Your ticket to taste the world

12 July 2022


12 July 2022


Embark on a global voyage of taste without leaving Bristol this summer at Brunel’s SS Great Britain with Dishes of Discovery from 23 July until 4 September 2022.

Brunel’s SS Great Britain is inviting visitors to ‘Taste the World’ this summer, as it offers visitors the chance to sample delicacies inspired by Victorian voyages to destinations visited by the SS Great Britain in the 19th Century.

From 23 July to 4 September, visitors who step aboard the world’s first great ocean liner will taste historic recipes from Mumbai, Cape Town and Crimea – discovering how the SS Great Britain connected people and places around the world.

The dishes have been created by Bristol-based social enterprise, Travelling Kitchen, whose team worked with the ship’s archivists to explore historic recipes from around the globe. The dishes created include a zingy Melon and Ginger Jam from Cape Town, traditional Borsch from Crimea and a tropical green coriander and coconut chutney from Mumbai – and are typical of those that passengers would have encountered as they disembarked in the faraway destinations.

The SS Great Britain Trust’s interpretation team studied diaries and documents to create these authentic recipes. As Joanna Mathers, Head of Collections at the Trust, explains:

“We have made some fascinating discoveries as part of this project. One of the dishes – the green coriander and coconut chutney – was inspired by Samuel Archer, the ship’s surgeon on a voyage to Mumbai in 1857. We have access to his diary, which describes the food he experienced and this process gives visitors to the ship a chance to step back in time to the days before mass travel. These flavours would’ve been brand new and exotic, and for many, their first time encountering the likes of coconut, ginger and melon.”


Sarah Francis, Founder at Travelling Kitchen said:

“Food is something that everyone can relate to and one of Travelling Kitchen’s aims is to use food and cooking to celebrate the diversity of the history and culture around us. It has therefore been fantastic to work with SS Great Britain team on this project, exploring the food that travellers on the SS Great Britain may have experienced in the ports she docked in. Researching traveller accounts and cookery books of the time has been fascinating. We have tested and tried these, sometimes adapting to reflect availability of ingredients and modern tastes but hopefully still giving visitors to the ship this summer a taste of the past and SS Great Britain’s journey around the world.”


Natalie Fey, Interpretation Manager at the SS Great Britain Trust, said of the new summer programme, ‘Dishes of Discovery’:

“During her working life, the SS Great Britain journeyed to six continents, 24 countries and journeyed round the world an incredible 32 times. Those passengers and crew, who travelled aboard, experienced many new cultural sights, sounds, smells and most importantly, tastes.”

“This was clearly a time when mass tourism was experienced only by a select few, and the sense of excitement at trying new and exotic foods really comes across in some of the passenger and crew diaries. ‘Dishes of Discovery’ aims to give visitors to the SS Great Britain a chance to experience this thrill of encountering new and unusual foods for the first time, on board, all summer long!”


Tickets to the culinary experience are available online at For further updates, Follow Brunel’s SS Great Britain at @ssgreatbritain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A visit to Brunel’s SS Great Britain includes entry to the Being Brunel Museum, Dockyard Museum, historic dry dock and the ship herself. There is an opportunity to climb the rigging with Go Aloft!

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Passenger and crew diaries provide fascinating insight into how people travelled and experienced new food and flavours. These quotes are from Samuel Archer’s diary:

“At lunch we had cold beef & mutton, salad & oranges the latter decidedly the best I ever tasted so juicy that you could scarcely peel them and of a large size.” (Samuel Archer, Cape Town, 1857)

“After soup a very tasteless fish of which I could not learn the name… Some excellent salad was very grateful and we finished up with a dessert of glorious oranges & green almonds, nuts etc. & fruit called the loquat which I have not seen before about the size of a crab apple and rather sour.” (Samuel Archer, Cape Town, 1857)

“We anchored about two miles from the shore near the Himalaya and very soon several boats came off some with oranges, crayfish and fresh loaves others to take passengers ashore.” (Samuel Archer, Cape Town, South Africa, 1857)


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