The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich is allowing under 18s free entry to Painted Hall Ceiling Tours from 24 July until 1 September.

6–17 year olds will be able to experience London’s largest painted ceiling for free when accompanied by an adult.

Painted Hall Ceiling Tours allow visitors to ascend a 60 foot observation deck to see the vast Painted Hall, containing the largest painted ceiling in Britain, like never before.

Painted between 1707 and 1726, the Painted Hall was painted by Sir James Thornhill, the first British artist to be knighted. Now undergoing a major conservation project, visitors have a once in a lifetime chance to experience the drama of this vast masterpiece from just a few feet away.

The conservation of the ceiling will preserve the paintings for another century, making this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Sarah Duthie, Director of Public Engagement, said: “This summer is the best chance yet for families to get up close to the many-headed hydra and spot the snake-haired Medusa on the ceiling of the Painted Hall. These characters won’t be this close for another 100 years, so put on your hard hats, climb our scaffolding steps and come and explore Thornhill’s enormous painting.”      

- END -

Notes to editors:

For more information or images contact:

Tom Ryley [email protected]

+44 (0)20 8269 4762

Listings info:


The Painted Hall,
Old Royal Naval College,


Open til September 2018 (shut 11 September 2017 – 22 October 2017)

About the Old Royal Naval College:

The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich is Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece. This British landmark encompasses some of the finest buildings in the world, and is the must-see architectural centrepiece of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

Visitors can see the magnificent Painted Hall and the Neoclassical Chapel, hear the stories of the site and of those who lived and worked here, and enjoy the beautiful historic grounds.

With a bar and restaurant serving locally sourced quality British food, the Old Royal Naval College is the perfect destination for a great day out. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Established as the Royal Hospital for Seamen by King William III and Queen Mary II in 1694, the buildings of the Old Royal Naval College were designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and from 1705 provided accommodation for retired sailors, housing as many as 2,700 residents at its peak in 1814. In 1869 the site became home to the Royal Naval College, an officers’ training academy, until 1997. When the Navy left, the site was opened to the public as an extraordinary cultural destination to enlighten, enrich and delight for present and future generations.