The National Maritime Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the world.

A trove of maritime treasures, we have picked our top things to see during your visit. 

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A mother and her child play on the Great Map in the National Maritime Museum. The mother has a sailor hat on

Find yourself on the Great Map

Right at the heart of the National Maritime Museum, the Great Map is an ideal starting point for your National Maritime Museum adventure.

Many of the main galleries lead off from this huge glass-domed space, or you could simply stop and stand on the map itself. Performance space, playground, place to relax – head to the Great Map for a chance to get your bearings.

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Chill out in the Polar Worlds gallery

Discover tales of polar exploration, and learn more about the indigenous communities that live in the Arctic and Antarctic.

In such a crucial time for climate change, come and discover more about this incredible region.

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Milky Way over a lake with rowing boats

Journey through the universe

Astronomy Photographer of the Year is an annual competition featuring the world’s greatest space photography. Photographers from across the globe compete to take home the prestigious title.

Now it's your chance to see their spellbinding work.

Adi Yet the drua in the Pacific Encounters gallery

See a real Fijian canoe

Fijian canoes, known as drua, can only be built by members of the community who inherited the right to use their skills from their ancestors. See this one in the Pacific Encounters gallery, where you can discover the traditions, histories and cultures of the Pacific. Learn about encounters between Europeans and the Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa (people of the Pacific Ocean), and the legacies still felt today.


Discover Turner’s largest painting

JMW Turner’s The Battle of Trafalgar is the artist's largest work - and one of his most controversial. Depicting the famous naval battle, the painting hangs its own dedicated gallery. 

Join a fantastic free festival

Vibrant Diwali celebrations, Lunar New Year lion dances, Windrush Day commemorations – the National Maritime Museum plays host to some truly memorable events throughout the year.

From major festivals to inspiring workshops, make sure you check our what's on listings to see what you could take part in.

See what's on

Two young children play in the family-friendly AHOY! Gallery at the National Maritime Museum

Explore the AHOY! Children's Gallery

Little sailors will have lots of fun in this playful and immersive space for under-7s.

Stoke the boiler of a steamship, buy and sell fish in the marketplace, and make new friends in the interactive boatyard. Expect pirates, polar stories and plenty of adventures.

Come and see

Explore Britain's newest polar research ship

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.

That's where RRS Sir David Attenborough comes in. The state-of-the-art vessel is capable of breaking through the ice and sending submersibles down to explore the ocean depths.

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.

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Take a photo of the Ship in a Bottle

Yinka Shonibare's richly decorated replica of Nelson's ship HMS Victory is one of the most photographed artworks in London. But how did it get in that bottle in the first place? Try to work out the solution when you spy it outside the Museum café.

Find your connection to the sea

Ever felt the pull of the ocean, the tug of the tide? The hundreds of objects in Sea Things may help you understand why.

This gallery delights, tantalises and entertains with its focus on quirky, poignant and unexpected objects. It includes everything from a coat hook made from an albatross beak to a flotilla of ship models, talking sculptures, objects you can touch, and even a pocket watch worn by a victim of the Titanic disaster.

Come and see


Choose your figurehead

Figureheads are carved wooden sculptures that traditionally sat on the prows of sailing ships.

With over 230 figureheads in the collection, including Medusa from the HMS Implacable, there's a wide range of creatures and styles available. Which one is your favourite?

Marvel at Nelson’s jacket

The jacket that Nelson was wearing when he was shot and fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar is on display for free at the National Maritime Museum's Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery. If you look closely you can even see the hole in the fabric where the bullet entered.

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A guide takes a tour group around the Museum

Uncover the stories behind our objects 

Our daily tours and gallery talks are the perfect way to discover the must-see highlights of the Museum, led by our friendly and knowledgeable guides.  

Whether you want to take part in our guided Treasures Tour; listen to extraordinary tales during our Gallery Favourites talks or delve into the past with our volunteer guides, come and embark on a voyage of discovery. 


Research your ancestors

The Caird Library contains over 100,000 books, 20,000 pamphlets and 8000 rare books, which covers everything from the Royal Navy and piracy to shipwrecks and the two World Wars.

Want to discover more about your past? If you have family members who served or travelled on ships you can trace their history, and learn more about your ancestors. 


Sail back in time

At the end of the 15th century, Europe embarked on a new age of oceanic voyaging, crossing the Atlantic to reach the Americas and rounding the Cape of Good Hope to enter the Indian Ocean.

Over the next two centuries, England, later Britain, emerged as a leading maritime power, whose prosperity was intimately connected to the sea. The Tudor and Stuarts Seafarers gallery charts this story, and assesses the often violent consequences of the growth of empire.

What’s On

Events at the National Maritime Museum.

Family entering the National Maritime Museum

Visit the National Maritime Museum

Discover epic stories of exploration and endeavour that have shaped our world today

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National Maritime Museum

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Access to all free galleries and activities
  • Paid exhibitions not included
Free entry
Book online
Image showing mountain and rocks in foreground, with rippling emerald aurora in the sky behind the mountain, which is reflected in a pool of water

Special exhibition

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

  • The world's greatest space photography
  • Over 100 images on display
  • Entry to National Maritime Museum included
Adult £10
Child £5

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