Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude


11 July 2014–4 January 2015


  • National Maritime Museum
  • Special Exhibitions Gallery
10.00-17.00 daily (open till 20.00 Thursdays)
  • Adults
  • General
£8.50 combined adult ticket includes entry to Royal Observatory and Longitude Punk'd exhibition
Event type:

Now open: major new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum

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      Proudly sponsored by

United Technologies



To mark the 300th anniversary of the passing of the Longitude Act in July 1714, this landmark exhibition tells the extraordinary story of the race to determine longitude (east-west position) at sea, helping to solve the problem of navigation and saving seafarers from terrible fates including shipwreck and starvation.

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A must see for lovers of science and ingenious inventions

Follow the quest to solve the world’s biggest challenge and the battle for the huge rewards of up to £20,000. Explore the rivalries and ingenious inventions of some of the greatest minds of the 17th and 18th centuries including Galileo, Isaac Newton, Captain Cook and John Harrison. Centuries later, the science they developed still influences critical areas of modern life, from satnav and mobile phones to international time zones.

Longitude Act and exhibition highlights

Exhibition highlights include the original Longitude Act of 1714 on public display for the first time ever, and a rare opportunity to see all five of John Harrison’s now legendary timekeepers together, the first to allow accurate timekeeping at sea. Also look out for stunning ship models and elegant marine fashions of the time.

Longitude events season

Go behind the scenes of Ships, Clocks & Stars with our curators and get up-close and personal with some of the Museum’s collections, or bring your under-1s for a Baby-friendly gallery tour. It's all part of our Longitude season.

Recommended Read

Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude

This beautifully illustrated book is the official publication of the exhibition and unravels in detail the stories behind how the longitude problem was solved.

Take home a memento

Treat yourself to a Longitude souvenir. Enjoy a bit to eat at the Museum Café

Enjoy a bite to eat

Try the Museum Café for a selection of handmade British food from salads and sandwiches to delicious afternoon teas and home-baked cakes and pastries.

What's on show

Harrison's H1 timekeeper
A rare opportunity to see all five of Harrison's celebrated timekeepers together

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Location spotlight

Sammy Ofer Wing (location spotlight)

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