Royal Museums Greenwich and ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford, London

Our group beside Cutty Sark in Greenwich

Events and Entertainment Editor Fiona Horan joined our recent Readers’ Day to the Royal Museums Greenwich and ArcelorMittal Orbit – an outing that included two major London parks – one steeped in history, the other still unfolding into the future. She reports back.

Figureheads at the National Maritime Museum

‘We arrived at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and were welcomed with tea and biscuits in its lovely terraced café, by Andrew MacPherson, Travel Trade Sales Manager. After this, we enjoyed free time to investigate the museum. It was only possible to skim the surface of the amazing number of themed galleries here.

I wandered into Polar Worlds, which has exhibits about Arctic and Antarctic exploration from the Victorian era to the present day. I was particularly interested in the images, which included some of the famous photographs by Frank Hurley of Shackleton’s sailing ship Endurance trapped in ice in 1914, as well as wonderful oil paintings inspired by expeditions into the icy unknown. Other galleries included one on Tudor and Stuart sea-faring (pirates!) and another on Pacific Encounters. There is plenty to engage, with hands-on areas to appeal to children, and an imaginative use of animation and projection trickery to tell the story of past, present and future.

On to Cutty Sark, where we all enjoyed exploring several decks of the famous tea clipper, with headsets telling us the ship’s story, and about the various cabins and utility areas aboard – such as the galley and carpenter’s workshop.

Andrea Larotella, Head of Trade & Event Sales and Jamila Cunningham, Groups Coordinator from ArcelorMittal Orbit then led us like a “row of ducklings” across London on the DLR to Stratford (a short and interesting journey via Canary Wharf). Blue Badge Guide Pamela McHutchon then gave us a guided tour of Green Flag awarded Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Since the Olympics, Stratford has been transformed – with many more attractions still to come, including major museums such as V&A East and The Smithsonian Institution. Already the park offers beautiful parklands, leisure boating, outstanding sporting facilities, and is clearly very popular with local families.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit

We took the lift up the ArcelorMittal Orbit to admire the superb views from the two viewing platforms, and to have an ice-cold glass of prosecco – though not before the most adventurous of our group had gone down The Slide, the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, which takes the intrepid 12 loops round the Orbit to the ground in a 40-second descent.
Many thanks to Andrew, Andrea and Jamila for a day that I know we all found very enjoyable and interesting.’

Intrepid GTOs about to go on The Slide

“We did not realise how much of the Cutty Sark was original, following the fire and were impressed by the way it was presented. It was good to visit the ArcelorMittal Orbit and see the views of London. My husband got to try out The Slide and we have been telling everyone about it!”
Catherine, City Adventurers

“A great experience and will definitely be recommending the Cutty Sark and Orbit for
future visits.”
Darren, Wanstead High School

For further information, visit Royal Museums Greenwich and ArcelorMittal Orbit