What to Do in Greenwich

One of my favourite things about living in London is getting to explore all the diverse boroughs and neighbourhoods it has to offer. Greenwich, a charming borough in London, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and parks, and one to visit when in town. Located on the banks of the River Thames, Greenwich offers a perfect blend of historical landmarks, maritime heritage, and lush green spaces. I recommend spending a full day here as there are a number of things to do.

How to Get to Greenwich

Greenwich is fairly well-connected and easily accessible by various modes of transport. There’s no direct London Underground line to Greenwich, but you could take the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich Station and then a short bus or taxi ride. By rail, you can take a direct train from London Bridge or Cannon Street to Greenwich Station. Or for a more scenic route, take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) from Bank or Tower Gateway to Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich. I would avoid driving to Greenwich as parking can be limited and very expensive in London.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to get to Greenwich is by riverboat! We took a Thames Clipper boat from Vauxhall to Greenwich Pier and got stunning views of London’s riverside landmarks, including Big Ben! There are a number of places to board from within Central London.

What to Do in Greenwich

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Greenwich!

Visit the Royal Observatory

Perched on a hill in Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory is a historic centre for astronomical research and navigation. It’s famous for being home to the Prime Meridian Line and it marks the starting point for the world’s time zones; Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It was fascinating to learn how the observatory played a pivotal role in the development of accurate sea navigation and timekeeping.

royal observatory greenwich

The museum features exhibits across astronomy, navigation, and time. Key highlights within the Royal Observatory itself are the Octagon Room, the Harrison timekeepers and the Great Equatorial Telescope. Outside you can stand with one foot on either side of the Prime Meridian Line which was cool!

prime meridian line in greenwich

Check out their official site for tickets and ticket deals e.g. You can buy a combi-ticket which gives you entry to the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark for 25% off. As the Royal Observatory is in Greenwich Park, you can coordinate your day to combine the two together.

Peter Harrison Planetarium

The Royal Observatory is also home to London’s only planetarium; the Peter Harris Planetarium. This state-of-the-art astronomical education facility features a 120-seat digital theatre equipped with high-definition projection technology, offering immersive space-themed shows and presentations. This educational hub, provides insights into astronomy, the solar system, and the universe through interactive exhibits and expert-led events.

They host different shows daily so it’s worth checking their schedule for more information ahead of visiting. Adult tickets cost £12.50.

Wander Through Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park is one of London’s largest green spaces, offering beautiful gardens, ancient trees, and stunning views of the city skyline. Perfect for a leisurely stroll, picnic, or simply relaxing in the natural surroundings. There are a number of cafes and shops nearby, where you can buy food to bring to the park. I loved sitting here and watching London’s skyline! I’ve heard it’s even more magical at sunset! This is perfect to do before or after visiting the Royal Observatory.

greenwich park in autumn

Stroll Through Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market is a bustling hub of creativity and culture, offering a wide variety of handmade crafts, unique gifts, antiques, and delicious street food. It’s an excellent spot to pick up souvenirs or enjoy a meal from one of the many food stalls. There’s a great range of food options here, with food stalls showcasing traditional British foods to international cuisines.

The indoor market dates back to 1737 and it’s the only market in London located within a World Heritage Site. The market is open every day (including bank holidays!) from 10am – 5.30pm. This is especially worth checking out in December, when all the Christmas lights, decorations and stalls are on.

Get a Pint at a Traditional Pub

Greenwich is home to a number of brilliant traditional pubs! We enjoyed a few pints after a long day of sightseeing at the Kings Arms. But there are a number of pubs to choose from. Many in this area have traditional interiors, so if you’re not from the UK, it’s worth checking out pubs in this area.

Take a River Cruise

A river cruise is a great way to see London from a different perspective. There are a number of operators offer sightseeing cruises departing from Greenwich Pier, providing a relaxing journey along the Thames with commentary on the sights.

If you decide against a river cruise, consider doing your journey to/from Greenwich by river. We took the Thames Clipper to Greenwich Pier and it was a great alternative to the tube/train. Passing by landmarks like Big Ben and MI5, it opted as a great way to get to Greenwich. Prices and timetables can be found on the Thames Clipper Site.

The National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is home to more than 2 million items relating to British Maritime history. This includes art, ship models, navigational instruments and other artefacts. There are a number of exhibits, displays and rooms to explore so give yourself plenty of time to make the most of it. My favourite part was learning more about Lord Nelson, the Battle of Trafalgar and seeing his belongings!

national maritime museum

The museum is free and you don’t need to book ahead. However, they advise to book a free ticket to guarantee entry – I imagine this primarily applies during busy times like weekends and school holidays. Visit their official site for more detailed information on what’s on, any closures and booking your free tickets.

Discover the Cutty Sark

One of my favourite things to do in Greenwich was visit the Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper ship. This iconic ship, located near the riverfront, provides an immersive experience of life on board a 19th-century sailing vessel. As someone who isn’t normally hugely passionate about ships, I found this fascinating and would highly recommend visiting.

You’ll be able to learn about what life on-board the Cutty Shark was like, hear about its famous expeditions and see the Captain’s cabin. You can head beneath the hull to get a different perspective of the ship and head up deck to get great pics with London’s skyline. Our ticket included full access to explore the Cutty Sark and audio guides. I believe there’s an option for a Cutty Sark Rig Climb, but as I’m terrified of heights, I couldn’t think of anything worse. Check out the Cutty Sark site for more information and to buy tickets in advance.

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College

Often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of the UK,” the Painted Hall is a masterpiece of baroque art. The stunning ceiling and wall paintings depict British naval victories and the glory days of the British Empire. Adult tickets cost £16.50 and include guided tours.

If you’re not able to find time for this, it’s definitely worth visiting the Old Royal Naval College building itself. As it’s in the centre of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, the building and surrounding areas are stunning. Check out their official site if you want more detailed information on tickets, booking and what’s on.

Visit the Queen’s House

We unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the Queen’s House during our day in Greenwich, however, we walked around the outside and it’s stunning! The former royal residence is now an art gallery, showcasing an impressive collection of fine art, including works by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Turner. The Queen’s House is open from 10am- 5pm daily and is free entry. For more information on potential room closures and to book your free tickets, visit their official site.

Tips for a Great Time in Greenwich

  • Plan Your Visit: To make the most of your day, plan your itinerary in advance. Check the opening times of attractions and book tickets where necessary.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: A day trip here will involve a fair amount of walking, especially if you plan to explore the park and historic sites.
  • Stay Hydrated: Bring a water bottle, especially in the summer months. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to take breaks.
  • Use Public Transport: Parking can be challenging, so it’s best to use public transport.
  • Check the Weather: London’s weather is very temperamental so it can be hard to plan ahead. Greenwich Park and some attractions are best enjoyed in good weather, so pick a sunny day or bring an umbrella/raincoat if it’s forecast to rain.
  • Enjoy Local Food: Take the opportunity to sample local delicacies at Greenwich Market or nearby eateries. The area offers a variety of cuisines to suit all tastes.

Greenwich is a great day out in London, offering a blend of history, culture and ample of green space. Whether you’re enjoying the museums, markets or beer gardens, there’s plenty of things to do. Plan ahead to have a great trip! Otherwise, if you’re looking to go further afield, consider a day trip to Cambridge or a weekend away in Liverpool!

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