Whether or not you’re from London, the British tradition of afternoon tea is a delightful custom to uphold.
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Going out with friends for a relaxing cup of tea, over some gossip and a delicious spread of cakes is something you can’t refuse.
If the place where you are going for tea is a distinctive landmark worth exploring, it’s even better. And afternoon tea on the Cutty Sark definitely falls into this category.
A visit to this iconic ship is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Greenwich. Not only do you get to see one of three remaining British tea clippers, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy your own tea here.
And I’m going to be honest here, this was my very first time boarding the Cutty Sark!! I have walked past it numerous times, but never entered the ship itself. This was a damn shame as the ship it actually remarkable and I had fun exploring it.
So, what exactly is the Cutty Sark and what can you expect from this afternoon tea in Greenwich? Here is all the information you need to know for this unique teatime outing.
The Cutty Sark in Greenwich is a clipper ship that was built in 1869. She was one of the fastest tea clippers of her time and also one of the last ever built.
The ship famously held the record time for bringing wool from Australia to Britain in 83 days. A momentous feat at the time.
When steamships started taking over the tea and wool trade, the Cutty Sark was used as a cadet training ship. In 1953, the Cutty Sark was taken to Greenwich to be preserved as a museum ship.
Today, visitors can discover the Cutty Sark’s history first-hand by walking around inside this iconic ship.
There are interactive displays and relics from the old ship set out all over the Cutty Sark. You can even duck into the cramped crew’s quarters and see the bunk beds where they slept.
Visitors have the opportunity to head to the main deck and stand at the helm holding the large wooden ship’s wheel. From here, take in the stunning views of the Thames and London. Remember to gaze up at the intricate system of tall masts and ship’s rigging.
An outing to the Cutty Sark is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, as you can combine a museum tour and afternoon tea. The Cutty Sark café lies underneath the ship, in a bright space where you can enjoy a variety of sweet and savoury treats.
They also do vegetarian and gluten free options to, so everyone can enjoy their afternoon tea. No one is left out.
This is definitely a unique setting to take your Greenwich afternoon tea. As part of its conservation project, the Cutty Sark ship was raised three metres above the ground. The café was later built inside this vast space, which is dubbed The Dock.
So, while you enjoy your tea, you can gaze at the impressive copper-plated hull above your head. There are also plenty of large windows built around the hull of the ship, filling the Dock area with cheery sunshine.
At the other side of The Dock, the world’s largest collection of ships’ figureheads are on display. Many of these colourful figures portray historic characters, like Florence Nightingale and William Wilberforce.
This is a great place to have afternoon tea with a small group of friends. The setting is relaxed and more on the informal side.
The area under the hull is also very spacious, so you won’t feel crowded among other guests.
The Cutty Sark afternoon tea menu includes delicious teatime staples. There are homemade finger sandwiches, crumbly scones, and assorted sweet treats to enjoy.
All the delicacies arrive on a 3-tiered cake stand. You can start with some savoury sandwiches, which contain fillings like smoked salmon and crème fraîche, or ham and Swiss cheese. The bread is fresh, and the fillings are tasty yet subtle.
Then you can move on to the sweet selection. There are a variety of cakes to try, from a nutty brownie to a macaroon or red velvet cupcake.
The scones are a favourite here – infused with Earl Grey and served with strawberry jam and Devon clotted cream. All the food is filling without leaving you feeling too heavy.
Of course, since you’re on a tea clipper, a lovely pot of Cutty Sark tea will accompany your food. You can choose from a selection of teas, from the traditional English Breakfast tea to the more exotic Oriental Sencha.
The Cutty Sark is located on King William Walk in Greenwich, London. It sits in quite a central location and is easy to reach by public transport.
If you want to take a train, the Cutty Sark DLR Station is just a few minutes’ walk away from the ship. For a more exciting journey, you can take a boat down the River Thames. Greenwich Pier is right behind the Cutty Sark, so you won’t have far to walk.
The Cutty Sark Museum ship is open from 10:00 to 17:00 every day. You should allow yourself at least one hour to explore all the nooks and crannies of this charming ship.
The café is only open for afternoon tea from 11:00 to 15:00 on Thursday to Sunday. Make sure to plan your time so that you can tour the clipper and have enough time for a leisurely tea.
The Cutty Sark opening times: 10am – 17:00 daily.
The Cutty Sark is a special destination to add to your list of places to visit for the best afternoon tea in London. Here you can enjoy all the traditional delights of a British teatime spread, while also discovering a splendid piece of history.
This charming ship is a beautiful piece of engineering that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff or someone looking for an insta-worthy adventure, the Cutty Sark is sure to pique your interest.
Now that you know all about the Cutty Sark and what to expect for teatime, why not invite a few friends to join you on board? You’re sure to have fun exploring the ship, and you’ll work up a fine appetite for some delicious afternoon tea.