone really enjoyed the couple of hours we spent there. Here’s my detailed Cutty Sark review for you to see if this attraction is for you and your group.

First, the experience: you get a QR code which you scan at the entrance to the ship and allows you to listen to a free audio tour, which, I must confess makes for the perfect accompaniment as you explore the ship. The audio fills you in on fascinating, surprising, and humorous facts and stories of this iconic vessel. I felt there was an excellent balance between the serious and informative exhibits and the more fun and interactive features, resulting in each age group being entertained. 

Since I went as a group, I particularly enjoyed exploring what would have been the crew quarters of the ship and witnessing firsthand the cramped and challenging conditions they would have faced. There are plenty of photo opportunities as you make your way around and also lots of friendly faces, who were only too willing to answer my and my group’s questions. 

As part of my time at the Cutty Sark, I decided to make the most of the newest feature, the Rig Climbing Experience. This feature was opened in the spring of 2022 and is an unrivaled experience to, as the name suggests, climb the famous rigging of this iconic ship. The Cutty Sark, partnered with the fantastic urban adventure company Wire & Sky, has created a safe and fun way for both kids and adults to climb up to these famous masts just as the sailors would have done in years gone by. The views from the top across the city are quite fantastic and this part of the attraction really added an adrenaline-fuelled element to this great day out. 

After all this adventure, I was ready for some refreshments. So I headed to the Cutty Sark Cafe, which is nestled beneath the hull of the huge ship. I found here a great selection of snacks and drinks, with particularly good coffee, albeit a little overpriced. 

Hopefully, my Cutty Sark review has been helpful so far. However, if you’re still wondering is the Cutty Sark worth it?, then let’s look at my conclusion. 

  • You can realistically spend 2-3 hours here, so it is an excellent attraction to build into a South London or Greenwich itinerary, particularly as it is so well situated near other popular venues and places of interest. 
  • Visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring the Cutty Sark, and it is a unique and interesting way to spend some quality time with family and friends. 
  • The tickets are priced reasonably enough in my opinion, when you consider what you get for your money, with one exception…
  • If I were to return I would probably take a picnic to enjoy in Greenwich Park before climbing aboard the Cutty Sark as the cafe was busy and quite expensive

Obviously, the final decision is up to you – but hopefully, these factors plus hearing my first-hand experience will help you make the right call! Have any other questions about visiting the Cutty Sark and whether it’s worth it for your London itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t Forget! As part of the London Pass, you can receive free admission to the Cutty Sark (valued at £20pp in 2024!). Click here to read my London Pass review and click here to buy your own London Pass and save during your London trip.

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Vikki grew up in south east London and enjoyed all aspects of the city for many years before she left to travel the world. She still has family in the city and brings her kids back to enjoy all the wonders of London whenever she can.

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