Essential Information

National Maritime Museum
Price Free

The polar regions of our planet have been a focus for scientific enquiry and exploration for centuries. Today, more than ever, that work has the potential to affect us all.

The Polar Worlds gallery looks at the challenges of Arctic and Antarctic exploration, and explores the impact of climate change on human lives. 

Inside the gallery

See the most experienced of explorers being pushed to the extremes of human endurance, through the stories of heroic explorers including Scott and Shackleton.


Witness the moving human story behind these expeditions through examples of expedition clothing and food supplies, accompanied by extracts from explorers’ diaries.

Consider the cultural and environmental status of the Arctic and Antarctic regions in the world today, and what the future may hold for these important places.

An oil painting of a sailing ship in the Arctic at night, with icebergs towering over the deck
HMS Erebus passing through the chain of bergs, 1842 (BHC3654, © National Maritime Museum)

Behind the scenes

Conservator Nora Meller explain how she cared for Captain Scott's shoes, which were found on his body in 1912 after the British explorer's tragic final expedition to the South Pole. 

This gallery is supported by:

  • UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
  • Government of the British Antarctic Territory
  • Transglobe Expedition Trust

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National Maritime Museum

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  • Access to all free galleries and activities
  • Paid exhibitions not included
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A father and son look through a porthole on the main deck of historic ship Cutty Sark

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  • Royal Observatory
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Direct Debit One-off
Individual: £50 Individual: £60
Family: from £60 Family: from £70