Blog > National Maritime Museum In Greenwich, London

March 20, 2014

A bit more than 5 miles from Safestay Hostel is one of the treasures of British history.  It is the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich London.  By car you can be there in less than 20 minutes.  If you wish to use public transport the total trip will be less than 45 minutes.  Walk to Elephant and Castle and take the Northern Line Subway towards Barnet. You will disembark at the London Bridge stop.  It will be a short walk to London Bridge.  Take the London Cannon Street Train to Dartford. (Stop ID: LBG)  From there disembark when you arrive at Maze Hill.  (Stop ID: MZH).  The train ride will be about 11 minutes. From there you will need to walk to your destination.  It will take you less than 9 minutes. 

The National Maritime Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the world. Hours of operation are 10:00 A.M. To 5:00 P.M. (17:00) seven days a week. Last admission is a half an hour before closing. On Thursdays the ground floor galleries including the Sammy Ofer Wing and shops are open until 8:00 P.M. (20:00) Most of the facilities of the complex including the main building are open to the public free of charge. The exception is when there are special exhibits on display from time to time.

In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II approved the new title Royal Museums Greenwich as the new overall title which include the attractions held by the National Maritime Museum. These would include the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and Cutty Sark. The historic buildings form part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site as designated by UNESCO.

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The National Maritime Museum first opened in 1937. Before then the site has had an incredible role in the history of the United Kingdom and London. The Romans actually landed here in ancient times. King Henry VIII lived in the Tudor Palace before its demolition here at the site of the Old Royal Navy College.

The British Navy would begin here. This would be the site that King Charles II would choose for the founding of the Royal Observatory in 1675. As a result it would be the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian. Greenwich has long been a major center for astronomical study and research.

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The National Maritime Museum collection includes more than 2 million items. It comprises the most important holdings in the world on the history of Britain in its role as a sea faring nation. It contains one of the most impressive collection of art both Dutch and British from the 17th century.

Its British portraits collection is only exceeded by the National Portrait Gallery. It has some of the most famous portraits of Captain James Cook, Horatio Nelson, and many other individual that have an association with the sea.

The vast collection includes cartography, models of ships and plans, navigational and scientific instruments, as well as historical items for astronomy and time keeping. It has some very unusual items as well, like the coat worn by Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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The museum also possesses the world's largest maritime historical reference library with over 100,000 books including 8,000 rare books that date from 1474 to 1850. These along with 20,000 pamphlets and 20,000 periodicals can all be found in the Caird Archive and Library.

The Museum itself sits in the buildings that had been previously occupied by the Royal Hospital School until 1934 within 200 acres of Greenwich Royal Park. To see what the museum has to offer can easily take an entire day so plan accordingly.

Find out more about the National Maritime Museum via their website: http://www.rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum