Did you know that Sir Francis Drake started his career as a pirate? It was his success with plundering Spanish ships that brought him to the English Queen’s attention. He did so well for his new boss he secured a fleet of five ships, one of which was the Golden Hinde.
Today’s ship isn’t the original (that one didn’t survive the test of time - but it is a beautifully produced and deeply researched replica. The original Golden Hinde took Sir Francis on his epic voyage to circumnavigate the globe. Today’s ship has made the same voyage and many more since its construction.
My boys (aged 8 and 2.5) had a great time exploring the ship. It’s quite small so they were able to clamber over every inch of it, touch every trunk, sit at the Captain’s table and examine every cannon. I don’t think the 2 year old ‘got it’ but the 8 year old enjoyed imagining how it would have felt battling pirates from the gun deck and looking out over the open seas from the stern. The staff are also very knowledgeable and happy to chat and engage with the kids and answer all their questions.
We then descended the ladders to the bottom deck for Captain Mick Swagger & The Swashbuckling Parrots’ show. The kids sat on floor cushions and there were wooden benches for the adults. It’s a very rambunctious, energetic and funny (if you’re 8 years old) 20 mins where the pirate parrots teach Captain Mick Swagger a thing or two about being a pirate.
The kids enjoyed the show and everyone joined in (although those more sensitive to loud shouting would be uncomfortable). As a parent I think I’d have liked it to have been a bit more insightful for the kids; showing them what it would have been like for those living on the ship or how it might have felt on the open waves - rather than just funny arguments about who’s the better pirate.
Overall, it was an interesting and enjoyable visit which we combined with a day out on the Southbank. I’m not sure the ship, or the show in particular, is worth a trek into town with kids on it’s own but it made a fun addition to the day and we all enjoyed learning a bit of history.
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