Greenwich, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 117 Reviews

Greenwich, SE10

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  • Greenwich Market
    Greenwich Market
    by wabat
  • climb the o2 for the view.
    climb the o2 for the view.
    by Pod
  • Greenwich Market
    Greenwich Market
    by wabat
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    Old Royal Naval College Chapel – Not all it seems

    by wabat Updated Feb 18, 2014

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    ORNC - Chapel
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    Wandering around the exterior of the Old Royal Naval College (formally a naval hospital to 1873 and now the University of Greenwich) and a look at the grandness of the buildings in a setting next to none will leave the visitor with little doubt that this was no ordinary hospital for convalescing seamen in the late 1700s. Enter some of the buildings and most notably the Chapel or the Painted Hall (dining room) and you will be in no doubt. These buildings were built in the days when Britain ruled the waves – the days of Rule Britannia, when the navy was the premier service and money was no object (though I will come back to that latter comment about money).

    This tip relates to the Old Royal Naval College Chapel dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, both of whom had nautical connections.

    The original, much plainer, chapel was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built by Thomas Ripley in 1751. On 2 January 1779 its was reduced to a shell by a horrific fire thought to have started in an adjoining tailors shop. The current chapel was designed by James “Athenian” Stuart, Surveyor at the Royal Hospital for Seamen, assisted by his clearly very talented Clerks of Works - Robert Mylne and William Newton, in a neoclassical Greek revival style. The beauty of the chapel is in very sharp contrast to the greyness and drabness of the college buildings (though they are not without class or grandness in their own right – they are just grey) and certainly an eye opener when you walk in.

    The intricate Wedgewood look plasterwork on the ceiling and other areas created by master plasterer John Papworth in a neo-classical design of squares and octagons will probably be the first thing to draw your attention. The central ornaments were carved, and not casts.

    The giant altar painting, some 7.5 metres high, is by American-born artist, Benjamin West and depicts the story of St Paul’s shipwreck on the island of Malta where he miraculously survived a viper's bite. The painting was specially commissioned for the chapel c1785.

    The Organ is the creation of the leading organ builder of the day, Samuel Green and was installed here in 1789. Its case is of Spanish mahogany. Look at how beautifully it blends in with the ceiling and how wonderful it sits atop six fluted marble columns.

    The text beneath the organ exhorts us to :

    “Praise him (god) with the sound of the trumpet
    Praise him with stringed instruments
    and organs” - (Psalm 150)

    Having a particular interest in fine furniture I found the James Arrow carved oak, mahogany and lime wood pulpit especially beautiful, simple and elegant. I have a particular liking for oak and mahogany so the pulpit and organ tick all the boxes for me.

    By this stage you might be wondering why I suggested that the Chapel was not all it seems to be in the title of my review. Well, even in those days while the navy and its kindred organisations were not poor, at least at the “brassier” end, costs still had to be kept in check.

    Have a look at the two sets of beautiful marble Corinthian columns at either end of the chapel - they are not marble but rather scagliola, a mixture of plaster chips coloured with pigment, and mixed with animal glue. And perhaps more striking are the life size figures of evangelists and apostles in niches around the balcony. Take a second and closer look and you will see that these are in fact paintings (by Biaggio Rebecca) which very cunningly and cleverly rely on the use of shadow and contrast to create their lifelike appearance – wonderful examples of trompe-l'œils for my more learned readers and who on VT isn’t that? You will also note that Wren’s dome which you see outside does not feature inside the chapel. So, as you see all is not as it seems in the chapel.

    Just in case you are wondering the marble columns holding up the organ are real marble.

    While the chapel underwent a major restoration in the 1950s the restoration was very strongly focused on restoring the chapel to its 1781 condition. All in all, a beautiful place to have a look around. On a previous visit there was a service in progress and while I couldn’t have a look around that time the singing was beautiful, helped by the wonderful acoustic properties of the curved ceiling.

    Opening Hours

    Mon-Sat – 10am – 5pm
    Sunday – Church Service (which you can attend) 11.30am and open to visitors 12.30pm – 5pm
    Closed December 24 -26 inclusive with restrictions on other specific days – see website.

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Guided tours of the chapel and other College buildings (some free some not) are offered. See website for further details. As I didn’t take a tour I cannot comment on them.

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    Greenwich

    by apbeaches Updated Feb 2, 2014

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    Royal Naval Academy
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    Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum and historic Cutty Sark. The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural center piece of Maritime Greenwich and a World Heritage Site in Greenwich London. It is identified as the finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles. The grounds and some of its buildings are open to visitors. The buildings were originally constructed to serve as the Greenwich Hospital, designed by Christopher Wren, and built between 1696 and 1712.

    Built in 1869 the Cutty Sark, clipper ship, served as a merchant vessel and then as a training ship. She was put on public display in 1954 where she is preserved in dry dock.

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    Boat to Greenwich

    by cleocat Written Oct 7, 2013

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    Greenwich time is known to all, but the village has more to offer than time. It is a lovely area to walk around, have something to eat at one of the many restaurants or visit the market for unique gifts. The market is open most days and very busy on weekends. A ferry trip on the Thames is a great way to see all the buildings on the banks of the river while travelling to Greenwich.

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    Greenwich Market

    by wabat Written Jul 27, 2013

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    Greenwich Market - Church Street Entrance
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    Greenwich Market operates from Tuesday to Sunday and has about 120 stalls selling arts & crafts, antiques & collectables, clothing, curiosities, vintage items, some fresh produce and takeaway food (with a few tables) – something to suit everyone. Don’t overlook the shops around the periphery of the market – mainly arts and crafts in nature as well.

    As markets go it’s a rather yuppie affair and incredibly busy as weekends though this adds to the atmosphere. While not a yuppie myself, I do enjoy this covered market, especially during the winter – grab yourself a glass (or two) of hot mulled wine and go for a wander and if your’re lucky you might even come across some classical music performed by students from nearby Trinity College of Music. I do hope you don’t come across the rendition of Shakespeare (and generally I like Shakespeare) that I had the misfortune of having to endure as I enjoyed the artwork in nearby Queens House on a recent visit.

    Greenwich Market is Royal Charter Market with the Charter granted to Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital on the 19th December 1700 for 1,000 years.

    The market was originally located on the site of the West Gate of the Old Royal Naval College though by the 1800s had spread into the surrounding dark alleys and streets. The whole area had become rather unsafe so as part of a general clean-up of the Thames bank area the market was moved a few blocks to the west and its current location.

    By the 1830s the new market contained traders selling live and dead meat, fish, eggs, butter, poultry, fruit and vegetables. It is this, rather than its current arts and crafts offering, that explains the biblical quotation over the College Approach arch - Proverbs Chapter 11 verse 1:

    “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord but a just weight is his delight”

    This early version of the market came replete with slaughterhouses for cattle and stables for horses. In 1905 the slaughterhouses were closed and the market bye-laws changed to enabling trading six days a week (Monday – Saturday). I am not sure when Monday was replaced by Sunday.

    Over the 1900s produce trade declined and by the mid-eighties action was required action to save the markets. In 1985 produce gave way to arts and crafts and the markets you see today began (based on – and perhaps surpassing if you prefer a smaller market - the successful model at Camden Lock). The cobbled pavement remains.

    Opening Times

    Tuesday through to Sunday 10AM-5.30PM

    Located a short walk from the DLR with entrances on all four sides from College Approach, King William Walk, Nelson Road and Greenwich Church Street

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    Greenwich Palace (Placentia) and the Royals

    by wabat Updated Jul 27, 2013

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    Former Site of Greenwich Palace
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    While this tip is to draw your attention to the former Greenwich Palace commemorated by a, hard to see, stone plaque I will also outline, in a very summary form, the royal connection with Greenwich.

    In 2012 and as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations the hitherto plain Borough of Greenwich became a member of a very exclusive club with only three other members (Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead). Greenwich was granted Royal status and became the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

    While the word royal and words related to royal have been, and continue to be, used with gay abandon in Greenwich for hundreds of years it has been a long time since the Royal family has lived here.

    The first recorded royal link with Greenwich is that of Edward I making offerings at the chapel of the Virgin Mary in the 13th century. Edward II acquired Eltham Palace (on the outskirts) in 1305 and it became a royal residence. This remained the main focus of royal activity in the borough until the 16th century when it was eclipsed by Greenwich Palace.

    A royal manor called Bella Court belonging to Henry IV existed on this site before Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, half brother of Henry V, built Greenwich Palace here on the banks of the Thames in 1447. Subsequent occupants renamed the palace, Placentia, the pleasant place, and it became a royal favourite for the next two centuries.

    In this time Placentia was the birthplace of three of Britain’s most famous (Tudor) monarchs - Henry VIII (1491), Mary I (1516) and Elizabeth I (1533). Henry was also christened in the nearby Church of St. Alfege. The stone plaque you see today, laid on 7 September 2003 (Elizabeth I’s birthday), is directly above the foundations of Placentia.

    Elizabeth particularly liked this palace and it was here she signed the orders that dispatched her fleet against the Spanish Armada.

    Post Elizabeth I, Greenwich lost its pre-eminent position amongst London’s royal residences – by this stage they had lots of choice. Henry VIII, in addition to his collection of wives for which he is most famous, had also amassed quite a collection of palaces – some twenty-one in fact.

    After the English Civil War the royal court was swept from Greenwich and Placentia was first used as a biscuit factory and, between 1652 and 1654, for housing Dutch prisoners of war. By the 1660s it was in decay and was demolished (after an attempt to rebuild it) by Charles II.

    From the seventeenth century onwards, royal attention focused on Greenwich’s relationship with the sea and this is what you can see around you to-day. The only remaining former royal property in central Greenwich is the Queens House – also put to alternative use post the English Civil War. This is a short walk inland from the former Greenwich Palace.

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    a visit to Greenwich

    by didier06 Written Apr 13, 2012
    Greenwich
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    Greenwich is a district of south London, it's a world heritage site famous for its maritime history and home of Greenwich mean time and the meridian line. There you can see the old royal naval college, the national maritime museum and the royal observatory.

    At the royal observatory, you can cross the Greenwich meridian (Longitude 0), there is a planetarium and also the FLAMSTEED house ( John FLAMSTEED was the first royal astronomer)in wich is located an interesting museum of the HARRISON'S sea clocks (John HARRISON was a carpenter and a clockmaker, he invented the marine chronometer and solve the longitude problem during the eighteenth century).

    As we walked in the Greenwich's market we entered the Arty globe store where we found some amazing puzzle postcards.

    One can easily get to Greenwich by the docklands light railway or the riverboat.

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    A Visit to Greenwich

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jun 3, 2011

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    The magnetic clock outside the Royal Observatory
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    The nicest way to reach Greenwich is to take a boat from Wesminster Pier. Boats leave daily from 10:00 a.m. and the trip takes about 60 minutes.

    When you reach Greenwich, make the climb to the Royal Observatory - www.nmm.ac.uk/places/royal-observatory/. This was where Greenwich Median Time was established in 1884. It is also the location of Britain's largest refracting telescope. The Observatory itself is set in a beautiful park.

    A brass rule on the ground - the Meridian line - marks the line between the Eastern and Western hemispheres of the earth. The Meridian line represents the Prime Meridian of the World - Longitude 0 degrees. You will see everyone straddling the line for a photo opp!

    Flamstead House at the observatory contains exhibits tracing the history of astronomy, sundials, sea clocks, etc. There is also a planetarium that has ongoing shows.

    Royal Observatory is open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission charge for the planetarium shows, entrance to the observatory is free.

    Other things to see while in Greenwich include the National Maritime Museum (www.nmm.ac.uk), the Cutty Sark, which is currently under restoration (www.cuttysark.org.uk/), and Greenwich Center itself. In the center are restaurant and shops. There is a market on Thursdays - Sunday that spreads out from Church Street. Crafts by local artisans, clothes, antiques, books, snacks, and produce are available at the market.

    Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this update.

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    zero time!

    by mindcrime Updated Apr 10, 2011

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    not there anymore...
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    Greenwich is one of my favorite areas. It's on the south bank of the River Thames. It is really a peaceful area with nice cafes, some good museums (like Maritime Museum where we spent a lovely hour), the Greenwich park that houses the royal observatory on the top etc.

    As you probably know Greenwich is famous as the location of Greenwich Mean Time. Go up to the hill for a great view above Maritime museum and visit the Royal Observatory and have your classic photo at zero point :) There's no entrance fee but sometimes there are long lines waiting for the photo. You can skip the line and enjoy the museum itself like we did of course...

    One of the reasons I liked Greenwich was the ship Cutty Shark (pic 1). It was built in 1869 but was damaged in a fire on 21 May 2007 and its under renovation. My last visit there (march 2010) made me sad as I couldnt see the ship

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    Sweeping Views and More

    by RhineRoll Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Maritime Greenwich and the Docklands Highrises
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    For a great view of the city, including the classical buildings of Maritime Greenwich and the high-rises of the Docklands area, head out for Greenwich Park. At the top of the hill is the famous Royal Observatory and a couple of other interesting places to check out. If you have problems going uphill, it is also possible to drive up there, coming from behind. If you keep to the right of the Observatory hill, there also is a street going upl with a somewhat gentler incline.

    The park is one of the oldest royal gardens in London. Together with Maritime Greenwich, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You might well spend a whole day visiting all the sights in the park and nearby Greenwich Village!

    This place is very popular both with Londoners and tourists. Expect crowds, especially when going there on a holiday and on a lovely day. The area is well served by public transportation including the DLR.

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    Royal Observatory

    by LanaFromRiga Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Prime meridian

    The Royal Observatory allows you to stand with one foot in the world’s western hemisphere and the another in the east.
    admission free, open 10am-5pm October – May, 10am-6pm April-September, DLR Cutty Sark.

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    Greenwich Park

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    overlooking Greenwich Park

    Greenwich Park is a great place to relax during a visit to Greenwich.

    It is the oldest Royal Park in London.

    There are excellent views across the Thames to the Docklands and Canary Wharf.

    If you are here in the warmer months make sure you bring your rug and soak up some London sunshine.

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    Royal Observatory Greenwich Village

    by Kodi01 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Royal Observatory

    Here you can get the latest on astronomy, there is a tour which is free now.

    The site includes a sunrise and sunset time calculator, equinox and solstice dates, visibility predictions for the new crescent Moon, maps of forthcoming eclipses and information on UK public holidays

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    Greenwich Hospital

    by kris-t Updated Jan 29, 2011

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    Greenwich Hospital
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    The Greenwich Hospital was founded in 1694 as the Royal Naval Hospital for Seamen.

    It is a Royal Charity for the benefit of seafarers and their dependents, with the Secretary of State for Defence acting as the Crown's sole Trustee.

    The hospital was established as a residential home for injured sailors, on the model of Les Invalides and the Chelsea Hospital. The charity now funds sheltered housing for former Royal Navy personnel and the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook in Suffolk.
    The hospital occupied its prime riverside site on the south bank of the river Thames in Greenwich, London for over 170 years, closing to pensioners in 1869.

    It was subsequently occupied by the Royal Naval College until 1998 when the site was opened to the public and the main buildings transferred to academic uses. The principal occupant is now the University of Greenwich.

    For more - see our Greenwich page.

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    Greenwich Observatory

    by kris-t Updated Jan 29, 2011

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    Greenwich Observatory
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    The observatory is the site of 0 meridian.

    The Royal Greenwich Observatory is located in Greenwich and the Prime Meridian passes through the building. Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time. While Greenwich no longer hosts a working astronomical observatory, a ball still drops daily to mark the exact moment of noon (UTC) 1pm (13:00)(BST), and there is a good museum of astronomical and navigational tools.

    The observatory is situated in Greenwich Park, which used to be the grounds of the Royal Palace of Placentia. At the bottom of the park is the National Maritime Museum which also includes the Queen's House, designed by Inigo Jones. It is free to visit all these buildings. Greenwich also features the world's only museum dedicated to fans, the Fan Museum, in a Georgian townhouse at 10–12 Croom's Hill (fee payable). Also on Croom's Hill, on the corner of the junction with Nevada Street is Greenwich Theatre, formerly Crowder's Music Hall.

    For more - see our Greenwich page.

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    Greenwich

    by mvtouring Updated Jul 18, 2010

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    1 more image

    We got a boatride to Greenwich thrown in with our Londoneye ticket, so we decided to go and check it out as we had time to spare. Upon our arrival we were met by some medieval people who decided to have a mock fight! It was great fun and really made our trip so much more memorable.

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