Have a sleepover on Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde
By Hannah Feldman
If your family is partial to occasional time-travel there are few better places to do it than aboard The Golden Hinde. One of the most famous ships of the Tudor period, The Golden Hinde was the first English vessel to circumnavigate the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. Today you can explore an exact replica of Drake’s original ship, and experience life as a mariner in the 16th century right in the centre of London.
With three decks to explore, there is plenty to keep everyone interested. Marvel at the complex rigging while your little ones practice their steering at the helm, or take a seat at the captain’s table and imagine plotting a voyage across the high seas with a tankard by your side! And to get more of a taste of life at sea in the 1570s, not to mention a chance to dress up and practice your best pirate-moves, why not book a sleepover aboard The Golden Hinde – a fun-packed experience of a lifetime!
7 reasons why a sleepover on the Golden Hinde is a must
Journey back in time to 1577 and experience a sailor’s life on the high seas. This is living history at its best and getting into costume as you arrive on board fires up those imaginations like nothing else!
The crew who greet your family upon arrival. They’re a gang of fantastic actors who take you along with them on Sir Francis Drake’s voyage – all the way until bedtime. They deliver nearly four hours of interactive theatre, with fantastic family participation where you learn about each aspect of Tudor life at sea in the most engaging way.
Learn about how to battle pirates on the high seas – when you are taught the art of swordship (albeit foam ones!) on the top-deck at dusk. An incredible memory for children and parents alike while looking over the London skyline.
Learn from the ship’s gunner as he teaches the crew how to wage a cannon battle and where the phrase “pull your finger out” actually comes from. Be prepared to cover your ears!
Experience Tudor medicine first-hand when the ship’s Barber Surgeon walks you through his various cures for ailments and his penchant for limb amputations while at sea!
Dine on deck – and eat supper and breakfast sailor-style, complete with tankards of “grog”, vegetable stew and bread while singing sea shanties. A great way to make new friends aboard the Golden Hinde!
Get cosy and bunk down for the night on deck in your sleeping bag. Completely magical for the kids as you whisper stories and share memories before lights out!
Kidadl in the know:
- Getting there:
The Golden Hinde is moored just next to Borough Market, and less than five minutes walk away from London Bridge Station. If you are coming by Tube the nearest station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee), which is a five-minute walk away. Borough (Northern) and Monument (Circle and District) are both a 10-minute walk away. By train, the nearest stations are London Bridge, Cannon Street, Blackfrairs and Waterloo. Buses stopping nearby are 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 133, 141, 149, 343, 381, 344, 521, RV1.
- Is there parking?
Parking in the local area is generally very restricted but is available at Kipling Street, London Bridge, five minutes away. The nearest accessible Blue Badge Holder parking bays are in London Bridge station.
- Good to know:
There are several flights of stairs to navigate for those walking to the Golden Hinde from London Bridge. The sleepover is aimed at children aged 6 or over – we recommend it for kids up to 14. Bring snacks if you have fussy eaters! Dinner is vegetable stew and bread, breakfast is bread and cheese with fruit. Everything else is down to you! There are two toilets on the lower deck by the kitchen which are totally adequate for your sleepover experience! Charging points – for phones and cameras can be found on the lower deck by the kitchen – if you need those batteries revved up for more photos in the morning! A member of the Golden Hinde team stays on board overnight and the ship is separated from the dock by a locked glass security partition to keep everyone safe and sound. The staff also run a fire drill at the beginning of your stay. Free Wi-fi is available on board but is not very reliable, so it might be a good opportunity for some digital-free time!
- Don’t forget:
There’s no heating on the boat and it gets cold at night time so bring loads and loads of layers to wear in your sleeping bag along with sleeping socks and an inflatable pillow and mat for an added layer of comfort. Bring a torch if you want to navigate the ship and find the loos after the lights are out, and ear plugs for light sleepers – London Bridge can be buzzy of an evening! And don’t forget your toothbrush!
- Is there buggy access?
The ship is not buggy friendly or currently accessible for wheelchair users or visitors with mobility impairments. Please note there are steep stairs on the ship and low ceilings.