15 Ideas For A Weekend In Greenwich

Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This site has been used for astronomical observations since 1676. The Observatory was founded by King Charles II in 1675 to solve a long-standing problem: accurately establishing longitude at sea. This led to the creation of Greenwich Meridian Line and the Prime Meridian Line. This is the Royal Observatory, where Greenwich Mean Time was originally calculated. It’s also known as the National Maritime Museum and it houses a small gallery that details the history of time-keeping from sundials to atomic clocks.

The Royal Observatory is a historic site in Greenwich, London  and is in fact the most prime meridian for the worlds clocks, South Greenwich Forum (southgreenwichforum.co.uk). The Prime Meridian is the reference point from which longitude is measured across the globe. The Cutty Sark Pub is a traditional English pub on the banks of the Thames in Greenwich. It is an authentic place to enjoy a pint and have a chat with friends. The Cutty Sark pub is located within the grounds of the Cutty Sark itself in Greenwich, and it looks out on the Thames.

Greenwich Park

Greenwich park is a magical place, with wonderful views across London and toward the Thames. It was given to England by Charles II in 1686 and laid out by his courtiers John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys (no, not that one). Our friend John Tradescant the Younger also helped design it. For most of its existence it was open to all comers on payment of a penny although there were certain regions where members of the Court could hunt if they wished.

(It was allowed to become overgrown and abandoned at times too. ). The best thing to do, before sitting back and taking in the views, is to walk the well-marked trails through the park. As you wander, keep an eye out for City Hall across the river, the church of St Mary Overy and the South Bank arts complex. Also watch out for the blue plaques dotted on walls around the south and east of the park – they celebrate famous visitors to Greenwich (Charles Dickens, for example) and those buried in the cemetery (Horatio Nelson).

On a sunny day, you can see for miles and miles across the Thames to the City of London on the northern bank. To the east is Canary Wharf, with its skyscrapers jutting into the sky, then easy-on-the-eye Greenwich Market. Across Woolwich Reach to the west is HMS Belfast and the old village of Greenwich, which became the front line in 1666 when 500 Cromwell's troops invaded from here. The park's many trees and roads are a pleasure to walk, with wonderful views of the Observatory, Canary Wharf and the river.

The Observatory is also an architectural delight, its quirky look provided by Sir Christopher Wren. For an entertaining visit, join one of the free guided tours (every day) that reveal its secrets and recount tales from its history. The observatory itself has some great exhibition space, but the park is the great star of this attraction.  At 579 acres it's rather bigger than might be implied by the word 'park', although many stretches of its paths are open to the public.

National Maritime Museum

A veritable cross-section of the Naval, but not quite Military, this nationally significant museum is wonderfully curated and houses a giant model of Brunel’s SS Great Britain, which was built and launched in Bristol. She became the first ship to cross the Atlantic under steam power alone, aged 14, when she weighed anchor at Avonmouth in 1845. With her keel laid at Priddy's Hard shipyard, she was later towed up the River Thaw to Northam to be fitted out.

A few years later, she was sold to a Liverpool owner who promptly put her back into service as a floating iron foundry; he then sold her on to the explorer Robert McCormick for his ill-fated voyage into the. There is no river view, but that does not detract from the glory of this museum. It is a spacious, light-filled and glorious space to experience Nelson and the sea. The story begins at the centre of an enormous hall, with HMS Victory on a huge turntable (one of the largest in the world) facing three enormous screens, where exactly how she was made is told in part by computer graphics.

Visitors can climb aboard and experience it for themselves. Beyond are rooms full of memorabilia of voyages throughout history, actual items from treasure boxes, and models of ships. The National Maritime Museum celebrates the many achievements of all those who worked at sea and on land to bring us the modern world as we know it today. It tells their stories through a display of treasured artefacts, including ship models, paintings, prints, medals, furniture, weapons and navigational equipment.

Old Royal Naval College

The L-shaped building was originally envisaged by King William?III as a hospital for retired sailors; however, the Greenwich Hospital Act (1704) required that the site be vested in a board of governors, which would investigate the needs of the hospital on behalf of the seamen. Four years later 16 commissioners were named but no new building work was undertaken until May 1708, when a building committee was appointed that included James, Duke of Norfolk. If accommodation for about 500 people was needed, it is unlikely that Wren?s original plan to extend existing buildings and convert existing houses could have been implemented.

Although east and west wings were planned from the outset, it might have been 12 years before any construction progressed beyond the central four-bay. The current building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren with input from Robert Hooke. It was built between 1696 and 1712 and is a prime example of Palladian architecture, in fact, it was the first project anywhere to use this relatively new style. The plan of the building is an irregular quadrilateral on a north-south axis with four projecting wings to keep the middle bright and well lit.

This central part is dominated by the two domed buildings, long galleries, and courtyards. Ancient Rome had Pantheon, the Athens of Pericles and the Pantheon of the San Giovanni in Pie. The Baroque Age saw the creation of many great buildings but none so striking as Christopher Wrens Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The two Ionic wings are flanked on either side by what look like rather ungainly half Dutch gables, but together with the central dome they form a building that is both imposing and elegant at the same time.

This has to be one of my favourite photos of the day and you can thank (or blame) the talented Jonny Miles for this. I had stood at Greenwich over many years and thought it was just another London borough with no particular appeal. On a quiet Sunday morning, I found myself walking around St Alfege Section and was immediately taken by its maritime charm. The domed Basilica is one of the best features. Built between 1694 and 1712 by Sir Christopher Wren, the Old Royal Naval College incorporates some of the best examples of classic Baroque architecture in London.

The main buildings were designed to serve as a repository for records, maps and other scientific material; this aspect was expanded upon until it became a college for training officers. Nowadays, it contains the National Maritime Museum. Head up the stairs of the building and stroll along the top floor, where you will learn about life for sailors in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Work your way down to the lower floors which give a wealth of detail about life on ship, from navigational instruments to naval medals, flags and paintings.

Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market, also known as Greenwich Town Market, is a market located at the top of Greenwich Hill, Saint Mary's Park, Greenwich. It is Europe's oldest extant market with the history of trading uninterrupted since the 14th century. The present buildings date from 1754 and are Grade I listed buildings. The adjacent Grade II. A market has traded in Greenwich since the 1300s and it moved to today’s location at the start of the 18th century.

The area around Greenwich Market provided fruit, vegetables and meat to Londoners for centuries until the market moved south to its current location in the 19th century. The first mention of Greenwich Fair was in the 15th century. The market was held each June on a field in Old Woolwich Road (nowadays Greenwich Park, south-east of the current location). The first recorded use was in 1421 when it was referred to as. The origins of Greenwich Market can be traced back to 1671 when King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to John Denham and George Holmes to run a market in Greenwich.

Queens House

During the 19th century, most of the parks were opened to the public for pleasure, but by 1719 such unauthorised intrusions were prohibited. This red-brick building was erected east of the park entrance and enclosed in a formal garden, as an extension of Queen Caroline's own private residence (Greenwich Palace). When she died in 1737 she left it to her husband George II, who gave it to their daughter Princess Amelia. She never lived here, and in 1751 King George III instructed his Surveyor General of Woods to buy it back, so that it could be demolished and the materials sold off.

It contained some beautiful hothouse plants brought from Kew Gardens in mainland Europe and had hot baths and a tennis court. This is one of my favourite buildings in Greenwich Park. It has an impressive set of italianate features: the scrolls and pediments, the sculpted cornice and frieze, the octagonal dome, the central entrance and all-round glazing. Its architects were Inigo Jones (1573-1652), his son John Jones and John Webb (1590-1660). The Queens House, built around 1636 for Henrietta Maria, is one of the finest examples of classical Renaissance architecture in England.

Cutty Sark

We did a lot of research for this project. It was amazing to learn about the Cutty Sark, and equally amazing that it was such a great idea to build such a semi-robot vehicle. In fact, the team has already started on another version that can use bigger motors and clips (they will be able to pull anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds). While we still need help from an experienced technician, we are hoping that we can get the boat to move under its own power before the deadline.

Built in 1869, the Cutty Sark was one of the last of the tea clippers — a class of extremely fast sailing vessels designed to carry tea from China to Britain. It had three masts covered with hand-stitched leather sails that allowed it to navigate around Cape Horn — a feat no other ship was capable of at the time. The Cutty Sark is still considered to be one of the fastest vessels in history.

The Cutty Sark was the last of the breed of tea clippers to be built. Her hull is made out of teak and she has a cutty (sharp) stern making her visually distinguishable from three masted square rigged ships. She was at one time called "the fastest ship in the world" with a speed up to 17 knots, though this was never backed by any proof. More than 50 years after Cutty Sark was built, the golden age of the tea clipper neared an end.

The advent of steam-powered ships put an end to the tea races across the globe. Not only that, but the Suez Canal opened in 1869 to allow steam-powered vessels to traverse the straight of Gibraltar and out to far east ports. The Cutty Sark was a tea clipper of composite construction (wooden planked hulls on iron framing) with three masts. The ship was designed for the tea trade between Britain and China under Captain John Yearly.

The original cost for the ship and its fittings was £16,285, and it weighed 426 tons. The Cutty Sark is a clipper ship. She is the only surviving tea clipper and is the only intact example of a windjammer. She was built of Scottish steel with a teak hull. It was built on the site of a 15th-century palace. The location was on the North side of Silk Hill. You can also buy some old fans if you're feeling flush.

Walking Tour

While the Thames skyline is quite visible, walking along the river banks in Greenwich can be a pleasant experience. A particularly good time to get out and walk the streets of Greenwich is during dusk, when the sun is setting over London, and you’re witnessing it from Greenwich Hill. A guided walking tour of Greenwich would also be a great idea for those who want to learn more about the history of Greenwich. Come rain or shine, Greenwich is perfect for strolling around.

So put your best walking shoes on and step out onto the cobbled streets and terraced houses of Greenwich for a guided tour that introduces you to this spectacular World Heritage Site. Prior to your tour, the guide will meet you at a location of your choice in central London, where you’ll then begin the walking tour. So you’ve got the basics on Greenwich’s history and know what monuments to visit. But when you get there, you won’t want to walk around with your map in hand unless you’re a tourist.

A great way to get the knowledge is to download one of the many tours put out by mobile apps. Walking Tours by Bill Russell are incredibly comprehensive for only $2. 99 each. After you've checked off all the sites on the Greenwich Tourist Trail (above), put on your walking shoes and discover the rest of this historic town. Start at Woolwich town centre, then head towards Shooters Hill and take in views of the Thames Estuary from its top, then return via Charlton village.

The best way to get a real feel for Greenwich is on foot. This includes pubs, museums, churches, and parks. So with that in mind, here are the top 10 walking tours of Greenwich to give you a great insight into the history and culture of this London suburb. A walking tour is a great way to see Greenwich. We’ve all done a quick drive by in an Uber to get to the Ritz or one of Greenwichs iconic landmarks.


To the north of Blackheath lies Greenwich. Not only close to popular Greenwich Park and The Cutty Sark, Greenwich is a well-known centre for maritime history and in particular the Royal Naval College (actually a university) founded by King William IV in 1873. Indeed, it was here, a mere four years later, that my great great great great grandfather served as an engine room artificer on board HMS Agincourt ; an event which impacted the very actions taken by my family later in the century overseas.

Tudor Blackheath was a hugely popular place for public gatherings, such as the annual recital of the Popish Plot and was also a time for the playing of games. Much of the land  Blackheath is built on was once owned by Sir Elias Ashmole, and in 1855, the original of the famous portrait of William Shakespeare painted by John Taylor was found in a black oak cabinet on Blackheath. The north-eastern boundary of the park is the Devil's Dyke, a large moraine created when water filled a crack in the chalk and eventually carved out the deep trench that we see today.

It is roughly 120 m wide and several metres deep. The origins of the name Blackheath are unclear but it is mentioned in historic documents as far back as 1381. If your time is limited make sure you head west to the highest point on the heath. This just north of the public toilets, where there are commanding views across the city and far beyond. The Londonist has a very comprehensive guide of interesting sights to see when visiting here which is well worth a read.

Blackheath is one of the oldest common land in England but is also well-known for being the location of many historic events. There are some public tennis courts and several pubs scattered about, including the historic Hare & Hounds pub (which has stood here since 1703) and the Prince George. But there is so much more history here that cant be missed if you take the time to explore. The council meets in Woolwich Town Hall.

Thames Riverside

The Thames Path National Trail is a favorite walk among tourists and locals alike. The 15-minute walk to the Cutty Sark pub on Ballast Quay is in range for casual visitors to Greenwich, as is the 10-minute walk to the Royal Observatory. The best way to get around town? Indulge in a horse-drawn heritage boat tour, operated by London River Services (visit at www. londonriverservices. co. uk). It's slower than a taxi, but far more picturesque.

The Quay's impressive, with its tall ships and Rall boats, so it'd be a shame to rush through this part of the walk. Lots of nice pubs here (Cutty Sark, ||)|), as well as shopping and restaurants. Ballast Quay has a special place in history, as it was the point of embarkation for many who sailed off to build colonies in America. The fastest and easiest way to get to Greenwich from central London is by DLR.

Peter Harrison Planetarium

This museum conveys much of the information you are going to find on Flamsteed’s own house, with the Star Theatre Planetarium mirror projection system showing a variety of celestial objects and their positioning in space.  In addition to a presentation on our position in the galaxy and elements of solar system navigation, Travelling to the Stars takes place every 20 minutes – this involves the projection of a scale model road-trail through the solar system as seen from Earth.

Yet another Greenwich attraction is the Peter Harrison Planetarium. Located within the Royal Museums Greenwich, this award-winning attraction within the UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a range of shows, talks and workshops focusing on the stars including Big Bangs, Black Holes and the Search for Aliens as well as fabulous Solar System displays. The planetarium was opened in 1989, and is named after Peter Harrison. He was the former director of ‘Starmus,’ a program which was held annually between 2009 and 2014.

The event brought together many that have interest in space and astronomy. The planetarium itself contains more than 120 seats for its viewers, as well as a four-meter dome. A giant of a planetarium, the Peter Harrison Planetarium is named after esteemed astronomer Sir Peter Harrison, whose legacy lives on in this world class space science experience.   The planetarium, which opened in 1981, has over 100 seats and a 12m dome.   This makes it one of the largest fully digital planetariums in the country.

The historic building was once used by astronomers to calculate the positions of stars and planets. Today, it is one of the few public planetariums in London, and is a vital principle part of the National Maritime Museum’s educational programme. The walk from Cutty Sark DLR station to the Cutty Sark pub on Ballast Quay is about 15 minutes (about 0. 9 mile). Greenwich is located in London's SE10 postcode, in the Borough of Greenwich which includes the areas to its immediate north (Blackheath and Charlton) plus the observatory on Blackheath.

Boat Trips

A westbound voyage is a great way to enjoy the splendours of Greenwich. A leisurely couple of hours spent on the Thames will allow you to relax, while enjoying the changing tide and views of The Old Royal Naval College, Cutty Sark and the O2 Arena. Using your Thames boat ticket enables you to hop on and off at any of the piers you wish, giving you the option to return via a different route.

Boats set off from Greenwich Pier throughout the day and all year round, offering cruises lasting from an hour to over nine hours. From a haunting tour of London’s most graveyard-dotted nooks and crannies to a family-friendly trip singing sea shanties, there is something for everyone to enjoy on the Thames. The traffic on the river in London is incredible – there really are boats everywhere. Our next boat outing is to Greenwich. This is the gem of London and my family loved it.

We started off at Greenwich Pier which was in a convenient position. We had reserved tickets for the Cutty Sark. Greenwich is just as famous for its boat trips as it is for its world-famous observatory, and the trip lasts about an hour. This alone makes it a worthwhile attraction to visit while you're in Greenwich. Every day you can enjoy a boat trip for the whole family. Boats from all over the world come to Greenwich for this unique experience of London through the Thames and its different quarters.

The O2

The iconic Millennium Dome was the crowning glory of the UKs millennium celebrations and hosted an exhibition that lasted a single year. The site of the dome in north London has been earmarked to be transformed into a large park and revamped development once the exhibition is dismantled and moved on. The iconic Millennium Dome was the crowning glory of the UKs millennium celebrations and hosted an exhibition that lasted a single year. The dome is an example of a large DIY construction project driven by the private sector, and it is unique in many ways as a result.

The Millennium Dome was built in 1999 and housed an exhibition that ran parallel to the UKs Millennium celebrations. The Dome featured some of the most iconic exhibits, shows, events and design to date. It was, therefore, a building that was open for only one year. This means that it will always have this association with the millennium – regardless of how much time has passed since 2000. For a more relaxed experience of Greenwich, stroll down by the riverside to Thames Riverside, away from the touristy hustle and bustle of Greenwich Market.

Fan Museum

The Fan Museum, one of the world's only museums devoted to fans, is housed in a unique building that is as interesting as its exhibits. Two Georgian houses at the bottom of Crooms Hill have made up the museum from 1967 to present day. The lower house, which originally dated to 1815, is now used for a shop selling antiques and souvenirs and as an education room. The upper house, which dates to around 1830, was originally a school but became the museum's exhibition hall in the 1960s when it was put under guardianship of Greenwich Council.

The Fan Museum is a museum located in London dedicated to fans. Real fans of all shapes and sizes. Fans made from ivory, palm leaves, peacock feathers, bronze, cloisonne, reeds, silk and more are displayed throughout the Georgian townhouse. The old Georgian houses have been converted into what is now known as the Fan Museum. These buildings were built and occupied in the mid to late 19th century. They are located in the Greenwich village area of downtown Auckland, New Zealand.

Rangers House

Built in the mid-1830s, this is the home of the Greenwich Park Rangers, who look after the parkland and woodlands. Set high up on a hill with lovely views of the park, it has some beautiful interiors. It’s easy to access from the North Circular Road, but you do need to apply for a permit to visit. If you can bag yourself a tour, it’s well worth a visit if only just to see the grand entrance hall which has a huge painting on its ceiling.

You can also watch volunteer Rangers making model ships and putt-putting around the grounds in several punt-like boats. The Rangers of Greenwich Park have been around since Tudor times when the King appointed a Ranger to ensure that Greenwich would be well maintained in the interests of the public. The Rangers House was built, at that time, as a residence for the Ranger. While his service was somewhat similar to that of the Tudor gamekeepers it is interesting to note he was responsible for ensuring that a proclamation was read every day in Greenwich Park at 1pm by an officer of the Court of Augmentations.

Built for the Ranger of Greenwich Park in 1740, the house is a fine example of Georgian architecture. Inside, an elegant marble staircase leads to a finely proportioned hall and a wood-panelled library. The Ranger’s House is furnished with items that reflect the history and character of Greenwich Palace including portraits, furniture and objects dating from the 17th century. This charming Grade 1 listed building dates back to 1732 and was once home to Woolwich’s park rangers.

The Rangers House is open to the public daily between April and November, where visitors can explore the elegant rooms, including the magnificent entrance hall and staircase, which is now used for concerts. The Rangers House is a Palladian Villa mansion situated on the top of Greenwich Park. It was built in the early 18th century by Sir Christopher Wren. It was later occupied by Queen Caroline, wife of King George II, as her only secluded retreat on the banks of the Thames.