Greenwich is one of my favourite areas of London. Outside of the hustle and bustle of high-rise London, Greenwich is a pocket of green parks, open-air markets and a unique section of history. There are loads of things to do in Greenwich. From the many points of naval history, to exploring the parks and views being across the water from London can offer – it’s not one to miss.
I visited on a recent weekend getaway and whilst I would have loved more time, it was a great place to explore over a weekend. Everything is very compact, so you can wander easily from one attraction to the next.
A must-see for any boat-finatic. The Cutty Sark is a magnificent ship turned museum. Explore the ship, which has been restored and kept to a fantastic standard and meet the crew to learn about the history of the ship and the people who sailed her.
Top tip: It’s worth knowing that different characters will perform on different days, so make sure to align your visit with what you’re most interested in learning.
I loved Greenwich Market. With amazing architecture (it’s the only historic market to be set in a World Heritage site!) of the buildings, traditional sweet shops and the click of cobblestones underfoot, this market feels like stepping back in time. The traders change week on week, so no matter how many times you’ve visited, you’ll find something new. From vintage wares, to film reels of the classics, to crystals, to t-shirts. There’s a lot to explore. And eat. We didn’t stop for food, but the whole market smelt delicious, so check out the street food too.
Of course, Greenwich is famous for its position on the Meridian Line, giving its name to Greenwich Mean Time. At the Royal Observatory, you can stand on the Meridian Line, at a longitude of 0°, putting you in line with both the North and South Pole. Then, join a planetarium show and explore the universe throughout the museum’s exhibit.
I have a copy of the Astronomy Photography of the Year – Collection 8, that I absolutely adore. It showcases the winners of the yearly astronomy photography competition run by the Royal Observatory. The Observatory also hosts an exhibition of the photographs too, so stop by to visit them in person.
Even if you don’t have time to visit the Observatory in detail, I’d still recommend taking the short trek through Greenwich park to see the view. Not only is the park itself lovely and the perfect spot for lunch or a break, but the view of London from the Observatory is quite something. With the park and river separating you from the high-rise giants of the City of London, you can appreciate the city in peace.
National Maritime Museum
Another one for the boat-lovers. Explore the National Maritime Museum for a wide collection of all things sea-farers, polar exploration (definitely the best exhibition!), pirates and all. Uncover the evolution of compasses and sundials, the instruments that helped sailors navigate uncharted waters. Ask why it’s impossible to have a perfect map of Earth. And discover the trinkets, weapons and possessions of those who travelled the sea. It’s a great stop for kids and adults alike.
In the winter months, the museum also opens an ice rink. We went at night and the pink and purple lighting they used to light the ice made for a wondrous evening – and ticked one thing off the winter bucket list.
Old Royal Naval College
With five centuries of history, this estate on the riverside is a must-see. Originally Greenwich Palace, the birthplace of Henry VIII, the College has a long, diverse history. With incredible Baroque-style interior, the Painted Hall is referred to as Britain’s Sistine Chapel. The College also boats a huge collection of Naval art, so if you’re committed to the boat themed tour at this point, this is an excellent round-up.
The keen-eyed will also recognise the site as the set of many Hollywood films, including Pirates of The Caribbean, Thor, Les Misérables and Gulliver’s Travels.
And they’re my top picks. I’ll definitely be returning to Greenwich, the large open spaces and unique section of history is just as rich as the feeling you get from the town itself.
Explore to your heart’s content.
Love, Ella-Rose xx