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.


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 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.

"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

Where is the Poles Apart gallery?

The gallery is located in the National Maritime Museum, in a dedicated space right next to the Great Map at the heart of the Museum.

Tickets and prices

Poles Apart is free for all visitors to the National Maritime Museum. We recommend booking your tickets online in advance to guarantee entry.

Book now

Plan your visit

Getting here

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is a quick, easy journey by train or DLR from central London. Find more travel information, maps and public transport guides here.

Facilities and access

Find out useful information about facilities at our museums including cloakrooms, baby change and accessibility, and information for visitors with disabilities coming to any of our sites.

Find out more

Make the most of your visit

There's loads to explore at the National Maritime Museum.

If you're interested in the polar regions, don't miss the Polar Worlds gallery containing relics from centuries of Arctic and Antarctic exploration.

Special exhibitions now open include the free photography exhibition Exposure: Lives at Sea and the landmark Canaletto's Venice Revisited.

If you need a break for refreshments, the Great Map Café is right next to the Poles Apart gallery, or you can head to the Parkside Café for fantastic views of Greenwich Park and beyond.

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
  • Special exhibitions free in 2024
Free entry
Book online

Member tickets

  • Unlimited free entry
  • Priority booking and exclusive events
  • Access using your membership card
Membership card number required

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