Greenwich, one of London's most attractive suburbs, lies 10km/6mi downstream from London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames. It is famous for its Observatory (through which runs the Greenwich Meridian), its large Park, the National Maritime Museum and the old Greenwich Hospital which now houses the Royal Naval College. In Greenwich itself, the streets, pubs, church (St Alfege) and market are well worth exploring.Under the title Historic Maritime Greenwich are included the historical places and museums in Greenwich; the Queen's House, the East and West Wings which were added to it in the 19th century housing the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park and the museum ships "Cutty Sark" and "Gipsy Moth IV".
Cutty Sark & Gipsy Moth IV
The "Cutty Sark", now a museum ship, is the last of the old tea clippers which sailed between Britain and China in the 19th C. Built in 1869, it was the finest and, with its speed of 17 knots, the fastest sailing ship of its day. It was laid up here in 1956, and now contains an interesting collection of old ships' figureheads, prints and drawings, and mementos of its voyages to China, India and Ceylon. Close by is "Gipsy Moth IV", the yacht in which Sir Francis Chichester sailed singlehandedly round the world in 1966/67. Visitors are not permitted on board from October to Easter.
Address: King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT, England
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26)
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop
Transit: BritRail: Greenwich; Bus: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386
Royal Naval College
No visit to Greenwich should omit the Painted Hall and Chapel of the old Greenwich Hospital, now the Royal Naval College. The College occupies a historic site, originally occupied by a palace erected by Edward I (1272-1307) and later by the Palace of Placentia built by the Duke of Gloucester in 1428, a favorite residence of Henry VII and other Tudor monarchs. Here Henry VIII was born, married Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, and signed the death warrant of Anne Boleyn. His daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I were born in the palace. In the time of Cromwell it was used as a prison. In 1664 John Webb began to build a new palace for Charles II, and this was completed by Wren in 1696-98, by which time it had been decided to use the building as a home and hospital for disabled seamen. The Painted Hall in the southwest block (the King William Building) was completed by Wren in 1703. The ceiling paintings (by Sir James Thornhill, 1727) depict William III and Mary II. The Chapel in the southeast block (the Queen Mary Building), was also designed by Wren but completed by Ripley in 1752 and rebuilt after a fire by "Athenian" Stuart in 1789. It was restored in 1955. Notable features of the Chapel are the altarpiece (St Paul's Shipwreck) by Benjamin West and the round pulpit, lectern and font, made of wood from the old dockyard at Deptford.
Address: King William Walk, London SE10 9LW, England
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12:30pm-5pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Photography prohibited. Other dates when college is closed for operational requirements are notified when possible in the national press.
Transit: BritRail: Maze Hill, Greenwich; Bus: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386
One of the earliest Renaissance buildings in England, the Queens House is a grand mansion reflecting typical Classical architecture. The lavish interior features marble floors and embellished ceilings.
Thames Flood Barrier
The Thames Barrier, which crosses the river near Woolwich 13km/8mi east of the City of London, was inaugurated on May 8, 1984. This technical masterpiece, 520m/569yd wide, is the largest movable flood barrier in the world. Nine piers were sunk in the river bed and between them are 10 steel gates. The powerful hydraulic lifting rams take 30 minutes to move the gates into position. Downstream eight smaller barriers were constructed, which can block off some of the tributaries of the river. By this means a guarantee against flooding of large areas of Kent and Essex in a catastrophe can be assured. The Thames Barrier was necessary because the risk of flooding has been intensified by the gradual sinking of eastern England and an increase in the storms in the North Sea and the English Channel. British experts are of the opinion that in a few decades even larger flood barriers must be built.Visits to the actual barrier are not permitted but there are good views from a riverside walk. In the visitors' center there is a most interesting audio-video show concerning the construction and functioning of the Thames Barrier.
Firepower (Royal Artillery Museum)
Firepower is the Royal Artillery Museum, which features everything from the wrought-iron guns of the 14th C to modern-day nuclear weapons. More than just a large show of guns and weapons, the museum traces the history of firepower, including military life and life on the battlefield. There are also medals and uniforms on display. Galleries include the Field of Fire, Gunnery Hall, History Hall, Medals Gallery, Real Weapon Gallery, and the Cold War Gallery which reaches into the realm of nuclear weapons.The Firepower features a permanent collection as well as changing exhibits, along with lectures and special events targeted at both adults and children.
Address: Royal Arsenal, Repository Road, Woolwich, London SE18 6ST, England
Opening hours: 10:30am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24)
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £12.00, Adult £5.00, Concession or reduced rate £4.50, Child £2.50
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Taped tours for rent.
Facilities: Gift shop
Transit: BritRail: Woolwich Dock Yard.
The Greenwich Fan Museum is devoted to the art of the fan. It is the only one of its kind in the world and is housed in a restored Georgian house. In 1992 it was an NACF Award Winner.The Fan Museum presents fans as a piece of art rather than just a piece of equipment for keeping cool. The fans are made from all different fabrics and decorated with various objects. Some of the fans here date to the 11th Century, but the museum has a particular focus on 18th and 19th Century fans.The Fan Museum presents a permanent collection as well as rotating displays that change three times a year.
Address: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ER, England
Opening hours: 11am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always opened on: Spring Bank Holiday - Britain (last Monday, May), Summer Bank Holiday - Britain outside Scotland (last Monday, Aug)
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in GBP: Adult £4.00, Concession or reduced rate £3.00, Child 6 & under FREE
Useful tips: Free admission to pensioners and the disabled after 2 p.m. There are fan making workshops available for those so inclined. Group visit must book in advance.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Transit: BritRail: Greenwich from London Bridge; Bus: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386
Greenwich Markets (Arts and Crafts Market)
The Greenwich Market, or the Arts and Crafts Market as it is called, which dates to the 1830s has changed its scope over the years. While it was once just a produce market it now houses a range of goods including antiques, arts and crafts, and other collectibles of all qualities. This undercover market is open seven days a week. There is a farmers market here on Fridays. Also in the area are cafés and restaurants making for a pleasant outing for visitors. For travellers looking for a little different shopping experience, the Greenwich Market is the place to come.
The O2 (formerly Millennium Dome)
The Millennium Dome was constructed as a celebration of the year 2000 during which it hosted shows and exhibits. Failing to draw the crowds it had anticipated, the Millennium closed at the end of 2000. In the meantime, the structure is impressive when viewed from the outside. There are good views from the Docklands. The dome was publicly renamed as The O2 in 2005.
Map - Greenwich
Map of London Attractions