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Fodor's London 2014
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Cutty Sark Review
This sleek, romantic clipper was built in 1869, one among a vast fleet of tall-masted wooden ships that plied the oceanic highways of the 19th century, trading in exotic commodities—in this case, tea. Cutty Sark (named after an old Scottish term for women's undergarments) was the fastest, sailing the London–China route in 1871 in only 107 days. The clipper has been preserved in dry docks as a museum ship since the 1950s, but was severely damaged in a devastating fire in 2007. As luck would have it, however, roughly half the ship had been dismantled and taken away for cleaning at the time. The ship re-opened in 2012, with hugely improved visitor facilities; not only can you tour the painstakingly restored ship in its entirety, but the glittering new visitor center (which the ship now rests directly above, in an enormous gold mount) allows you to view the hull from below. A veritable museum of seafaring life, this boat was never too comfortable for the 28-strong crew (as you'll see). And don't forget to take in the very amusing collection of figureheads.
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