Famous expeditions

From Shackleton's Antarctic adventures and Cook's travels in the South Pacific, to Franklin's search for the North-West Passage and Christian's infamous mutiny on the Bounty, we delve into some of history's most famous expeditions. Read about the journeys that ended in triumph and those that were doomed to fail.


If, like me, you've enjoyed reading about Darwin recently then you'll know that this year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. But you may not have read that here, at the National Maritime Museum, we hold many important artifacts relating to Darwin and his works including some superb watercolours showing Darwin's expedition by, the official artist on board the Beagle, Conrad Martens.


Join us for this free Caird Library research seminar from Daniel Simpson, Caird short-term fellow. Members of the Museum, adult learners, independent researchers and members of the public are all welcome to attend the seminars. No booking is necessary!

Commemorative medal depicting Sir Francis Chichester (1901-1972) and "Gypsy Moth IV".jpg

Sir Francis Chichester (1901–1972) was a British sailor and aviator, famed for being the first person to single-handedly sail around the world making only one stop.


English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) developed groundbreaking theories on evolution following a five-year expedition on board HMS Beagle, 1831–36.


Who was Sir Francis Drake? Discover the life of the Tudor sailor and privateer, famous for sailing around the world and fighting the Spanish Armada.

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Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) was a Portuguese explorer who is credited with masterminding the first expedition to circumnavigate the world.

Follow the key events in Captain Cook’s life of adventure from a simple start to global fame and a grizzly death.

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Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer, who made three expeditions to the continent, most famously in 1914 on the Endurance.


Science and secret missions in the South Seas; innovations, discoveries and derring do. Cook’s first great voyage quickly became the stuff of legend.

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In the early 20th century the race was on to reach the South Pole. Robert Falcon Scott led the first British expedition.