National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is the world’s largest maritime museum, filled with inspirational stories of discovery and adventure at sea.


Since earliest times Greenwich has had associations with the sea and navigation. It was a landing place for the Romans; Henry VIII lived here; the navy has roots on the waterfront; and Charles II founded the Royal Observatory in 1675 for “finding the longitude of places”. The home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian since 1884, Greenwich has long been a centre for astronomical study, while navigators across the world have set their clocks according to its time of day.

Museum beginnings

The Museum was created by the National Maritime Act of 1934  based on the generous donations of Sir James Caird (1864–1954) and is situated within  200 acres of Greenwich Royal Park. King George VI formally opened the Museum on 27 April 1937 when his daughter Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II accompanied him for the journey along the Thames from London.

The National Maritime Museum includes the Queen’s House (part of the historic park-and-palace landscape of “Maritime Greenwich”, which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997) and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.


The Museum is open 362 days a year and in 2010–11 welcomed nearly 2.5 million visits from around the world; the website also attracted over 10 million users.

Entrance to the Museum is free, although there are admission charges for temporary exhibitions. Visitors will discover stories about Britain’s encounter with the world at sea through the many galleries. They recall the romance of the great ocean liners, the history of trade across the Atlantic and the impact of the East India Company on British culture and more. See Nelson’s uniform from the Battle of Trafalgar and Prince Frederick’s beautiful gilded barge whilst children can shoot down a dastardly pirate ship in a new interactive game and experience a ship simulator.

The NMM hosts free and ticketed events, from lectures by curators, music nights to seasonal and family celebrations.

The Museum Café sits just beneath The Brasserie.