Golden Hinde – The Famous Galleon of Sir Francis Drake

The Golden Hinde – A Replica of the Francis Drake Voyage Galleon:

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Golden Hinde, London © Travel Signposts

Berthed in St. Mary Overie Dock in the middle of London’s historic Southwark is the Golden Hinde, a full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th century galleon which circumnavigated the world, sailing over 140,000 miles.

Drake and his men sailed from Plymouth in 1577 and the aim of the voyage was for them to be the first Englishmen to sail around the globe. The galleon set sail under the name of the Pelican, but half way through the voyage, Drake renamed it the Golden Hinde as a tribute to his patron Sir Christopher Hatton whose crest was a golden hind.

A charter from Queen Elizabeth I gave Drake the permission to attack and loot all ships belonging to England’s enemies, which were the Spanish. During the voyage, Drake and his crew captured and plundered many Spanish ships, the most famous of them being the Cacafuego. With this charter, Drake and his men saw themselves as ‘privateers‘ (private warship), however the Spanish had a different view and up to this day they regard Drake as a pirate.

Drake’s voyage took three years and in 1581 he was knighted aboard the original Golden Hinde. You could say that Queen Elizbeth I was very pleased with her share of the treasure which came to almost £160,000 which during that time was “enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have £40,000 left over to invest“.  Queen Elizabeth I ordered the Golden Hinde to be preserved at Deptford and that the public be allowed to visit the ship to celebrate Drake’s successes and England’s victories. Hence it became the world’s first maritime museum. Unfortunately, in the late 1600s, almost 100 years later, the original Golden Hinde rotted away.

The current reconstruction was launched in Devon in 1973 and this replica Golden Hinde has circumnavigated the globe as well, sailing more than the 140,000 miles done by the Francis Drake voyage. It is now permanently berthed by London Bridge on the Thames and is a living history museum.

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Golden Hinde, London © Travel Signposts

The Golden Hinde works with London schools in providing education programs in relation to history topics on Drake and the Age of Exploration. Educators dressed in costume facilitate history lessons on board the ship making learning more fun and interesting for children.

The Golden Hinde also offers other fun things that families can do such as guided tours, children’s parties, special events such as Pirate workshops and Pirate Fun Days. And one of the more interesting events that parents may be interested in is that children can have a sleepover on board the Golden Hinde. Something to plan for if you need a child-free evening on your holidays.

The nearest tube stop is London Bridge.

St. Mary Overie Dock
Cathedral Street, London SE1 9DE

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