Things to do in Greenwich
This post was created in collaboration with Visit London and Visit Greenwich, who invited me to spend a weekend in Greenwich and paid for my accomodation and food. All recommendations are my own and chosen from across different visits I've made in the last few years.
It didn't take long for Greenwich to become one of my favourite places in London to spend a sunny Saturday in the park, take my family when they visit or go to the Planetarium to zoom through the stars. Whether you're a Londoner who hasn't had a chance to visit yet, or are just taking a trip to London and are looking for something a bit different, here are my favourite spots.
The Queen's House
If Greenwich has an abundance of anything, it's gorgeous buildings, which also happen to be museums! The Queen's House was built between 1616 and 1635, for Anna of Denmark, the queen of King James I. (I can't deny that while writing any museum or historical building descriptions I usually have a Wikipedia tab open too, haha.) We got to do a private tour around the museum, and one of my favourite facts is that the gap between the Old Royal Naval College buildings is the same size as the Queen's House, leaving the view to the Thames free for the queen to enjoy. The museum also contains the stunning and newly restored Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (you'll recognise it when you see it), and we especially enjoyed watching a video that detailed the conservation efforts. The beautiful walkways down the side of the building, which also run underneath the building, are actually situated where the street used to be, which meant that the Queen's House conveniently had entrances at both the park and Thames side. Entrance is free, so make sure you include a visit in your day planning.
Old Royal Naval College and the painted hall ceiling tour
The Painted Hall was a new discovery for me and it's one I would highly recommend. I'd popped my head in before, but since it looked like it was under construction I wasn't keen to go in for a tour. Turns out, that's part of the actual appeal! Since they're doing conservation work on the ceiling and have scaffolding set up for the next few months, the tour will take you all the way up to the ceiling (you will even get a mirror so you don't have to stretch your neck) and show you all the hidden features you wouldn't be able to see from the floor. There's so much interesting symbolism that would have very obvious to people at the time, but needs a bit of extra explanation for modern day visitors. The scaffolding won't be there forever, so make sure you plan your visit before it's gone.
You might also recognise the backdrop of the Old Royal Naval College from its many appearances on the big screen, including Thor 2, Les Miserables, The King's Speech and Sherlock Holmes.
I love my boats most when they're on land. Cue, the Cutty Sark. It used to be the fastest sailing ship of its time, now it's a parked on land in Greenwich. You can visit all the different levels, and it's especially good to visit with kids or do the odd Titanic reenactment at the front.
The Royal Observatory and Meridian Line
It's time to geek out! Yes, I did get my boyfriend a couple's annual membership to the Royal Observatory and Planetarium for his birthday, and here's us standing right on top of the Meridian Line. You know, the one that is the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time (the time zone)? Yep, that's it! Inside there is also a really gorgeous museum with lots of historical items related to the heavens, navigating and star gazing.
Even if you're not stopping by the Observatory, make sure you climb the hill to get an amazing view of all of Greenwich.
Peter Harrison Planetarium
It's London's only planetarium! Sit back, relax and enjoy a tour through the universe. There's a couple of different shows, but they're super fun for both kids and adults, and I feel like I've learned so much during my multiple visits. And even if you're not interested in learning how to navigate by the stars, it's still a gorgeous visual to watch.
Time for a food break. The Old Brewery is, like you might expect, actually an old brewery. They severe a nice variety of dishes and the large copper distillery vats add lots of extra charm to the venue. It's a beautiful place to get some food or just grab a drink and take a breather.
If you love a food market, you're in the right place. I happened to stop by when the Vegan Vibes market was on, and I loved the food and atmosphere. I haven't found a ton of restaurants I love in Greenwich yet, but the market is always a solid choice for lunch. If you'd like to see which markets are on, you can check out the events here.
How to get there
There are a ton of different ways to get to Greenwich, so pick your favourite option below:
- Take the DLR straight to the Cutty Sark
- Or get off the DLR one stop early at Island Gardens and walk under the Thames via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (there's also a lovely City Farm near Island Gardens).
- If you prefer a boat, the Thames Clipper can take you to Greenwich from Westminster, Tower Bridge and a few other locations.
- You can also take a Southeastern train directly from London Bridge (travel time: 8 min)
I hope you enjoyed tagging along with me and seeing all the absolutely stunning sights. And now it's your turn to take on Greenwich for a weekend adventure. See you there soon!
Massive thanks to Visit London and Visit Greenwich, plus Mr. Greenwich, who's an incredible tour guide.