Sir Francis Drake set off on a trip around the world on 13 Dec 1577. As a privateer of Queen Elizabeth I, Drake was, in essence, a royally sanctioned pirate.
By the time he left on this voyage, he was already infamous for raiding Caribbean ports and commandeering Spanish gold ships, and the Spaniards hated and feared him. The queen commissioned him to sail the Atlantic Ocean in search of Terra Australis Incognita — a continent that was believed to lie south of South America — and if he happened to pick up some Spanish gold or silver on the way, so much the better. He left Plymouth in command of a fleet of five ships; in the end, only his ship, the Golden Hind, completed the circumnavigation. His journey took him from England to the Atlantic coast of North and South America, and through the Strait of Magellan. Then he made his way up the Pacific coast, where he raided and pillaged for five and a half months. He went about his piracy in a gentlemanly fashion; violence was kept to a minimum and no one was intentionally harmed in his raids. He went as far as northern California, which he named "Nova Albion" and claimed for Elizabeth. From there, he sailed through the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, and home to Plymouth once more, his ship heavy-laden with gold, silver, and spices.
Replicas of the Golden Hind have been set up all over Britain, the best of them in 1973 -- that one made it to San Francisco in 1975, and was used in the filming of the Shogun TV series. Nowadays it is an interactive museum docked in Bankside --
have you included it in your walks there in London?