Majestic architecture by Sir Christopher Wren, leafy parks, and a rich royal history: Greenwich is overflowing with things to do for tourists and locals alike. One of London’s best-kept “urban villages”, Greenwich also boasts riverside pubs, street markets, a wide variety of eating places and the finest view in London.

Here’s our top ten list of things to do in Greenwich.

1. Marvel at the Painted Hall: Reopening in 2019

Following extensive conservation work the Painted Hall Project is now in its final stages, nearing completion. Work has now begun to remove the scaffolding which was in place to allow the conservation work on the ceiling to take place, and final preparations are being made to return the hall to its former glory.

From March 2019 the Painted Hall will reopen to the public complete with a new entrance via the King William Undercroft, which will also host a new café, shop and Sackler Gallery space

Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about our plans for reopening of the Painted Hall and to be in with a chance to be invited to our exclusive pre-opening events.

If you would like to find out more about hiring the Painted Hall ahead of reopening please visit our venue hire site.

2. Visitor Centre

The story of Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College is narrated here in an interactive way. Try on Henry VIII’s jousting armour, dress up as a pensioner and try your hand at building your own design for the ORNC.

If you’re finding your feet in Greenwich it’s a great start to your trip, with free tours, maps and tourist information available. It also houses the Old Brewery, which inherits a tradition of brewing on the Old Royal Naval College since the first pensioners lived here.

Find out more about the Visitor Centre >

The Chapel at the Old Royal Naval College

The Neoclassical Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College

3. Hear an exquisite evensong in the Chapel

The Old Royal Naval College’s Chapel is a dazzling example of Neoclassical architecture, with intricate and well-preserved pastel-coloured mouldings, imposing ionic columns and a grandiose altarpiece by Benjamin West.

It is also a great place to hear music, its curved ceiling making for great acoustics. Evensong services are performed here on Mondays at 17:30 by the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir.

Learn more about the Chapel >

4. Browse the famed Greenwich Market

London is well known for its street markets, and Greenwich Market is one of the city’s best. Walk among stalls selling delicious treats, handmade and vintage clothes, artworks, and souvenirs. The market is also surrounded by a number of independent clothes shops, pubs and restaurants.

JMW Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

JMW Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (1822-1824). Oil on canvas. Image © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

5. See Turner’s famous rendition of the Battle of Trafalgar

JMW Turner, one of Britain’s best-loved artists, painted this vast naval battle scene at the height of his career between 1822 and 1824. Commissioned by George IV, it was his only royal commission and the largest painting of his career – as well as his most controversial, for diverging from the strict chronology of the battle in favour of a stunning composition.

See it for free at the National Maritime Museum, alongside relics of the Battle of Trafalgar, including cannonballs, costume, and Nelson’s posessions. Learn more on the Royal Museums Greenwich website >

The panorama of Greenwich from the park

The Old Royal Naval College, Sir Christopher Wren's riverside masterpiece, from Greenwich Park

6. Lose yourself in Greenwich Park

Turner also loved painting from the hill in Greenwich Park, arguably the best view in London. See the domes of the Old Royal Naval College against the monolithic skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and the Thames as it sweeps into central London.

Besides the view, Greenwich Park also offers a flower garden, secluded, leafy paths and even its own deer park. Two species of deer live in the deer park: Britain’s largest land mammal, the majestic red deer, and the smaller but beautiful fallow deer. You can see both from viewing points along the deer trail.

 7. Stand on the Meridian Line

Also in Greenwich Park stands the Royal Observatory, another of Sir Christopher Wren’s famed designs in Greenwich alongside the Old Royal Naval College. There is plenty to do at the Royal Observatory but the must-do experience is to stand over the meridian line. Unsurprisingly, this is also a great place to check the accuracy of your watch.

If you’re in Greenwich at night, you’ll notice a laser cutting through the sky - this originates at the Royal Observatory and marks the meridian line.

8. Stand on the deck of the Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is one of Greenwich’s most unique attractions and one of the few surviving tall ships in the country. A state-of-the-art ship in its day, now the Cutty Sark is both a preserved historical artefact and a museum of trade at the height of the British Empire.

The Cutty Sark underwent a landmark conservation before being re-opened as a state of the art museum, suspended in a permanent dry dock allowing visitors to view it from below and head up on deck. Learn more about the Cutty Sark >

9. Hop on a boat from Greenwich Pier

One of the best ways to see the entire of London, let alone Greenwich. Boats run from Greenwich pier to central London and the O2 arena, and are a fantastic way to see the city at any time of the day.

Canaletto, Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames

Giovanni Antonio Canal (called Canaletto), Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames (1750-52). Oil on canvas. Image © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

10. Journey beneath the Thames and see Canaletto’s view of Greenwich

Instead of taking the DLR or the boat, why not cross to the Isle of Dogs via foot? Greenwich foot tunnel allows pedestrians to cross beneath the Thames in a tube-like tunnel. When you emerge, you will be rewarded with another iconic view of the Old Royal Naval College, almost unchanged since it was captured by Canaletto in the early 1750s. Canaletto's painting is on view for free at the Queen’s House in Greenwich.

Find out more

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