The Greenwich Tall Ships festival 2014 gets off to a spectacular start today, marking the beginning of a week-long festival filled with wonderful displays on the River Thames.

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Visitors will be able to experience the delightful outdoor exhibition, with more than 50 tall ships to explore, board, and even sail on. Other activities include talks, indoor exhibitions, live music performances and daytime theatrical productions.

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The first day will culminate with the official launch of the festival, involving an incredible performance by the Barcelona-based street theatre group Sarruga, who will be performing their show Peixos in the heart of Royal Greenwich. 

This stunning show will utilize the backdrop of the Old Royal Naval College to set the scene for an authentic underwater experience.

The evening will conclude with a dazzling firework display in maritime Greenwich, where visitors can enjoy the beautiful ships in the foreground.

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Full list of highlights:

•    A parade of traditional Thames Barges along the River Thames during the afternoon

•    Bandstand and Pop Up Music at Maritime Greenwich, Greenwich Peninsula, Royal Arsenal Woolwich

•    Guiding Lights – a special exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, showcasing 500 years of Trinity House and Safety at Sea

•    "Mother Courage" – an outdoor production of Bertolt Brecht’s war epic at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich, presented by Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre and Teatro Vivo

•    Longitude Punk’d – a theatrical display at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park featuring British steampunk artists bringing to life madcap inventors and star-gazing scientists

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•    Maritime Greenwich exhibition at the Greenwich Heritage Centre in Woolwich – step back in time to see images of Royal Greenwich’s rich maritime past

•    Riggers Aloft – skilled riggers show off their talents as they clamber about the stunning Cutty Sark Tea Clipper in Greenwich

•    Talk at the National Maritime Museum from polar explorer Ben Saunders – who retraced Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole

•    Free Tall Ships workshops for children at the Greenwich Heritage Centre at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich

• Special exhibitions and displays at the Queen’s House, Greenwich, including "War Artists at Sea", The Art and Science of Exploration