Cutty Sark

Once the fastest clipper in existence, Cutty Sark is now a museum ship dedicated to 19th-century naval and merchant practices.

Cutty Sark is a museum ship stationed on a custom-built dry dock at Greenwich consisting of the world’s last surviving original extreme clipper. “Clipper” is the term used to refer to 19th-century merchant sailing vessels, whose primary characteristics are their speed, long and narrow hulls, and sharp bows to cut through the waves.

Cutty Sark is famous not only for its seniority but for its brilliant design. The ship is in fact considered the pinnacle or clipper ship design. At the time of its making, it was one of the fastest ships in existence and held the record time in bringing wool from Australia to England for 10 years.

The name Cutty Sark is derived from the famous Scottish poem Tam O’Shanter by Robert Burns. The reason for this is not clear, although it is believed to reflect the first owner’s Scottish patriotism and love for the poet, since another ship in his fleet was named after another one of Burns’ poems.

The story tells the misadventures of Tam, a drunk farmer who is chased by witches and warlocks after shouting appreciatively at one of them for wearing a “cutty sark” - a short nightdress in archaic Scottish. The name choice is particularly interesting for a ship, considering the fact that witches were thought to be unable to cross bodies of water. The belief itself is referenced in the conclusion of the very same poem.

Cutty Sark in London, interior
You’ll be able to visit not just the inside of the clipper, but also its underside. The hull, pictured here, is sheathed in a copper and zinc alloy.

Although the ship was initially built for the China tea trade, in its career it was also employed to transport coal and wool. By the end of the 19th century, with new improvements in steam technology and the discovery of the Suez Canal, steamships had replaced clippers. Cutty Sark was thus bought and sold several times, acting as a cargo ship and then a training ship before being instituted as a museum ship.

Even for those that had never heard of the clipper, the name Cutty Sark might ring a bell. This is because the ship gave its name to a brand of blended Scotch whisky created in 1923 and still sold today. On the whisky’s label, you’ll see an illustration of the eponymous ship.

Since Cutty Sark is actually the authentic clipper, rather than a replica, on your visit, you’ll be able to see much of the original fabric and parts from up close, as well as an approximation of the original clipper arrangement.


King William Walk, Royal Borough of Greenwich, London SE10 9HT.

Cutty Sark is located southeast of Central London, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, just between the River Thames’ bend around Isle of Dogs and Greenwich Park.

Even though Cutty Sark is between London’s travel zones 2 and 3, so a bit out of the city centre, you will find quite a few attractions nearby, all part of the Royal Museums Greenwich. They are the National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House, and of course the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

Tickets and price

Royal Museum Greenwich advises that Cutty Sark visitors buy their timed entries in advance. You can still get your tickets on the day if you wish to do so, but you might have to queue in order to enter. You can get your tickets directly on the Cutty Sark website .

Remember that Cutty Sark is also included in the London Pass and it is also often among the 2FOR1 offers. The first grants you free entry to the museum and the second gives you two tickets for the price of one.

Adult Students, young visitors (16-24), visitors w/ disabilities Children (4-15) Children (0-3), carers
£18.00 £12.00 £9.00 free


Cutty Sark is open every day between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Visitors are allowed to enter until 45 minutes before closure, at 4:15 pm.

Day Opening time Last admission Closure
Mon-Sun 10:00 am 4:15 pm 5:00 pm


To reach Cutty Sark you have three public transport options. The means of transport that will take you the closest to the museum are the DLR (Cutty Sark station) and the bus. Lines 129, 177, 188, 199, 286, and 386 will all leave you close to Cutty Sark.

Alternatively, you can also take National Rail trains. Lines Thameslink and Southeastern will both leave you at Maze Hill, just west of Cutty Sark.

You can find a summary of the public transport options in the table below.

Method Underground Bus National Rail Trains
Lines DLR 129, 177, 188, 199, 286, 386 Thameslink, Southeastern
Stops Cutty Sark - Maze Hill

You can obviously take a cab to get to Cutty Sark, but keep in mind that taxi fares tend to be quite expensive in London and traffic is normally slow. A cab drive from the city centre to Cutty Sark should take around 45 minutes.

Nearby sights

Old Royal Naval College - 40 m (130 feet) east, 1-minute walk.

National Maritime Museum - 450 m (0.3 miles) southeast, 6-minute walk.

Queen’s House - 600 m (0.4 miles) southeast, 7-minute walk.

Greenwich Observatory - 1 km (0.6 miles) south, 15-minute walk.

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Cutty Sark