Cutty SarkThe fastest ship of its time and now the perfect London landmark venue for the most significant occasions
Once the fastest ship of its time, the Cutty Sark is now an iconic monument on the banks of the River Thames, offering a range of unique event spaces. Built in the 19th century at the height of the tea trade, the ship was uniquely constructed with a copper-covered hull. Today, that same hull is suspended mid-air to create a magnificent event space. The Cutty Sark offers a spectacular riverside setting with sweeping views across the Thames to the city beyond. It is a remarkable location for special gala dinners, product launches and summer parties requiring style, sophistication and the ultimate 'wow' factor.
The Cutty Sark is one of the most famous ships in the world and the only surviving tea clipper. First built in 1869, it was designed to go back and forth from China, carrying cargos of tea at great speed, later becoming one of the fastest ships of its time. It is now a valuable piece of maritime heritage and an exclusive location for memorable events. The Cutty Sark is set in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Maritime Greenwich and is easily accessible from Greenwich Pier. This historic sailing ship is one of London's most iconic venues, and it can be hired exclusively in the evenings or by day with advanced notice.
The Cutty Sark event spaces range in both style and size. The largest space is the Dry Berth area hosting up to 240 for a seated dinner with staging and a dance floor. In this format, dinner tables are set underneath the copper-clad hull with the ship suspended dramatically overhead. The space can also host up to 450 standing for an exclusive reception or up to 300 seated for receptions, awards, and presentations.
With all events having exclusive access to the whole ship, guests can explore all the spaces on arrival. The 'Tween Deck and Weather Deck can each host up to 100 guests standing, while the 'Tween Deck can also host up to 60 guests for an intimate dinner. The Master's Saloon was once the Captain's dining room and can be used to host an exclusive event for up to 10 guests.
The Cutty Sark is the perfect venue for uniquely memorable celebrations. Wedding ceremonies can take place on the Tween Deck, with the drinks reception on the stunning open-air Weather Deck followed by a seated dinner with dancing in the Dry Berth. There are countless opportunities for striking photography, above and below deck. At one end of the Dry Berth is a unique collection of Merchant Navy ship figureheads, thought to be one of the largest in the world. The Cutty Sark is a landmark venue in London, unparalleled to any other - in its history, its design and its modern-day function as a prestigious venue.
Cutty Sark was built in Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1869. The ship embarked on its first voyage on the 15th of February 1870, bound for Shanghai. It carried a general cargo on this outward voyage, including wine, spirits, beer and manufactured goods. After successfully reaching China on the 31st of May, the boat was loaded with 1,305,812 lbs of tea. Following only 25 days at port in Shanghai, the ship sped back to London, arriving on the 13th of October the same year.
With the arrival of steamships and the opening of the Suez Canal, Cutty Sark had to find other goods to transport. The ship collected its last Chinese tea cargo in 1877. As Cutty Sark moved into its teenage years, it had its most successful period as a cargo ship. Transporting wool from Australia saw it sail faster than every ship at the time by 25 days to a month. In the 1890s, Cutty Sark began to make less money as more steamships moved into the wool trade. Eventually, the ship was sold to a Portuguese firm. During this time, Cutty Sark was renamed Ferreira. It was used as a cargo ship, transporting goods between Portugal and its empire.
The old name was restored in 1923, and Cutty Sark returned to British ownership. It was used as a training ship in Greenhithe until the 1950s. The Cutty Sark Society was formed to save the boat, supported by HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1954, the ship was towed into Greenwich. Extensive restoration work followed, and Cutty Sark was finally opened to the public in 1957. In 2007 a fire damaged three of Cutty Sark's decks. Thanks to an outpouring of public support and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the ship was restored and reopened in 2012. Since then, it has developed an excellent reputation for hosting memorable events.