Explore the world of RRS Sir David Attenborough at the National Maritime Museum
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 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.
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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.
Electronics engineer Carson McAfee develops and maintain the scientific instruments that will help the ship investigate the polar regions.
The almost 24-hour daylight can confuse even seasoned polar crew member Jeremy Robst.
Scientist Rob Larter looks back on how scientists and marine architects combined to design the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
Find out more about the objects and stories featured in the new 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.
Poles Apart is free for all visitors to the National Maritime Museum. We recommend booking your tickets online in advance to guarantee entry.
Plan your visit
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.
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
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.
Main image by Jamie Anderson courtesy of British Antarctic Survey