National Maritime Museum


Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF


020 7222 1234



Opening times:

Daily 10.00–17.00
Easter opening (28 Mar–11 April): 10.00–18.00

How to get there:

Cannon Street (rail)
Bank or Tower Gateway (DLR)
Jubilee or Northern Lines (Tube) to London Bridge, then change on to direct above-ground train

Entry fee:


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Update from National Maritime Museum

The collections comprise about 2.48 million items, many on loan to museums elsewhere in Britain. The public galleries at Greenwich display a thematically arranged selection and the remainder are accessible for public interest and research in various ways. The majority of the NMM's small-boat collection is on display at the new National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, at Falmouth.

The Museum has the most important holdings in the world on the history of Britain at sea, including maritime art (both British and 17th-century Dutch), cartography, manuscripts including official public records, ship models and plans, scientific and navigational instruments, time-keeping and astronomy (based at the Observatory), and in many other categories.

Its British portraits collection is only exceeded in size by the National Portrait Gallery and its holdings related to Nelson and Cook, among many other individuals, are unrivalled. It has the world's largest maritime historical reference library (100,000 volumes) including books dating back to the 15th century.

Greenwich began to develop as a cultural visitor destination with Sir James Thornhill's completion of the Painted Hall (1707–26) in what is now the Old Royal Naval College (founded in 1694 as the Royal Hospital for Seamen). From 1823 a 'National Gallery of Naval Art', eventually including 300 portraits, paintings and artefacts, was created in the Hall, the first of its kind. A separate Naval Museum was also established in the Hospital buildings when it became the Royal Naval College - the 'Navy's university', 1873–1998.

After its foundation in 1910, the Society for Nautical Research (SNR) independently developed the aim of founding a 'national naval and nautical museum'. In 1927–28, following a public appeal organised by the Society, one of its wealthy members Sir James Caird (1864–1954) purchased the A.G.H. Macpherson Collection of maritime prints - over 11,000 items - with this in view. He also purchased the ship models from the training ship Mercury, with many other items being bought by him or otherwise donated.

All were vested in a temporary Trustee board, 1927–34, replaced by permanent NMM Trustees on passing of the 1934 Act. The contents of the Naval Museum in the College and other official material were also transferred to the care of the NMM Trustees under the 1934 Act, the Greenwich Hospital Collection from the Painted Hall being added by separate agreement in 1936.

The Museum's first Director from 1934 to his death was Professor (Sir) Geoffrey Callender (1875–1946), formerly Professor of History at the Royal Naval College, who was also both Secretary and Treasurer of the SNR and the main intellectual and organizational force behind the Museum's creation.

In 1933 the Royal Hospital School at Greenwich moved to Suffolk, vacating the Queen's House and related buildings which it had occupied since 1806, originally as the separate Royal Naval Asylum but combining with the 18th-century Greenwich Hospital School from 1821. The House was restored by the Ministry of Works and the flanking wings - added for the School between 1807–76, began a long period of museum conversion, largely at Sir James Caird's expense: this was only completed in 1951.

All the Museum buildings have subsequently been upgraded at various times and a full modern redevelopment of the main galleries, centering on what is now Neptune Court, was completed in 1999.

On 14 July 2011, the National Maritime Museum opened the Sammy Ofer Wing, a transformative £36.5m capital project, the largest development in the National Maritime Museum’s history and a catalyst for the organisation to change completely the way it presents its galleries, exhibitions and public programmes.

The building gives the Museum a new main entrance from Greenwich Park, enhancing its connections with the park itself, the Royal Observatory, and the rest of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

The Museum is also unique in the architectural importance of its main buildings, the Queen's House in particular being the keystone of the historic park-and-palace landscape of 'Maritime Greenwich', which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

The Museum is funded by Government with additional income derived from trading activity and sponsorship. Entry to all Museum sites at Greenwich is free but charges are made for some special exhibitions. The Museum's objectives and targets are outlined in its current Funding Agreement.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


National Maritime Museum
Wimbledon Windmill Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
Wellington Arch (English Heritage)
Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)
Tate Modern
Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
St Bride’s Crypt Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
Ragged School Museum
The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery
National Army Museum
Musical Museum
World Rugby Museum
Museum of the Order of St John
Museum No. 1 (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
Marianne North Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
Mall Galleries
Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
Kenwood House (English Heritage)
Kensington Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Keats House
Jewish Museum
Jewel Tower (English Heritage)
Jerwood Space
Imperial War Museum
ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts
Hunterian Museum
Horniman Museum
HMS Belfast (Imperial War Museum)
Hayward Gallery
Handel House Museum
Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Ham House (National Trust)
Guildhall Art Gallery
Guards Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy
Geffrye Museum of the Home
Fulham Palace
Freud Museum
Foundling Museum
Forty Hall & Estate
Florence Nightingale Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum
Fenton House (National Trust)
Fashion and Textile Museum
Fan Museum
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Eltham Palace (English Heritage)
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dr Johnson’s House
Dennis Severs' House
Danson House
Cutty Sark
Contemporary Applied Arts
Chiswick House (English Heritage)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chartered Insurance Institute Museum
Charles Dickens Museum
Carlyle’s House (National Trust)
Camden Arts Centre
Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum (Imperial War Museum)
Burgh House - The Hampstead Museum
Buckingham Palace
Brunel Engine House
Brunei Gallery SOAS
British Optical Association Museum
The British Museum
The British Library
Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee
Black Cultural Archives
Museum of Childhood (Victoria & Albert Museum)
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Benjamin Franklin House
Ben Uri Gallery - The London Jewish Museum of Art
Barbican Art Gallery
Banqueting House (Historic Royal Palaces)
Bankside Gallery
Bank of England Museum
All Hallows Undercroft Museum
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