Greenwich is the centre of British time keeping, but this riverside borough also sets the standard for museums, riverside pubs and vista-filled parks. From one of the world’s largest maritime museums and oldest tea clipper ship, to picnics and local pints accompanied by iconic city views, this south London borough has something to inspire any travel list…
Start your dream Greenwich trip by diving into Britain’s seafaring past, at the National Maritime Museum, one of the largest museums of its type in the world. After marvelling at the palatial exterior, step inside to a discover a world of artefacts. Highlights include Admiral Lord Nelson’s coat, worn when he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar, J. M. W. Turner’s largest painting, The Battle of Trafalgar, and four galleries which cover human exploration, each brimming with fascinating objects.
Move onto Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval College, an imposing building featuring grand white columns, originally built as a Royal Hospital for Seamen. As well as being an ideal spot for a riverside walk surrounded by period architecture, it’s home to the recently restored 18th century Painted Hall. Known as Britain’s ‘Sistine Chapel’, this Baroque masterpiece depicts Britain’s history through hundreds of dazzling mythological scenes. If you want to dip into the wonders of this hall before visiting, you can embark on a 360 degree virtual tour, here.
Film buffs will also recognise this distinct scene, as the Old Royal Naval College has been a filming location for countless productions, including The Crown, Skyfall, The King’s Speech and Sherlock Holmes, as well as the classic rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Another historical highlight within the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site is the Cutty Sark – the oldest tea clipper ship in the world. Built in 1869, its first journey to Shanghai in China the following year saw its return voyage loaded with nearly 600,000 kilograms of tea – the equivalent to around 47 of London’s iconic double-decker buses! You can retrace the steps of many sailors as you take the helm, explore the captain’s private cabin and crew’s quarters, or enjoy a bracing walk along the historic deck.
Greenwich has also been a hub for astronomy for centuries, with many world-altering thoughts hailing from the Royal Observatory, commissioned by Charles II in 1675. Here, you can walk along and cross the Prime Meridian Line, which at Longitude 0° is the spot which once helped the entire world set its clocks – don’t miss the chance to stand with one foot in the east and one foot in the west. If you’re a fan of science, you can also relish the chance to see the Great Equatorial Telescope and discover how scientists first mapped the stars.
Outside the hilltop Royal Observatory is also known as one of the best viewpoints in the capital, looking down on to Greenwich Park and out over the London skyline – dream of spotting the Old Royal Naval College, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf, as well as many other attractions!
Fancy a stroll through London’s oldest enclosed park? Greenwich Park offers a slice of tranquillity and heritage amid the bustling capital, and has been loved by Royals, and later by locals, for centuries. Close to the banks of the River Thames, this 183-acre green space was first used for hunting in the 15th century, but now you can meander through ancient woodland, sweeping 17th century landscaping, and enjoy amazing views to boot!
Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Greenwich Park’s Wilderness Deer Park, home to herds of Red and Fallow Deer. Catch a birds-eye-view of these majestic creatures from secluded woodland spots and paths around the outside of the enclosure.
If you wish to get closer to Britain’s royal history, plan to visit the Queen’s House, the first Palladian-style building in Britain, lying just outside of the park. Now housing a renowned art collection, including the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, a dramatic Tulip Staircase and elegant Great Hall with a geometric black and white marble floor, it is a must-see for fans of historic art.
Dreaming of an adventure along the River Thames? You can get a taste of Greenwich and beyond along the Thames Path route, a traffic-free path ideal for walkers or if you want to glide through the capital on a bicycle.
Get a taste of London’s history by popping into traditional pie shop, Goddard’s at Greenwich. Established in 1890, this quaint eatery is known for serving portions of classic pie and mash, topped off with delicious liquor sauce – ideal fuel for those wanting to channel their inner Londoner.
Want to sample some locally brewed tipples? Plan to taste the golden pints of Meantime Brewing Company, made in Greenwich itself. Add a trip to the Meantime Tasting Rooms or perhaps book a brewery tour for a future itinerary full of London’s rich flavours.
Dreaming of sipping a refreshing pint of beer accompanied by riverside views? Take a trip to the Cutty Sark pub, a traditional pub on the banks of the River Thames. With plenty of cosy window seats and a large outdoor area, here you can indulge in a refreshing brew or tuck into a hearty Sunday roast.
You are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as events and details are subject to change.