The Golden Hinde is a classic family attraction located at St. Mary Overie Dock off Cathedral Street in London, re-creating the Golden Hind ship of Sir Francis Drake, which circumnavigated the world between 1577 and 1580. The vessel offers an illuminating and enjoyable family day out, with the history of the original and its analogue detailed aboard.
Ticket holders visiting The Golden Hinde are transported virtually to the Elizabethan high seas. Drake’s galleon – initially dubbed The Pelican – was 120 feet in length, weighing in at 100 tons. The family attraction boasts 22 artillery pieces, including two short-range Peteras on each of the poop and fore decks, a pair of long-range Falcons in each of the forecastle and stern, and 14 heavy-calibre Minions positioned on the gun deck.
The Golden Hinde sailed from Plymouth in December 1577 with four escorts and 200 crewmen, arriving in Brazil in the spring of 1578. The Pelican was then rechristened ‘The Golden Hind’ by Drake – after the heraldic female deer – which featured on the family crest of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton. Drake’s ship voyaged for three years, capturing Spanish booty along the way, not least the Cacafuego, whose treasure was so immense that The Golden Hinde’s ballast was emptied and the booty stored in the bilge beneath the hold. In March 1579, the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción came into Drake’s possession, along with 360,000 pesos and six tons of trove that took six days to transfer.
Drake arrived next in San Francisco and claimed Nova Albion. Sierra Leone was in sight by July, and he returned to Plymouth in 1580 with 56 crew – half the original number. They were welcomed by Queen Elizabeth I at Deptford and she acquired £160,000, which covered the whole national debt! All The Golden Hinde’s crew received their share, and even the cabin boy became a modern millionaire! Drake received his knighthood aboard The Golden Hinde, and Elizabeth commanded that it be conserved as the country’s first museum ship – a Tudor family attraction!
Drake’s raiding resulted in the Anglo–Spanish War and, after Elizabeth died, The Golden Hinde fell into neglect. However, its successor is an authentic hand-crafted replica from Appledore in Devon, which was launched in 1973. It offers an enthralling family day out, and ticket holders can learn how the modern vessel also travelled the world, sailing more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km). Its first voyage was to San Francisco, to mark Drake’s trip there, and in 1979-80, it re-created his greatest journey, before finding a permanent place in port in 1996.
The family attraction was used in Swashbuckler (1976), Shogun (1979) and Drake’s Venture (1980), and The Golden Hinde caters for school parties that can don sailors’ clothes and learn about naval history. Private Guided Tours and Workshops with costumed interpreters can be booked and visitors can hear tales of life at sea, punishments, barber surgery and gun drills. Parties can even participate in a mock battle, grapple with the yardarm and consume Tudor pottage. There’s also a chance to turn the capstan and raise the anchor, as well as learn how to fire a cannon or swab the decks, land lubbers!
Units 1 & 2, Pickfords Wharf, Clink Street, London, SE1 9DG
Tel: 08700 11 8700
Times: Daily, 10.00 – 17.30