Cutty Sark, London days out review for families
In a nutshell
An interesting, educational experience, learning more about the world’s fastest tea clipper. But not ideal for preschoolers.
What we tested
- Fun for kids
3.0A star rating of 3.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.0A star rating of 3.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Iconic London attraction with a great interactive element, impressive restoration work, buggy-friendly.
- Quite expensive, you’re not going to be there for longer than an hour or two.
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COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Cutty Sark's website before travelling or booking.
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When we visited:
What’s the Cutty Sark like since Covid-19?
- Guests should book tickets online in advance wherever possible. Timed tickets ensure that visits are spread out throughout the day and capacities are managed effectively.
- Guests must have a ticket to enter any of the sites, including the free National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House
- Limited tickets will be available if guests turn up on the day, but to guarantee entry it is strongly advised booking in advance
- Mask wearing is recommended at all indoor venues and enclosed spaces
- Guests are asked to keep a safe distance from other groups and be courteous to visitors and staff, especially in smaller gallery spaces
- Guests can pay by card at the shops and cafés. Protective screens will remain at tills and contactless payments are encouraged
- Enhanced cleaning regimes will continue, and hand sanitiser will be available throughout the museums. All toilets and facilities will be open
- One-way visitor routes will be continued. The National Maritime Museum however will no longer be one-way: guests can choose which galleries and exhibitions they wish to visit first
What age and family is Cutty Sark, London best for:
- Best for: Children aged 6 years to adult
- Still good fun for: children aged 4 to 5, and babies in pushchairs
How much does it cost?
- Online prices: Adults £18, children £9
- Combined saver tickets: combine your visit with a trip to the Royal Observatory and the Maritime Museum for extra value
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Cutty Sark?
Yes – at the time of publication, Smartsave were offering 20% off Cutty Sark and 24-hour river pass tickets and Picniq had 15% off tickets. National Rail also have 2-4-1 offers for some tickets.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
On board, you enter (and exit) through a small gift-shop so brace yourself for pester power. There is a café but given the length of time you’ll spend here you probably won’t need to stop for food and drink unless you really want to.
How long will we spend at Cutty Sark, London?
We only spent 1-2 hours at Cutty Sark, although older children (aged 6 years and up) might find more to hold their interest
For more London fun, take a look at our roundup of the best family days out in London.
What does Cutty Sark offer for families?
Cutty Sark, a celebrated historic sailing ship and fastest of its time, offers an intriguing insight into life as a seafaring Victorian. Older children and ship enthusiasts will be fascinated, although younger children may find less to hold their attention.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for families are:
- The ship itself in all its restored glory – as you approach, it is a magnificent sight and my 4 year old was wowed by it. It really has been restored beautifully, even after two fires
- There are lots of interesting facts to read and listen to, which will appeal to adults and fact-loving children aged 6 and up. Some documents are on display, as well as a moving bench to let you experience what the ship would feel like while it was in motion
- The interactive elements are fun: when we got to the top deck, we were approached by an actor playing the ship’s chef
- He gathered around lots of families and entertained the children with some light facts about the clipper. Seeing the sleeping bunks, where the cook worked, and other facts really brings the whole thing alive
- We were then taken on a little tour of the top deck, hearing more facts about the ship. It was very good, and by far the best part for us
What’s it like for younger children?
If your children are toddlers, this might not be the attraction for you. There isn’t much to entertain little ones, so if yours is anything like mine, they will run up and down the length of the ship, taking no notice of the exhibition around them. While the staff are very friendly, it means you won't get as much out of the visit as if you attended with an older, more engaged child. My 4 year old did enjoy it, but his attention-span didn’t quite allow me to enjoy it.
The live, actor-led interactive part is brilliant and you can feel what it was like to live and work aboard Cutty Sark. But if you have younger children (preschoolers), this is an attraction you should wait a few years to show them.
What you need to know before you visit Cutty Sark:
- Buy your tickets online to save money
- Check out the other attractions nearby to see if you fancy a full day out in the area with a multi-ticket
- On the way there, talk to your kids about clipper ships and boats in general, and what it might be like to live aboard a ship for months at a time. My 4 year old was interested in hearing about the tea transportation.
Was it pushchair friendly?
There are lifts to every level, so you could easily push a buggy around when it isn’t so busy. You wouldn’t want to when it’s crowded, but there is a buggy park.
Food and drink at Cutty Sark, London:
There is a cafe downstairs, selling mainly cakes and tea, with a big and airy seating area. We didn’t try it, but it looked good. You’ll find more choices, from hot meals to a children’s menu, at the nearby National Maritime Museum cafes.
Can you take a picnic?
We packed a picnic and ate it in Greenwich Park, which is just a short walk away from Cutty Sark
What are the toilets like?
The toilets are downstairs, in the same area as the cafe. They were clean, with a separate baby-change facility and disabled access.
How well does it cater for disabled visitors?
- Limited pre-booked spaces are available for disabled visitors in the museum car park
- The whole venue is wheelchair accessible as there are lifts to each level
- See the Cutty Sark website for more information
Opening dates and times:
Cutty Sark is open daily 10am to 5pm apart from 24-26 December. Last admission 4.15pm
How to get to Cutty Sark, London:
Cutty Sark is in Greenwich, East London, and public transport is your best bet
- It can be reached easily by rail or river
- Just 8 minutes from central London by rail or 20 minutes by DLR
- Make the journey more fun and take the river bus
- If you do drive, parking in Greenwich is limited, particularly at weekends
- Look for the off-street pay-and-display car parks in Greenwich Park run by the Royal Parks
Do you have to pay for parking?
Yes. There is a secure public car park at the nearby National Maritime Museum with around 90 spaces. Charges are from £3 for up to 1 hour, through to £15 for all day.
Worth a long car journey?
Unless you’re a boat fanatic (and so plan to spend more time here than average) I’d say it isn’t worth the long car journey. However, there are other attractions close by to make it worth a full day out
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Cutty Sark?
London has plenty of accommodation options for families, including:
- The Novotel London Greenwich, just 15 minutes on foot from Cutty Sark, with smart modern rooms and a restaurant
- A 20-minute walk away is DoubleTree by Hilton London Greenwich – if your children aren’t impressed with the stylish décor, they’ll definitely get on board with the warm chocolate chip cookie dished out while you check in
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on HomeAway.co.uk
- Find family-friendly hotel deals near Cutty Sark on Booking.com
Check out our round up of the best family-friendly hotels in London.
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
Cutty Sark is in Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find other attractions including the National Maritime Museum. Also close by is the O2 (which you can climb with children aged 9 and upwards), and the Museum of London Docklands.
Cutty Sark is an immersive way to find out what life was like on a clipper ship. But it’s not great for toddlers: running around after one meant I missed a lot of the interesting bits. My 4 year old quite enjoyed it, but this is really a place to visit with older children.
Visit Cutty Sark’s website
Read more reviews of Cutty Sark on TripAdvisor
Intro to you:
I’m a London mum to a 4 year old and a 20 month old