Cutty Sark

Renovation and ship history

On 25 April 2012, Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, officially reopened the Cutty Sark following an extensive conservation project, with major support of £25m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and contributions from the public and private donors.

The re-opening marks the culmination of six years' work and one of the most complex conservation projects ever undertaken on a historic ship which was damaged by a fire.

In May 2007, a fire caused around £10m worth of damage to the Cutty Sark. The ship had been undergoing conservation work when the fire struck.


The ship has been raised 11 feet (3.3 metres) into the air, relieving the keel of the weight of the ship and preserving her unique shape.

For the first time, visitors can walk underneath the ship and view the elegant lines of her hull.

The space also showcases Cutty Sark's extensive collection of over 80 ships' figureheads, never before displayed in its entirety on the site.

The ship's weather deck and rigging have been painstakingly restored to their original specification, with 11 miles (17.5 km) of rigging supporting the masts. Below deck visitors can explore Cutty Sark's rich and varied history through new interactive exhibitions.

In 2012, the Cutty Sark won The British Guild of Travel Writers Award for 'outstanding new tourism project'. 

China Seas

Launched in 1869 from Dumbarton, Scotland, Cutty Sark visited most major ports around the world. She carried cargo ranging from the finest teas to gunpowder and from whisky to buffalo horns.

Cutty Sark made her name as the fastest ship of her era during her time in the wool trade.

Many of the tea clippers that sailed the China Seas during the nineteenth century lasted for only a few years and only seven saw the twentieth century.

By the mid 1920s Cutty Sark was the only one still afloat, and from 1938 she became a training ship for the Incorporated Thames Training College at Greenhithe.

In December 1954, due to the great efforts of The Duke of Edinburgh, Cutty Sark came to Greenwich where she became, and remains, a memorial to the great days of sail and to all those who served in the merchant service.

Contact Cutty Sark

Closed 25 to 26 December. See the Cutty Sark website for further information about opening times.

King William Walk,
London SE10 9HT

020 8312 6608