Greenwich Things to Do

  • St Alfege
    St Alfege
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  • National Maritime Museum
    National Maritime Museum
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  • Things to Do
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Best Rated Things to Do in Greenwich

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    National Maritime Museum

    by ginte Written Oct 31, 2004

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    Opening times:

    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.

    Admission: free.

    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).

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    Royal Observatory

    by Dabs Updated Nov 21, 2011

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    Royal Observatory
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    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

    Astronomy Galleries

    Time Galleries

    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.

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    Cutty Sark

    by irisbe Written Sep 12, 2004

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    Cutty Sark

    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.

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    Stand on the Prime Meridian

    by Dabs Updated Nov 28, 2011

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    Tommy and Rachel on the Prime Meridian
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    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.

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    Other attractions in Greenwich

    by Dabs Updated Aug 13, 2008

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    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

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    Camera Obscura

    by Dabs Written Feb 4, 2008

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    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.

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    The Fan Museum

    by irisbe Written Sep 14, 2004

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    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!!!

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    Greenwich Park

    by ginte Written Oct 31, 2004

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    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.

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    The Cutty Sark

    by BluBluBlu Written Aug 26, 2005

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    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.

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    Foot tunnel under the Thames

    by Britannia2 Updated Mar 19, 2014

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    Tunnel at Greenwich
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    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[3] 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.
    Allegedly not safe at night.

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    GP8

    by BluBluBlu Written Aug 27, 2005

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    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.

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    Be in the audience of a BBC show - fifth show.

    by Regina1965 Updated Mar 9, 2013

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    Up the Creek Comedy Club.
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    Our fifth show was the next day - and way down in Greenwich. It was called Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD for BBC Radio 4. There were several recordings for that show on other days, but we had applied for the tickets on the 4th of March.

    So down to Greenwich I went ahead of time to find the Up The Creek Comedy Club, which was easy enough as it is just opposite the exit for the DLR at Cutty Sark. I spent the day in Greenwich and my friend came later. There was no queue, so we went to a restaurant opposite the Comedy Club and had wine. When there was an hour until they should open the door for us we joined the queue, which was now quite long. It was absolutely freezing and I had the flu, so I was not enjoying standing there. Little did we know that we had to wait for 1 hour and 45 minutes in the freezing cold. People were frozen and furious and started leaving, but we were told that it would only be a couple of minutes so we stuck with the queue. When the doors finally opened there was not a happy audience that entered. We were told that rehearsals had dragged on. Not an excuse. This is just not acceptable. Even if it is for free, then it is just not worth it.

    Thom Tuck goes straight to DVD is a stand-up comic. We were so pissed off in the beginning that we didn´t think he was funny at all and didn´t applaude. But he gained on us and we enjoyed the rest of the show - it was quite funny - and quite long.

    What I like about going to the BBC shows is that one gets to know different theatres in London, Up the Creek Comedy Club is f.ex. a club which the comedian Malcom Hardee opened in 1991.

    I then got tickets to 3 more shows...

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    Saint Alfege’s Church

    by irisbe Written Sep 12, 2004

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    Saint Alfege���s Church

    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.

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    The Queens House

    by BluBluBlu Written Aug 26, 2005

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    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!

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    Queens House

    by Britannia2 Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    The Queens House
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    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. It would be better if some furniture was on show too.
    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.

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