Play matters to Royal Museums Greenwich because it matters to children. It is the way through which they experience the world around them.

Play can support wellbeing for all ages, and we encourage everyone to playfully engage with the Museum.

What are play boxes? 

Throughout our sites, you might come across a play box. These fun-filled boxes are for families (children and adults alike) to explore and help you discover more about your surroundings.

From stacking blocks to party-themed props, our new play boxes at Cutty Sark provide the perfect opportunity to let your imagination set sail. There are no instructions, just use your creativity to play with the objects you find!

Peek inside Cutty Sark's play boxes

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Child playing in Cutty Sark

Box 1 - Stacking and balancing 

The Lower Hold is at the very bottom of Cutty Sark. It was used for storing precious cargo. Stacking and storing cargo was a delicate business, and the safety of the ship relied on it!

You would need to stack as much cargo as carefully as you could, so you could make the most profit and not capsize the ship. Use the items in the play box to practice stacking, balancing and building.

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Child playing on the tween deck

Box 2 – Immersive play

Like the Lower Hold, the 'Tween Deck was mostly used for storing cargo.

Between 1883-95 (a time known as Cutty Sark's Australian Wool Years), the ship would have been packed with huge bales of wool – more than 45,000 over its career!

Can you handle our bales of wool, at just a fraction of the size (and weight)?

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Girl on tweendeck

Box 3 – Parties on Cutty Sark

When docked and empty, sailors would use the 'Tween Deck for entertainment.

Captain Woodget was known to whizz up and down the deck on roller skates! The crew would even host dances and dinners to entertain guests when travelling around the world. You can use the props in the box to host your own party.

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Child with hat on a boat

Box 4 - Hats and jobs

Hats were an important piece of uniform on a tea clipper like this one.

Whether to determine rank, to combat adverse weather conditions, or just personal preference (see Captain Woodget in his Tam O’ Shanter cap), you would more than likely be wearing a hat of some sort.

Explore the hats in the play box, and the different characters that might have used them.  

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Two children with paper colorful masks

Box 5 – Figureheads

Cutty Sark is home to the largest figurehead collection in Europe. Figureheads were positioned at the front of ships and sailors believed they would ward off evil spirits and grant them good luck on their voyage.

As you can see, figureheads came in all shapes and sizes, resembling people, pets and objects! You could use the items in the play box to create your own figurehead.

What’s On

Cutty Sark Toddler Time
Toddler running in front of the figureheads
Family fun

Cutty Sark Toddler Time

Listen, learn and play at Cutty Sark: bring your under-5s on a different adventure every week!
Wednesdays | 10.30am | 11.30am | 1.00pm | 2.00pm
£5 per adult
Cutty Sark
Character Encounters
Talks and tours

Character Encounters

Visit the National Maritime Museum every Saturday to discover a different character from history with their own fascinating story to tell
Saturdays
Free Entry
National Maritime Museum
Ted's Space Adventure
Ted the bear with a rocket, blue planet and the Sun
Planetarium shows

Ted's Space Adventure

Join Ted the bear on an adventure around the Solar System in this special live planetarium show for under-7s - perfect for little astronauts everywhere!
Weekends and holiday weekdays
Adults £12 | Child £6 | Student & Under 25: £8
Royal Observatory
Meet the characters of Cutty Sark
James Robson the cook, one of the characters you can meet on board Cutty Sark. He wears a flat cap and red scarf, and is pointing at the ship's rigging
Family fun

Meet the characters of Cutty Sark

Meet colourful characters from Cutty Sark’s past and hear astonishing stories about life at sea in the age of sail
Weekends and Fri-Mon in school holidays | 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm
Included with entry to Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark
Safe Harbour
A group of four with adults and children participating in a craft.
Family fun

Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour is a series of free workshops created to provide a safe space for foster and adoptive families with children under 13 years
Monthly: Next date 24 February | 12.30pm - 2.30pm
Ticketed | Free
National Maritime Museum
Discover Sundays
(Source of a mother helping the child to draw using a pencil Picture)
Family fun

Discover Sundays

Each Sunday come and explore the Museum's collection through hands on creative activities
Term time Sundays | 11am - 1pm | 2pm - 4pm
Free | Drop-in
National Maritime Museum
Play Tuesdays
Family fun

Play Tuesdays

Bring your under 5 on a different adventure every week! Explore the Museum together through song, dance and stories
Term time Tuesdays | 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.00pm, 2.00pm
£4 per child and accompanying adult | Under 6 months free
National Maritime Museum
Coder Dojo
Family engaging coding workshop
Family fun

Coder Dojo

Be inspired by the collection and create computer programmes, animation, art and electronic experiments in response
First Saturday of the month
Free
Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
Observatory Unlocked
A teacher demonstrates a special type of video camera to students
Events and festivals | British Science Week

Observatory Unlocked

Want to travel through time? Use a telescope! Discover the secrets of astrophotography in this special drop-in session at the Royal Observatory
9, 10, 16 and 17 March | 11am-2.30pm
Included with Royal Observatory admission
Royal Observatory
Young Astronomers
A family workshop at the Royal Observatory, with a boy drawing with a pen and a girl playing with a VR headset
Family fun | British Science Week

Young Astronomers

How long does it take to travel to other worlds? Join this family workshop with Royal Observatory astronomers to find out!
9, 10, 16 and 17 March | 11.30am-2.30pm
Free for Planetarium ticketholders and Royal Observatory visitors
Royal Observatory
LGBTQ+ Family Network
Family fun | Identity

LGBTQ+ Family Network

A safe space for local LGBTQ+ families to meet one another, get involved in creative activities for all ages and explore the stories within the collection
20 January 2024 | 10am-12pm
Free
National Maritime Museum