Wednesdays at 10 – 11.30 am during term time is ‘Toddler Time’ on board the Cutty Sark. Finn (2) and I visited recently with a friend and her 1-year-old and enjoyed a lovely, child-centred story and play session led by two facilitators, followed by as long as we liked to explore the ship – all for £5 for the adult, free for the toddlers.
If you haven’t been to the Cutty Sark, it’s a brilliant place to take toddlers (and I think probably older children too) as there’s lots of space, interactive exhibits, some of which little ones can access (e.g. a dolls-house style ship with bits to move around, toy ships’ wheels, letter-writing station with ship’s post box, voices from the ship’s history on headphones) and up on deck, lots of scope for play and exploration – real furnished cabins with bunks and benches to scramble on, and the real ship’s wheel. It’s not the kind of place where you worry about what they’re touching: exhibits and the ship itself feel robust.
But Toddler Time is definitely my new favourite way to visit, because: it’s quiet on a Wednesday morning, it’s really good value compared to paying £12.15 per adult for normal admission, and the story/play session was so well done. I think it will be a good place to take a toddler and a baby too as it’s a contained, safe space (and no extra charge for an additional child).
The story session takes place in the huge open area under the dramatic copper hull of the ship, which is flooded with light and feels very peaceful on a quiet morning.
The facilitators had set up an area of mats and cushions and told a story about the origin of the ship’s name, with lots of interaction from the children (music making, animal puppets and animal noises, pretend tea party).
After the story the children were encouraged to draw and then play on loosely the same themes but with lots of choice, e.g. sea-themed books to share with parents, a crawl-through tunnel, the objects from the story to play with.
I think we could have stayed as long as we liked but the appeal of the big space took over and Finn ran up and down – so we set off to explore the ship.
Finally, the kids had lunch in the cafe area – very quiet that day, and spacious, so we could give them the packed lunch we’d brought and buy a cup of tea for ourselves.
Toddler Time in the Cutty Sark
Greenwich – Cutty Sark DLR is the nearest. Here’s the getting here page.
Wednesdays in term time, 10-11.30 am
£5 for adults, free for under-5s.
Facilities and access
Buggy access to all levels (including the ship’s deck) thanks to several lifts, but there’s an indoor buggy park on the ground floor. You probably can’t get a buggy into the cabins on deck so best to explore the deck without the buggy if you can. Only one, separate baby changing toilet but lots of space for changing toddlers in the loos. Spacious cafe under the hull where you can eat your own food or buy.