Essential Information

National Maritime Museum
Price Free

Understanding the Arctic and Antarctica is key to understanding our changing planet.

As global temperatures rise, ice melts and sea levels rise. What happens in the frozen north and south affects us all.

An ice arch in Antarctica with people looking on from a small motorboat

But this isn't just a story of what is happening now. Ice contains a record of our climate stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. Digging into that ancient past can help us understand what the future holds for our planet.

RRS Sir David Attenborough is the UK's newest polar research ship. This is a state-of-the-art vessel, capable of breaking through the ice and sending submersibles down to explore the ocean depths.

For months at a time, the ship is also home to dozens of scientists and seafarers. What's it like to live and work on board?

Poles Apart: Explore the World of RRS Sir David Attenborough is a brand new gallery at the National Maritime Museum that aims to shine a light on the challenges facing our polar regions, and the people striving to make sense of them.

Visit the National Maritime Museum for free, and travel to the icy frontiers of modern polar science.

Book your free visit

"Never a dull moment in the Antarctic" 

Captain Will Whatley speaks about what it's like to take charge of the UK's leading science vessel. Tap the arrow to the right for more films.

"We're like a family on board"

Electronics engineer Carson McAfee develops and maintain the scientific instruments that will help the ship investigate the polar regions.

"The Antarctic summer plays tricks on you"

The almost 24-hour daylight can confuse even seasoned polar crew member Jeremy Robst.

"We have the most advanced research ship in the world"

Scientist Rob Larter looks back on how scientists and marine architects combined to design the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Plan your visit

Tickets and Opening

Free entry

Open daily


  • Greenwich Station
  • Cutty Sark DLR
  • Maze Hill Station
  • Greenwich Pier

Main image by Jamie Anderson courtesy of British Antarctic Survey

Choose your tickets

National Maritime Museum

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Access to all free galleries and activities
  • Paid exhibitions not included
Free entry
Book online

Member tickets

  • Free and fast-track Museums entry
  • Priority booking
  • Access using your membership card
Membership card number required
A father and son look through a porthole on the main deck of historic ship Cutty Sark

Become a Member

  • Unlimited entry all year
  • Royal Observatory
  • Cutty Sark
  • Planetarium Shows
  • Special exhibitions
Direct Debit One-off
Individual: £50 Individual: £60
Family: from £60 Family: from £70