Cutty Sark is one of Britain's most formidable ships, built in Scotland in the 1860s during the height of Britain's international tea trade. The ship is now protected as part of the National Historic Fleet and is displayed on the shores of the Thames near the historic maritime centre of Greenwich in east London.
A history of the ship
The ship embarked from London for Shanghai on February 16th, 1870, and returned with more than 1,450 tons of tea from the Chinese port on October 13th, 1870. However, the ship was later used for the transporting of coal and wool, and travelled to Africa and the Americas before it was converted into a cadet training ship and then a museum ship.
During the ship's service, it loaded 4,289 bales of wool between 1883 and 1895, after which it was sold to the Portuguese traders J. Ferreira & Co, and remained under Portuguese ownership until 1923. In December 1954, the ship was finally towed into a dock at Greenwich, and was officially opened to the public by the Queen in 1957. Since then, the ship has been visited by millions of tourists from the UK and across the globe staying in hotels near the Cutty Sark.
The ship broke records in the 1880s, when it travelled from Sydney to London in just 73 days, benefiting from favourable 'roaring trade' winds to maximise its speed. Unfortunately, the ship suffered a major fire in 2007, which necessitated a comprehensive restoration costing in excess of £50 million. To celebrate the refurbishment, the ship was reopened by the Queen on April 25th, 2012. She was accompanied by Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who went on board to see the decks.
Visit one of London's great Royal Parks, Greenwich Park, and see one of the best panoramic views of the city while exploring this enormous 180-acre open space. The Royal Observatory, meanwhile, is one of London's most historic landmarks, and has been a world-class centre for navigation since the 17th century. The observatory forms part of the renowned Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes many other illustrious 17th and 18th-century landmarks such as the Maritime Museum and the Royal Naval College. Another intriguing landmarks is the Queen's House, which is also part of the World Heritage Site and is England's oldest Palladian building.
For relaxing, elegant hotels near the Cutty Sark, choose the affordable and contemporary themed Mercure London Greenwich Hotel or the scenic De Vere Venues Devonport House. For the ultimate in luxury, consider the Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf, which is just 2.7 miles from Greenwich and offers wonderful views over the Thames and London's skyline.
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