Thames Towns

Greenwich

Greenwich lies on the south side of the River Thames, just a few miles downstream from The Tower of London.  It receives over 8 million visitors every year, and they come to soak up the magnificent views, architecture, history and atmosphere that led UNESCO to award Greenwich its World Heritage status in 1997.

It is most famous as being the location of some magnificent buildings that are grouped together - they are Old Royal Naval College, The Queen's House and the National Maritime Museum.  These form a magnificent panorama when seen from the River Thames, and have been compared favourably with the vista of Versailles.  The Old Royal Naval College was built to the designs of Britain's most famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren, to house old sailors in their pensionable years, after the style of the Royal Hospital Chelsea for ex Army men. It now houses a college for students at Greenwich University.  You can visit the magnificent Painted Hall, set up for a banquet on Trafalgar night, and the Chapel, which was used as a set for the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.  The National Maritime Museum needs little description: it is a world famous museum dedicated to the sea and exploration, and has in its collection memorabilia of the great hero Admiral Nelson, plus a unique portrait of one of Britain's most famous navigators and explorers, Captain James Cook, as star treasures.

The Queen's House is a pretty little building that was built for Queen Henrietta Maria the widow of Charles 1st (who had his head chopped off by Oliver Cromwell). It sits between the two classical sections of the Old Royal Naval College.

The royal park of Greenwich stretches up and beyond the Old Royal Naval College. At the very top of the park is the world famous Royal Observatory. This was instituted by King Charles II and led directly to better ways of establishing longtitude and navigational skills as British sailors explored the world in the eighteenth century. The Royal Observatory also now is the home to a new Planetarium a spectacular additon to the attractions of Greenwich. Thus Greenwich is the centre of space and time, as Greenwich mean time and Longtitude Zero (The Greenwich meridian) were conceived and celebrated here at the Observatory. The Park hosted the equestrian events of the 2012 Olympics.

St Alfege's Church stands in the centre of Greenwich - it was originally the Royal Church when the Court was at Greenwich Palace in Tudor times.  It was destroyed  in 1702 and rebuilt to designs by Nicholas Hawksmoor.  The church was re-dedicated in 1714. Buried inside the church are General James Wolfe the hero of Quebec and the composer Thomas Tallis. The church is well worth a visit - it is open from 10.am to 4pm daily and on Sundays for services.

 

Greenwich is a great little town in its own right, with lots of interesting old pubs, and restaurants to cater for all tastes.  Greenwich Market is a spectacular place  that draws large numbers of people to see the antiques on sale plus handcrafted designs, food and drink of all kinds and arts and crafts here in the covered Market Hall, and you can browse through lots of quaint little shops that cluster around the Market.

You can reach Greenwich by rail, using the Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark station, or by riverboat from Westminster or Tower Piers - by far the best way to arrive! 

 Researched and Written by Jeannette Briggs

Pick of the town-not a scientific study just our opinion

Special attractions

National Maritime Museum
Royal Observatory
O2 Centre
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich visitor centre
The Old Royal Naval College Painted Hall and Chapel
Up the Creek
Weekly Market
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Special Events

Greenwich Festival- various venues
All events are free

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For Boat Charter hire, please see full details

Restaurants
Rivington
Cafe Rouge
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Pubs

Trafalgar Tavern
The Mitre
The Yacht 
Spanish Galleon

Cutty Sark

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Bars
North Pole Bar
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