London’s fog is legendary, and as the temperature drops, this is one of the best times of the year to come and see it.

Greenwich is a particularly good place to experience London fog, given its riverside location and abundance of open, green space – to which the fog tends to cling.

Early morning is the best time to catch the Greenwich fog – ideally before 9. The Old Royal Naval College site is particularly good for fog because it is removed from the road, and right next to the river. The grounds are open from 8 o clock, and usually fairly deserted – adding to the magical atmosphere.

Another great place to visit for fog is Greenwich Park, which is only 5 minutes from the ORNC. Again, the large open stretches of grass sustain fog.

As soon as the sun comes out the fog quickly burns off. But you’re lucky if you’re in Greenwich as this happens! Get to the top of Greenwich hill as quickly as possible to watch the domes of the ORNC come into view, set against the modern backdrop of Canary Wharf.

Though Greenwich’s fogs today are natural – caused by the proximity to the Thames and a cold, still winter night, London’s fog grew in fame for the famous “pea soup” of the Victorian and wartime era, a thick smog from the burning of coal and industrial fumes. This peaked in the Great Smog of London in 1952, which was fatal to thousands – often exacerbating pre-existing respiratory conditions.

Greenwich and the Naval Pensioners of the Royal Hospital got a mention in the evocative opening of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House:

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck.”

Why not take a visit to Greenwich and experience the fog for yourself? As well as beautiful exteriors, you can also learn about the history of Greenwich in our Visitor Centre.

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