"GREENWICH, ENGLAND" Top 5 Page for this destination Greenwich by MarkJochim

Greenwich Travel Guide: 373 reviews and 1,026 photos

The historic city of Greenwich is the eastern approach to London and one of the area's best tourist destinations.

In the 21st century, Greenwich is known as the place from which the world's time is measured and also for its maritime associations. For many years it was the playground of Tudor royals. Henry VIII and his daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I were born here. After the Tudors, Greenwich Palace fell on hard times, becoming a biscuit factory and then a prison under Oliver Cromwell.

In 1660, the newly restored monarchy under Charles II began an ambitious plan to return the palace to its former glory. Work began on a new palace but only one riverside wing was ever built. William and Mary, who succeeded Charles, preferred the royal palaces at Hampton Court and Kensington. They ordered Sir Christopher Wren to design another wing for the unfinished building - creating the Royal Naval Hospital. Better known today as the Old Royal Naval College (the Navy moved out in 1998), this is the great edifice you see from the river today. The college was split in two because Queen Mary didn't want the view from the Queen's House (designed by Inigo Jones in 1616) blocked.

The Queen's House is now part of the National Maritime Museum. Maritime Greenwich was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Greenwich avoided the 19th century industrialization of its neighbors and today remains an oasis of bookstores, nautical antique shops and markets.

My Visit To Greenwich - May 25, 2003

Greenwich was, quite literally, my introduction to England. Our plane from New York had arrived at six in the morning; our first stop after passing through Customs & Immigration was Heathrow's Tube station - we rode the Tube to Victoria Station and left our luggage with the concierge at the hotel (still too early to actually check-in). Another short Tube trip took us to Tower Hill Station where we transferred to the Docklands Light Railway. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at Greenwich's Cutty Sark Station.

As a life-long afficianado of all things nautical, I immediately fell in love with Greenwich. Exiting the DLR station, you find yourself on a street right out of a Dickens novel. A short walk down the hill brought us to the waterfront - location of the "Cutty Sark" and Cichester's "Gypsy Moth IV" sailboat (on which Sir Francis sailed around the world in the 1960's).

Greenwich is full of history and requires more than one day to explore it in depth. In addition to viewing the historic ships and monuments on the waterfront, you can check out the Old Royal Naval College, Samuel Pepys House (location of the tourist information center), and explore the displays in the National Maritime Musuem (easily worth several hours by itself). If the weather's nice, enjoy the views from the park just north of the Queen's House or take the hike up the hill to the Old Royal Observatory to stand on the Prime Meridian.

Other recommended spots to visit in Greenwich (which, unfortunately, we didn't have time for) include the riverside Trafalgar Tavern (frequented by Charles Dickens), as well as numerous antique shops and weekend markets.

The Docklands Light Railway is a great way to travel to or from Greenwich. But make sure that you travel the other direction aboard one of the cruise boats that regularly travel the Thames between central London (Westminster and Tower Piers are the most popular) and Greenwich.

I hope you enjoy the following tips and photos...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Full of history; great for the nautical buff
  • Cons:Allow much more time than you think you'll need!!
  • In a nutshell:A London area must-see!!
  • Last visit to Greenwich: May 2003
  • Intro Updated Jun 29, 2003
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Reviews (20)

Comments (3)

  • pedersdottir's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2004 at 5:27 PM

    Thorough historical coverage of a town that deserves at least a week to explore!

  • Confucius's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2003 at 11:34 PM

    My main man, Mark! You have got the best Greenwich page on VT by far. I will definitely be sending people here for more information on this interesting destination near London.

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2003 at 5:51 PM

    Wonderful page - Have you read the book about the Gypsy Moth?


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