Next week, the world’s largest, active, ocean-going, wooden sailing ship will visit London, will fire her canons next to Tower Bridge, and then open for the public to go on board for a look around.
This is actually a replica of an 18th-century tall sailing ship, although you’d struggle to tell the difference, as it was built using all the original techniques and materials of the original. No sign of a Black and Decker jigsaw here thank you very much.
The original ship owes its origins to the Swedish East India Company, which traded between 1731 and 1813, and was at the time, Sweden’s most valuable company. The first Swedish Ship Götheborg was launched in 1738 and went through three adventurous voyages to China (inc one where she was hijacked by the British) before its wrecking outside the Fortress of Älvsborg.
In 1993, the Swedish East India Company was refounded, but this time with the mission to rebuild the Götheborg*. Work started in 1995, and it was to take 20 years to complete the ship.
The ship now tours the world and last visited London in 2007.
Now, 15 years later, she’s returning.
The Götheborg will be based in South Dock Quay, next to Canary Wharf and open to the public between Tuesday-Thursday 9th-11th August.
(UPDATE – they’ve now added tours on Monday evening and Friday afternoon as well)
Tours need to be booked in advance from here. Subject to availability, tickets can also be bought on-site, but they recommend booking in advance, to be sure you can visit.
Adult: £15 | Children (7-16): £7.50 | Children (0-6): Free
(NB: When booking online, you won’t see an obvious option for children’s tickets, but that appears when you go to checkout, so just book as many tickets as you need, the prices are corrected later)
They expect a visit will last around an hour. Note that the ship has steep ladders, which are not suitable for people who have trouble walking. I would also recommend wearing flat shoes rather than heels (if you normally wear heels that is).
The ship will be in South Dock Quay, which is a short walk from the Canary Wharf tube/Elizabeth line stations, or right next to South Quay station on the DLR.
If you enjoy the visit, you can even sail with the team.
The Götheborg will be arriving in London the day before the public tours, and will pass through Tower Bridge on the morning of 8th August at 8:30am.
And is expected to fire her cannons!
The ship will turn around and leave the Pool of London at 9am, heading to South Dock Quay for the tours to start on Tuesday. If you want to track the ship’s progress up the Thames on the day, I’d recommend using MarineTraffic.
*The official name for the replica of the ship is the Götheborg III, but everyone drops the number.