The National Maritime Museum, Queen's House and Royal Observatory are open from 10.00 to 17.00, seven days a week. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
During the summer months, the Museum and the Observatory remain open until 18.00.
Photography was banned in the Museum in 1996. The ban includes photography and video cameras in the National Maritime Museum (NMM), Queen's House and Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG).
I was a little bummed, after climbing to the top of the hill to the Royal Observatory to show my niece the Prime Meridian to find out that they had instituted an admission charge, something they never had in all the years I've been going to London. All I really wanted to show her was the Prime Meridian and Camera Obscura and it really didn't make sense to have to pay £7 per person for such a short visit. You can still see the Prime Meridian from the gates, you just can't stand on either side of it.
If you do decide to fork over the admission charge, there are several other things to see at the Royal Observatory besides the Prime Meridian and Camera Obscura:
The Time Ball The red time ball located on top of the Flamsteed House was installed in 1833 as a signal for ships on the Thames to check their chronometers, it drops every day at 13:00 (GMT in winter, BST in summer), it's raised up halfway five minutes before 13:00 and to the top 2 minutes before 13:00 and then dropped. It wasn't working the day we were there though.
Shepard 24 Hour Gate Clock, this 24 hour clock always shows GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) so in the summer it will appear to be an hour off, one of the earliest electric public clocks
Planetarium, there are shows at the Planetarium which you can book online, there is a charge for the shows
Last but not least, there is a wonderful view over Greenwich and all the way into Central London from the Observatory since it is at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park. This view is still free for the "price" of the walk up the hill.
The maritime trust clipper ship Cutty Sark, was built in 1869 for the Scotsman Captain JohnWillis Junior.
It is the only remaining tea clipper in the world. These kind of ships were meant to cross the Atlanic and Pacific Oceans.
It was built at the Dumbarton yard of Scott and Linton and has a weight of 963 ton.
At the time she was trusted to the water of the river Clyde in Scotland, she shared the reputation with the “Thermopylae” to be the fasted ship operating on sail alone. The sails were designed by John Rennie. and began it sailing trips to end to be a legend.
She was named after a poem about witches and demons, written by Robert burns: “ Tam O’Shanter”. One of the witches only wore a short shirt. The ship’s heads represents this witch from the poem.
The opening of the Suez Canal, which was not navigational for a sailing ship, and the growing success of steamships led to the end of the fame of the tea clippers.
In 1951, on occasion of the festival of Britain, she was towed to a mooring outside Greenwich. It was in 1954 that she got her present location in a specially constructed dock at Greenwich.
In 1957 she was opened to the public as a museum.
I think the 1st thing that 99% of visitors to Greenwich do is hike up the hill and head to the Royal Observatory and stand with a foot on either side of the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0"), one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one foot in the western hemisphere. When we visited in January 2008, there were hardly any people there but in July 2008, there was actually a line to have your picture taken standing on the line. We just headed to the other side of the sculpture and took my niece and nephew's picture there.
The Observatory used to be free to visit but on my last visit in July 2011 they were charging an admission fee of £7. You can see the Prime Meridian from outside the gates but in order to stand over it, you have to go inside and pay the admission fee.
There's a lot to see in Greenwich and I always seem to go when I only have a couple of hours. Among the places that we didn't get to visit:
National Maritime Museum, admission is free
Old Royal Naval College, I missed the chapel but did get to see the Painted Hall, admission is free
And one for the girls, there's a Fan Museum
The Cutty Sark caught fire in May 2007 and is currently undergoing restoration, the whole ship was under cover when we visited.
Thames Barrier, a flood control structure on the Thames River
Walk under the Thames on the pedestrian tunnel to get to the Isle of Dogs, good views of Greenwich from here
Too late I read about the Fan museum in Greenwich. If I knew I would have liked to pay it a visit. Next time perhaps.
Why I am interested? Because my American colleague collects fans and she already has a remarkable collection of them and she is so enthousiast about it.
It seems this museum in Greenwich claims to be the only one devoted to the history and the making of the fan and it holds a collection of 3500 antique pieces!!!
Also located at the Royal Observatory, in a small summerhouse in the courtyard next to Flamsteed House, the Camera Obscura here is the only one in London open to the public.
Camera Obscura means "darkened chamber" in Latin, I'm not exactly sure how it works but the Camera Obscura uses a lens, a rotating mirror and you need a darkened room with a pin hole in one wall which projects an upside-down image of the world, in this case onto a table in the center of the darkened room. At first it looked like a photograph on a table but then you start seeing cars and buses moving and realize that it's a real time image of the area near the National Maritime Museum and Royal Naval College.
One of the Royal Parks is really worth this title. Just a perfect place for a romantic afternoon or the whole day.
Greenwich Park covers 73 hectares (183 acres) and is the oldest enclosed Royal Park. Greenwich Park is situated on a hilltop with impressive views across the River Thames to Docklands and the City of London, between Blackheath and the River Thames.
It provides a setting for several historic buildings, including the Old Royal Observatory, the Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Queen's House.
The Cutty Sark is a clipper, and the only remaining one of its type...ie a Tea Clipper. When tea was an expensive commodity these fast ships raced to get their wares to the market first.
Its now in dry dock, but can be visited and has a fascinating collection of ship figureheads.
Roughly in the centre of Greenwich Park, and at the top of the hill is a statue of General Wolfe. General Wolfe commanded the British forces at Quebec against the French and won a great victory, at the cost of his life. He was a resident of Greenwich and is buried in the parish church, St Alfege's.
The area around the statue gives a panoramic view over Greenwich, embracing the Isle of Dogs across the river, with the dome of St Pauls and other tall buildings in the City of London.
The Saint Alfege’s Church is named after Archbishop of Canterbury, captures by Danes in 1012.
Because he refused to pay ransom, he got executed in Greenwich.
In the 12th Century, in his honour a church was erected at the supposed location of his death.
In 1710 however, the churched was almost completely destroyed by a storm.
A new church was built in 1714. The architect was Nicholas Hawksmoor.
In 1953 it needed another restoration due to the suffered damage of the war.
General James Wolfe, the hero of Quebec, is buried under this church.
His statue also figures at the Greenwich park.
Thomas Tallis, royal organist, has found his last resting place here as well
Church can be visited from 10 am till 4 pm, except on Sundays.
This building is the middle one of what now makes up the Royal Naval Museum...but originally was a Royal Palace. It had an uninterupted view of the Thames. When the Royal Seamans Hospital was designed...it would have blocked the view. So Queen Anne soon got the Hospital redesigned!
The Observatory, part of the National Maritime Museum, is one of the most famous features of Maritime Greenwich – since 1997 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors to the Observatory can stand in both the eastern and western hemispheres simultaneously by placing their feet either side of the Prime Meridian - the centre of world time and space.
The photo shows the Prime Meridian line...
This tunnel links Greenwich with Island Gardens on the north side of the Thames and was opened in 1902 to enable workers living south of the river to easily reach their employment in the docks and shipyards on the other side of the river. Easily recognised by the attractive domes on each side of the river this cast-iron tunnel itself is 370.2 m (1,217 ft) long and 15.2 m (50 ft) deep and has an internal diameter of about 9 feet (2.7 m). Its cast-iron rings are lined with concrete which has been surfaced with some 200,000 white glazed tiles. There are lifts at each side or spiral staircases to take you to the tunnel at the bottom and then the short walk under the river. Well worth walking through just to see the view of Greenwich from the northern side of the river.
The stairs and tunnel are open 24 hours a day but the lifts only 7am to 7pm on weekdays and Saturdays, 10am-5.30pm on Sundays.
Under renovation with completion in 2011 but should remain open most of the time work is taking place.
Allegedly not safe at night.
The Queen's House is a former royal residence built between 1614-1617. Its architect was Inigo Jones, for whom it was a crucial early commission, for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I of England. It was altered and completed by Jones, in a second campaign about 1635 for Henrietta Maria, queen of King Charles I. The Queen's House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in Britain. It was Jones's first major commission after returning from his 1613-1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance and Palladian architecture in Italy.
Today this beautiful building has displays of paintings and portraits from the national collection. Entrance is free.
In 2012 the building will be the VIP centre for the Olympic Games.
It has wonderful colonnades that are a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the view on a summers day.
The elegant Tulip Stairs in the Queen's House were the first geometric self-supporting spiral stair in England.