A day out in Greenwich: things to do in London

October 31, 2014 9:00 am

Greenwich is one of London’s most loved boroughs and is a honeypot for locals and visitors alike. Head south east down the River Thames and you’ll arrive at the home of some of London’s most iconic museums and monuments, with a great scientific, astronomic and maritime history to be discovered.

As Londoners, we love Greenwich, so much so that we’ve teamed up with our fourth attraction in the area: the Royal Observatory and from November 2014, London Pass holders can visit for free and learn all about its scientific influence.

To help you make the most out of the area, we’ve come up with an itinerary of things to do in a day in Greenwich. From morning until night, you can find plenty of museums, markets and monuments to explore; we’ll tell you how:

Morning:

Make the Royal Observatory your first port of call as you get off the DLR at Cutty Sark. The Royal Observatory embodies Britain’s first foray into astronomy and is home to the Greenwich Mean Time and Prime Meridian line. As one of the most important historic and scientific sites in the world, it offers visitors the chance to learn about the ground-breaking discoveries of the 18th century through interactive displays and galleries through exploring the original Flamsteed House.

To give you a bit of context, the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time line unified times around the world and set a universal ‘standard’ to measure with – something we take so much for granted now! Before then every country kept to their own local time and it wasn’t until the 1850s and 1860s when railway networks and communications became international that there was a real need for a ‘time standard’.

At the Royal Observatory visitors can have one foot over each side of the line and be in both eastern and western hemispheres at once – one of the most popular features of the Observatory and definitely a photo-worthy opportunity!

Coffee break:

Next, walk down the hill towards the National Maritime Museum – our next stop. But just around the corner is the Biscuit Ceramic Café which does great coffees and cakes, if you need a sugar hit!

Once you’re ready to go again, and had your fill of planetary observations and astronomical delights, move on from stars to ships, at the Royal Observatory’s sister museum; the National Maritime Museum. Here you can learn about the tales of explorers and brave sailors through an extensive collection of seafaring artefacts and displays. As the largest maritime museum in the world, it’s a fascinating place to learn about Britain’s maritime history and with a wide variety of exhibitions and events on throughout the year it’s well worth a visit.

Lunch:

Bustling with young students, locals and visitors alike, Greenwich is a great place to stop for a cup of coffee and window shopping – but it’s even better for its famous food market, Greenwich Market. Established in 1737 it offers a smorgasbord of food stalls six days a week (Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00-17:30) which will have you salivating all the way home.

Sample marmalades and jams, to authentic dim sum and dumplings; or how about Dutch poffertjes or a vegan muffin? It’s not all just food though, there are also a huge array of artists and designers who run their own stalls selling art and craft, as well as antiques and vintage pieces (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00-17:30).

Don’t forget to bring petty cash as not all stalls have card readers.

Afternoon:

After lunch, get the mind going again and find something really different in the area. Experience the unique Fan Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to fans and every aspect of their production. Greenwich’s Fan Museum contains over 4,000 antique and unique fans dating as far back as the 11th century. The museum will take you through exhibitions about their social importance and cultural significance over time, from Chinese Geishas to French aristocrats. A must-visit when you’re in this World Heritage Site – and you’ll probably never visit anything like it again!

Before you call it a day, squeeze in one last visit and head to the historic building and prestigious art gallery, Ranger’s House to tour the extensive Wernher Collection. With over 700 works to be admired from the Dutch Old Masters to the Renaissance, the collection will take you through some of the most important movements in art history; not to mention give you a glance through Sir Julius Wernher’s personal tastes. Take a step back and admire this old Georgian, red-brick building as a monument in itself, as well as – arguably – Greenwich’s finest gallery.

Evening:

Wind up your busy day in Greenwich in one of the most iconic pubs in London. The Gipsy Moth, overlooking the Cutty Sark claims one of the most hard-to-beat views of any riverside pub. The Gipsy Moth is a great all-weather pub with a cosy interior and extensive beer garden for those warmer, sunny days. A great place to unwind with one of their speciality beers and ciders (even potato vodka…) it’s the icing on the cake for a day out in Greenwich.

 

London Pass customers get free entry to The Royal Observatory – saving £7.70 on admission costs

London Pass customers get a free souvenir at the National Maritime Museum, as entry is free to the public

London Pass customers also get free entry to the Fan Museum and The Wernher Collection at Ranger’s House

 

Greenwich is connected to the DLR and regional train lines running into both Cutty Sark and Greenwich stations from central London. If you opt for the London Pass with Travel package, journeys to and from these stations will be covered so you can visit with ease!

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