A Sleepover on the Golden Hinde: What to Expect

Most days, I wince whenever I glance at my inbox… No matter how many times I attempt to empty it, it always fills up quicker than I can ever work my way through it. Sometimes though, just sometimes, I get an email that gets me beaming from ear to ear. The invitation for a sleepover on the Golden Hinde was one of those! I’ve been dreaming of taking my little man on a sleepover experience at The Natural History Museum for years, so a similar experience on Francis Drake’s beauty of a ship was an immediate “Yes please!” from me! Sleeping rough doesn’t scare me and what better way for children and adults alike to get a taste for History? 

When I was growing up, History lessons were the most uninspiring of all. I’m pretty sure the basic formula for recruiting History teachers went a bit like this in 80s France: 

Find the person with the most monotonous voice ever, who has exceptionally rancid breath and can listen to their own voice for hours. 

– Give them a qualification to ‘teach’ History. 

– Put them in front of a class.

– Let them launch into a two-hour mind-numbing monologue. 

– Watch the children die a little bit inside as they’re given a list of dates and associated historical facts to memorise…

Can you tell I didn’t ever feel particularly captivated in History lessons? 

Had I ever been exposed to adventures like the sleepover on The Golden Hinde, with costumes and immersive role play, I’m pretty sure I would have memorised facts and dates a lot more effortlessly and paid some attention in History class. 

The way my children are learning about History is so much more engaging than what I could ever have imagined. They have theme days for entire year groups focusing on a range of cultures, eras or specific historical events. They have a Roman Day at the Junior school, workshops on Vikings and staff even organise a sleepover on the school premises simulating a night during the Blitz. My four are also big fans of the entertaining yet educational TV series Horrible Histories, and Crevette has read a fair few of the books as well.

All that to say that a sleepover on The Golden Hinde is everything I love in a half term activity: family time with no electronics whatsoever, tons of fun and laughter, a non-negligible educational focus and a night away from home, all in the heart of London.

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

It was also everything you’d expect from a good ship tour, with anecdotes about Sir Francis Drake’s sleeping arrangements and stories about the 16th century.   

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

I don’t want to go into too much detail not to spoil your experience should you choose to do it, but here are the sorts of things you can expect from a sleepover on The Golden Hinde:

  • A fully immersive experience for all participants, split into two groups. We spent the evening with Penny from ‘Parentshaped’ and her lovely little crew.

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • Tudor sailor clothing for all

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • Sword Fights

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • Learning about parts of the ship in context

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • How to fire a canon

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • A session with a Barber Surgeon to find out how ailments and injuries were treated in Tudor times

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

 

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • Learning how to navigate the high seas

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

  • A nice vegetable Tudor stew for dinner
  • A night on the gun deck among the heavy artillery 
  • A Tudor breakfast

I’ve tried answering common questions below. I hope that helps!

Reasons to go for a sleepover on The Golden Hinde as a family:

The Golden Hinde is a full-size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s ship which sailed around the world in 1577 and she’s like a real life pirate ship! As soon as you board the ship and change into your sailor clothing, you will travel back in time to experience life aboard The Golden Hinde in the 16th century. You will learn everything you need to know aboard the ship and your new skills will be put to the test when the Spanish attack!

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

Packing for Your Sleepover on the Golden Hinde

All we needed to bring was a sleeping bag each, our toothbrushes and pyjamas. We also packed some snacks and headphones as well as a battery-operated lamp. It all came in handy. I also needed quite a lot of tissues and antihistamines on the night, so if you have any seasonal or dust allergies, I would recommend bringing anything that helps your symptoms.

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

All our sleeping bags were gifted to us by the lovely people at Blacks and Millets

Where is The Golden Hinde moored?

The easiest way to get to the Golden Hinde is to get off the Jubilee or Northern Line at London Bridge and follow the signs. It’s just beside Borough Market, by the Thames. 

The ship’s exact address is:

The Golden Hinde

St Mary Overie Dock

Cathedral Street

London SE1 9DE

 

Who can attend?

The experience is pitched at 6 – 11 year olds but you can bring younger children as long as you supervise them. There’s a lot of moving around on the ship and the stairs are really steep (they’re more like ladders, really).

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

How long does the experience last?

The experience starts at 5pm and finishes at 9am the next day.

 

When can I go and how much is it?

You can book the sleepover experience during the summer months and it costs £45 per person.

 

Will I actually get any sleep?

Probably not that much, but it’s all part of the experience, right? One thing I’d definitely recommend packing would be an inflatable mattress and maybe a small cushion. I felt broken after a night with no mattress or pillow! My headphones were perfect to listen to an audiobook when the lights were switched off shortly after 10 p.m. It also drowned out the sound of London revellers and the loud snoring from fellow crew members.

 

Is it safe?

There’s a security guard support staff on board all night.

 

Is it just for families?

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde experience can be booked for birthday parties, school or scouting trips and the ship is also available for private hire.

If you want to book or have other questions:

Email: info@goldenhinde.co.uk

Website: www.goldenhinde.co.uk

Telephone: 0207 403 0123

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

 

Here is a short video about our Sleepover on the Golden Hinde if you fancy having a look:

 

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home… Alongside a few other families, we all experienced life as a barber surgeon, officer and sat around the captain’s table, played games, entered a competition to load the cannons, all whilst learning about Sir Francis Drake. Exhausted, our little crew spent the night alongside the cannons. I couldn’t recommend the experience highly enough.

The sleepover on the Golden Hinde, moored in a dry dock on the Thames by the buzzy Borough Market, is a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. The actors set the stage for a wonderful experience and make everyone feel at home...

Disclosure: We were invited to experience the sleepover on The Golden Hinde in return for an honest review. All photos, video footage and opinions are my own. 

34 Comments

  1. 04/06/2018 / 2:17 pm

    This sounds absolutely amazing, Mel! (Apart from the hayfever!). What a brilliant way to bring history to life, and some great packing tips too. I’d love to take my little one to do something like this when he’s older!

    • Mel
      Author
      04/06/2018 / 2:18 pm

      It was quite simply phenomenal. It’s something the children (and I) will be talking about for a long time, no doubt about that!

  2. 04/06/2018 / 2:21 pm

    Oh wow what an incredible experience I honestly had no idea you could even do something like this! My daughter will be turning five soon so this is definitely something to keep in mind for when she is a tad older x

    • Mel
      Author
      04/06/2018 / 2:24 pm

      I had no idea either! It’s absolutely brilliant, and so much fun. I laughed and laughed and laughed all evening, and the children were completely immersed in the experience the whole time!

  3. 04/06/2018 / 2:23 pm

    Ah yes, history was never taught like this when I was in school! I love the hands on experience this offers – we have a similar (but not quite so exciting) ship that can be viewed and toured where I live. Kids gain so much more by being there, seeing it, feeling it, acting it out. A great experience for sure.

    • Mel
      Author
      04/06/2018 / 2:49 pm

      It makes such a difference when you can ‘live it’ rather than just hear about it, doesn’t it? We all loved everything about it!

  4. 04/06/2018 / 6:49 pm

    I’ve been dying to do the natural history sleepover too so this sounds like a great alternative x

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:12 am

      It really is! I can never get the dates I want for the Natural History Museum one and it’s almost double the price too!

  5. 04/06/2018 / 7:41 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I can’t believe the price too, well worth doing for such a brilliant experience. Your pictures are great, looks like everyone had a really good time x

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:12 am

      We had the best time! I couldn’t believe the price either. I would have anticipated a much higher price for an experience like this. It was amazing!

  6. Kate
    04/06/2018 / 7:46 pm

    What a great idea for a memorable night away. This sounded amazing Mel. I am very tempted to take the boys.

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:11 am

      It was absolutely amazing, Kate! I honestly couldn’t recommend it highly enough 🙂

  7. 04/06/2018 / 8:05 pm

    What an adventure! I never knew there was any activity like this. I mean how exciting it is my nephews birthday he loves ships and pirates and I would love to book this for his upcoming birthday! Fantastic thank you for sharing your experiance with us x

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:11 am

      Oh my… if he likes pirates, it would be the best present you could possibly give him!

  8. 04/06/2018 / 8:53 pm

    That is such a cool experience! I’ve seen the ship while walking around London, and my daughter has been on board a couple of similar ones – it is just fascinating and definitely a much better way to learn about history. I had no idea you could overnight on it though, that is definitely going on my list!

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:10 am

      I think the sleepover element really made the whole experience absolutely brilliant. It would have been lovely without it too, but the fact it was an adventure for a whole night made it pretty special for all of us!

  9. 04/06/2018 / 9:07 pm

    oh my goodness what fun. my son would love this. lol at not getting much sleep but hey ho it’s just one night. I love that you dress up as well. What a fab idea. I love the concept

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:09 am

      Completely! It’s worth the sleepless night. Memories were made!

  10. 04/06/2018 / 9:54 pm

    THIS is absolutely the way to learn history! Kids always take in do much more like this than listening to an monotone person talking. 🙂

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 8:09 am

      Completely! Even I learnt a lot, and I’ve always been a reluctant History student 🙂

  11. 05/06/2018 / 1:03 pm

    This sounds like an awesome thing to do with kids! I bet they learned so so much x

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 1:07 pm

      We all did!

  12. 05/06/2018 / 1:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, this sounds like such an amazing experience! There’s no better way of teaching children than actually doing something interesting with them; all this immersive role play sounds like an incredible experience and one that they’ll remember for a long, long time.

    • Mel
      Author
      05/06/2018 / 1:15 pm

      Totally! It’s the best way to learn I think! We loved every minute of it (well, I wasn’t keen on sleeping without a mattress but it was part of the whole experience, really!).

  13. 05/06/2018 / 5:02 pm

    Oh wow Mel, I’ve always wanted to do this, with or without kids, haha! Much more reasonably priced than I thought it would be too!

    • Mel
      Author
      06/06/2018 / 9:48 pm

      I was really surprised when I saw the price! It’s great value for money, and such a memorable experience. The children and I have been talking about it to anyone who’ll listen!

  14. 05/06/2018 / 5:32 pm

    That ship looks so exciting! I would love to stay on a ship like that! History is so much more fun for kids when it’s interactive and well, fun!

    • Mel
      Author
      06/06/2018 / 10:45 pm

      🙂

    • Mel
      Author
      06/06/2018 / 9:48 pm

      It was wonderful, and I guess the sleepless night was part of the deal 🙂

  15. 06/06/2018 / 9:21 am

    Aaah MEL!! Your history teacher sounds the same as mine!!! I used to HATE history as a result. Now I’m grown up I’m starting to become totally obsessed with it. Through dramas like ‘The White Queen’ — (amazing!!) I now know more about the Yorks and the Tudors — and more recently Versailles (am now obsessed with anything to do with Louis XIV)!! History has really started to come to life — SO much more interesting that listening to that boring old teacher drone on.

    This experience sounds AMAZING!!! The boys will love it when they’re a little bit older — am bookmarking!! Thanks so much for sharing Mel xx

    • Mel
      Author
      06/06/2018 / 10:43 pm

      It was incredible, from start to finish and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Oh, must look out for ‘The White Queen’ – sounds great 🙂

  16. 07/06/2018 / 9:26 pm

    I’m a firm believer that children learn best from experience, so this must have been such a fabulous experience for you. I quite liked history at school but my teacher was brilliant and found ways to really keep the class engaged.

    • Mel
      Author
      08/06/2018 / 7:13 am

      How I wish I’d had a good History teacher! My 4 so far love learning about History, thanks to their wonderful teachers and experiences like our little Golden Hinde sleepover 🙂

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