Essential Information

National Maritime Museum
Price Free

The state barge was built for Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was the eldest son of George II and father of George III.

The barge is nearly 20 metres long and was powered by 21 oarsman – you can still see the original oars today.

It was first launched in 1732 on the south bank of the Thames opposite Whitehall. On its first journey it accompanied by two other barges – one just to provide musical entertainment.

After Frederick’s death in 1751, the barge was used by successive monarchs. Its last appearance afloat was in 1849, when Prince Albert and two of his children attended the opening of the Coal Exchange.

Prince Frederick’s barge is notable for its ornate carvings, gilded with 24-carat gold leaf. The barge was designed by the architect and painter William Kent and built by John Hall.

Choose your tickets

National Maritime Museum

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Access to all free galleries and activities
  • Exposure: Lives at Sea exhibition
  • Paid exhibitions not included
Free entry
Book online