THE idea of a day out in Greenwich to visit the new Titanic exhibition seemed like a good idea last Sunday morning. But the engineering works that multiply the 15-minute journey time from central London four-fold were just a foretaste of the problems ahead.

The door to the National Maritime Museum, venue for the exhibition, opened precisely at noon. I was still waiting 40 minutes later. Winter opening times on Sundays have been reduced to five hours, and consequently the queue for admission to this fascinating exhibition is even longer than the line for the lavatory on a Russian train.

So I phoned a few overseas attractions to see if they, too, restrict Sunday visitors to a mean 300 minutes. The Pompidou Centre in Paris opens at 10am, and stays that way for 12 hours. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art manages a 50 per cent improvement on the Titanic exhibition, while the Empire State Building opens its doors 14 hours a day. Even the Ministry of the Interior Museum in Havana opens for seven hours on Sundays (and charges one-third the price of the Titanic exhibition).