This is billed as the world’s largest maritime museum. It was certainly large enough to knacker me out well before I had the chance to go through all the rooms!
It covers Britain’s seafaring past, so there are exhibitions relating to polar expeditions, the New World, trading routes and sea battles. I loved the maps in the Atlantic Worlds section, which showed the areas which were yet to be explored, such as most of the Western USA (marked on the map as “Parts Unknown”).
In the Explorers section, I was shocked at the life-size replica of the James Caird, in which Shackleton and his crew travelled 800 miles across stormy seas. It was originally a lifeboat and there was absolutely no shelter at all.
There is a specific room dedicated to Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson (he of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square). You can see the uniform coat that he was wearing when he was shot by a French sniper at the Battle of Trafalgar – the bullet hole in its left shoulder is clearly visible. And after all these years, I finally know where the battle was fought!
Entry to the museum is free.over 4 years ago