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The Cutty Sark

2 Greenwich Church St Greenwich London SE10 9BG

Launched in 1869, and the last of the great clipper ships that raced the high seas to deliver tea and other precious cargoes at record speed, the Cutty Sark has resided in its dry dock on the Greenwich waterfront for just under 50 years, and has recently reopened after five years and a £50 million restoration. The historic ship suffered a devastating fire on the night of 21 May 2007, but restoration of the ship was already underway when the fire struck, with the result that fewer of the Cutty Sark's original features were lost than originally feared, and it has now been hauled into the 21st century with a spanking new visitor centre and a set of state-of-the-art facilities. The jury is still out on whether this is a success or not, and certainly the glass surrounds do little for the look of the ship from a distance. But the raising of the ship on struts means you can get underneath and walk the length of the magnificent hull, taking in an exhibition of figureheads at one end and having a cup of tea and some nautically-themed food at the other, with a number of listening posts pertaining to the history of the ship in between: very impressive. On the ship itself, the cargo deck is full of tea chests to illustrate to the cargo the clippers were racing to deliver, while upstairs, on the 'tween deck, there are lots of artefacts pertaining to the clipper's other major cargo, wool from Australia, along with a gizmo that mimics the steering of the ship through the prevailing ocean winds (see how long it takes you). Out on the weather deck you can visit the master's cabin and saloon and the various comparatively luxurious cabins of his officers nearby. The crew (surprisingly few of them, for such a large vessel) slept in the bunk houses further along the deck, and unlike their superiors would have had to negotiate their way to the outside 'heads' near the prow of the ship – an experience that might be easier to imagine without the looming glass lift that's been plonked on the deck nearby.

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