Arrrgh. A life on the ocean waves has a certain ring of romance about it. Standing on the shiny, rather rain-soaked, deck of one of Britain’s most famous seafaring vessels, the Cutty Sark, you can’t help but wonder of the many adventures that might have taken place on board during its illustrious 143-year history. Okay, so it was a commercial clipper (as opposed to a pirate ship), transporting tea, wool and buffalo horns as cargo, but it is also a magnificent testimony to the glorious bygone days of sail, as it circumnavigated the globe many times over. Lovingly restored after the ravages of a fire in 2007, the Cutty Sark is now looking spick and span, with its cabins and captain’s quarters positively gleaming.
As well as reading up on the fascinating merchant history of the clipper – one of the fastest of its time – children can enjoy taking a turn at the wheel, or having a cheeky kip in the bunks. There’s also a rather poignant commemorative plaque for one of the ship’s captains, whose crew mutinied after a murder at sea, and the captain, realising his career was ruined, committed suicide by stepping off the ship’s stern.
All this talk of mutiny and uprising is sure to whet your appetite, which can then be handsomely satiated at the Even Keel Café, situated within the Sammy Ofer Gallery. From this lower ground floor level, you can admire the splendour of the magnificent 963-tonne vessel from beneath its belly, with the stunning glass atrium above.
There is hearty fare on offer at the Even Keel, where we tucked into delicious Fish Stew that would do any sailor proud, and Tomato Pasta, followed by a rather cheeky Chocolate Chilli Cake and Jude’s Ice Cream.
As befits the ship’s history, you must partake of a cuppa char – why not try the special Cutty Sark-inspired Twinings tea, along with a fragrant Cutty Sark cupcake, with a neat little motif with sails in full bloom, natch n
Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich London SE10 9HT. Tel: 020 8312 6608
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