/ London Guide/ London Attractions
For centuries, London has been a maritime
city with ships of all shapes and sizes moored along its banks. With most maritime trade moved downstream to
places like Tilbury, there are fewer boats to be seen – but these include some
stunning historic vessels well worth visiting.
Book Park City Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel
and begin your maritime tour with a look at a replica one of the most famous
ships in English history – the Golden Hinde.
Built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, it was the first English
ship to sail all around the world, crossing the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian
oceans before returning home to London. The ship’s captain was a legendary
seafarer – Sir Francis Drake. His arrival in port was greeted with great
joy by the Queen and her court, especially since the ship was loaded with large
quantities of gold, silver and jewels.
The Golden Hinde is moored
permanently at St Mary Overie Dock, just beside another famous replica building
from Elizabethan times – the Globe Theatre. Many Elizabethan seafarers would
undoubtedly have dropped in at the Globe to enjoy one of William Shakespeare’s
plays. Go onboard the Golden Hinde and
chat to the costumed sailors who will tell you tales of adventure on the high
seas, as well as letting you load cannon and discover how to steer the ship.
You can also read: Hidden
London Exhibition – London Transport Museum
Travel quickly forward in time to the dark
days of the Second World War with a visit to another historic vessel moored
nearby – HMS Belfast. A massive
grey cruiser, most of its nine decks are located deep under the surface of the
Thames. Explore the echoing corridors,
the cabins and the officers quarters as well as the large rooms housing the
massive engines which powered the vessel across the seas. Take time to imagine what it would been like
living on board this ship, constantly under threat from submarines, enemy ships
and aircraft. HMS Belfast survived
countless battles and is now the only cruiser of its kind still remaining
anywhere in the world.
Head over to Tower Pier for a short
ferry ride down the Thames to Greenwich. Thousands of naval officers were
trained in the Old Naval College, which is now open to the public to explore.
Just outside the college, in the harbour, is another very famous ship – the Cutty
Sark. A graceful, sleek ship it
virtually flew through the water en route to China and back. This was once the fastest ship on water and
you can now see the cabins where the sailors hung their hammocks, the hold
where precious cargo was stored plus the captains cabin. Afterwards,
stop for a cup of tea in the nearby café and enjoy the brew that made the
Cutty Sark so famous.
For richer experience, try booking hotels near Kensington to avoid
spending fare on travelling to reach most of the popular tourist attractions.