Greenwich has a feeling altogether different than central London. Walking along the sidewalk through the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, you are brought back to the romantic times of exploration. From sea to space, some of the greatest explorers in history walked the grounds.
The Kid and I, who will be making a rare appearance on this post, planned a day to trace the footsteps of those great men such as Isaac Newton, who dedicated their lives to science. The buildings that make up the Maritime Greenwich Site were the setting for those men consumed in artistic and scientific endeavors and remain a lasting tribute to their accomplishments. Here are three attractions not to miss!
1. The Cutty Sark- The world’s last surviving tea clipper, is permanently docked just a stone’s throw from the Thames where she made her maiden voyage to Shanghai in 1870.
2. The National Maritime Museum- The largest maritime museum in the world (and free!) offer visitor’s a chance to learn more about cartography, the life on-board sailing vessels and see maritime art and ship figureheads. They also have a giant world map which we had a lot of fun travelling on.
3. The Royal Navy College- A magnificent building and home to the phenomenal Painted Hall designed by Christopher Wren. Often called ‘the finest dining hall in Europe’, I can’t imagine many rooms could compete for the title. A day trip to Greenwich is worth it to see the Painted Hall alone.
Our reason for visiting Maritime Greenwich, however, was not to see these incredible sites- although we did and loved them. The main goal was to climb up to the Royal Observatory, perched on a hill overlooking Greenwich with spectacular views of London. There stands the Prime Meridian Line, that invisible line of longitude that separates our earth into two hemispheres.
The highlight of the Royal Observatory is the Prime Meridian Line, but it is also home to Greenwich Mean Time which is why it has been given the nickname ‘the home of time’. Flamsteed House is another worthwhile attraction, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and once functioned as the home of some of history’s most influential astronomers. Unfortunately, the Royal Observatory is no longer an official residence of astronomers as the lights from London have become too bright.
The Royal Observatory is also the location of London’s only planetarium, which we visited to watch the ‘Sky Tonight‘ show. I highly recommend making time for a show- they last an hour and are very reasonably priced for the experience. . I can’t speak for all the shows, but the ‘Sky Tonight’ was very impressive and took us through the constellations, and the night’s sky over London. Check out the Royal Observatory website for the latest information on upcoming events.
Maritime Greenwich is free to explore, but there is a small admission cost for some of the attractions. Admission price for the Flamsteed House and the Meridian Courtyard is £7, and free for children under-5.
Note: My tickets for the Royal Observatory and planetarium show were complimentary for the purposes of this post. All opinions, as always, are my own.
As you can see, there is a lot to do at the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Have you ever been?