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London/Greenwich

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View from Greenwich Observatory down to the Royal Naval College

Greenwich is the famous, maritime district of south London.

Understand

Greenwich [1] is a district of great historic importance and Maritime Greenwich is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nearby Blackheath is a leafy area of grand historic homes.

Tourist Information Centre

  • Greenwich Tourist Information Centre, Pepys House, 2 Cutty Sark Gdns, SE10 9LW, +44 0870 608 2000 (), [2].

Get in

Greenwich is located some 6 miles east of central London, on the south bank of the River Thames. Because of congestion driving is not recommended, but there are three good ways of getting to Greenwich from central London by public transport.

By boat

Several companies run river tour boats from central London piers at Westminster Bridge, the Millennium Wheel and the Tower of London, to Greenwich Pier which is adjacent to Greenwich town centre and within walking distance of the all the main attractions. £6-8; 33% discount to Travelcard holders.

Thames Clippers [3] commuter service offers an infrequent service, but is quicker and better value (£4.55, 33% off for Travelcard holders).

By Docklands Light Railway (DLR)

This automated rail system runs from central London terminals at Tower Gateway (adjacent to the Tower of London) and Bank (with interchange to the London Underground). Catch a train bound for Lewisham and get off at Cutty Sark station in the town centre. Because there is no driver and most of the route is elevated, you get a great view from the front of the passing city. Travelcards valid.

By rail

Six trains per hour run on weekdays from London Bridge (usually platforms 1 or 4) to Greenwich and Blackheath stations (travelcard zones 2/3), with four to Maze Hill (zone 3). Services begin at Charing Cross or Cannon Street stations. Travelcards valid.

By tube

North Greenwich tube station is not recommended as it is a bus ride away from Greenwich town centre and was built specifically for access to the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena). However, it is possible to walk from here along the Thames Path to Greenwich town centre, it is a bleak but peaceful industrial landscape and it will take about 45 minutes.

Get around

All the locations mentioned in this article are within easy walking distance of each other and both the Cutty Sark DLR station and Greenwich Pier. Note that the Royal Observatory is up a short but steep hill.

See

Although far from central, Greenwich is the home of several of London's more interesting tourist attractions. The combination of Greenwich Park, the Old Royal Observatory, the Queens House and the Royal Naval College make up Maritime Greenwich, which is a site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Zero meridian at Greenwich
  • The Cutty Sark, King William Walk (Adjacent to Greenwich pier), +44 20 8858 3445, [4]. 10:00-17:00, closed 24-26 Dec. A preserved tea and wool clipper built in 1869 which set the record for passage from Australia under sail. The Cutty Sark was set on fire early on 21 May 2007. Much of the ship's infrastructure had been removed, since it was in the middle of a conservation project - it has now been re-opened. £12.
  • Eltham Palace, off Court Rd, SE9 5QE, +44 20 8294 2548, [5]. 3 Feb-23 Dec 2008 M-W, Su 11:00-16:00. One of the most notable art deco buildings in London which was built and owned by the Courtaulds family of textile fame. Administered by English Heritage. £4.20-8.70.
  • Greenwich Park, [6]. 06:00-sunset. Situated on a hill rising up from Greenwich town centre, with impressive views from the hilltop across the River Thames to Docklands and the City of London. The park provides a setting for several historic buildings, including the Old Royal Observatory, the old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Queen's House. At the moment, there are many works related to the construction of sport stadiums for the Olympics in 2012 in the park. Free.
  • The National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd SE10, +44 20 8858 4422, [7]. 10:00-17:00, closed 24-26 Dec. Contains the UK's national collection of Martime artifacts (although do not expect much in the way of whole ships). One of the buildings housing the museum is the Queens House, built by Inigo Jones and the first Palladian building in England. Free.
  • The Royal Observatory, Flamsteed House (In middle of Greenwich Park), +44 20 8858 4422, [8]. 10:00-17:00, closed 24-26 Dec. The home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line, this is one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world. It was founded by Charles II in 1675 and is, by international decree, the official starting point for each new day, year and millennium (at the stroke of midnight GMT as measured from the Prime Meridian). Now a detached part of the National Maritime Museum, it houses an impressive display and a recently-built planetarium. There are several different star shows per day and are well worth the money, especially as it's now the only celestial performance of its kind around, after the London Planterium completly converted to Maddam Taussads. Free for entry to the observatory, £7 entrance for the Meridian Line and Flamsteed House, planetarium shows separate, £4.50-6.50 (combined tickets available).
  • The Royal Naval College, [9]. Painted Hall and Chapel 10:00-17:00, closed 24-26 Dec. Built by Christopher Wren in 1694 as the Greenwich Hospital for the relief and support of seamen and their dependents and for the improvement of navigation. It became the Royal Naval College in 1869, and recently the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music have moved in. Best known for its Painted Hall, with elaborate ceiling and wall paintings executed by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726. Free.
  • Rangers House at Blackheath, maintains a large ceramic collection.[10]
  • Fan Museum, the world's largest fan museum at Crooms Hill, Greenwich- for those who are big 'fans' of fans. [11]

Do

  • The o2, [12]. The former Millennium Dome has been transformed into a major entertainment complex consisting of a large arena which plays host to a number of world class acts, a cinema which includes the largest screen in the UK and numerous bars and restaurants.
  • Blackheath Heath Fireworks Display, every Guy Fawkes night (5th of November) the local council put on a spectuacular free fireworks display. In the past few years, crowds of over 100,000 have amassed so stake a good spot earlier. There is also a funfair and circus on the Heath.
  • Greenwich Picturehouse, tends to show art-house films along the High St. The large Odeon multiplex has 18-screens, but is located a bit out-of-the way, at Bugsby Way, on the way to the 02. Greenwich Theatre along Croom's Hill, hosts decent plays.
  • St. Alfrege is a beautiful Baroque church designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, (and is rumoured to have links with Occultists, Freemasons and such-like) and hosts classical music concerts and organ recitals. It's Chritsmas choir is enjoyable also.[13]

Buy

Greenwich market

Greenwich market actually consists of several markets all quite close together:

  • Greenwich Arts and Crafts Market, (Off College Approach), [14]. An indoor market also selling good food, and containing many interesting little shops.
  • The Flea Market, Thames St (easy to miss as it is hidden away down a backstreet). Selling what you would expect.
  • Greenwich Antiques Market, Greenwich High Rd. The name is a bit deceptive but it does have plenty of old books, music, clothes and jewellery.
  • The Central Market, Stockwell St. The largest part of the market that sells home ware, furniture and books.
  • Greenwich auction house, 47 Old Woolwich Rd, one of the largest auction houses in London, deals mainly with furniture and a bit of arts and crafts [15]

Shops

  • Flying Duck, Creek Road (At the bottom of the road). Loads of kitsch goodie and retro furnishings to inject a bit of glamour into your life.

Eat

Greenwich has restaurants of different types and costs.

  • La Mian Dim Sum and Handmade Noodles, Greenwich Market (Off of Romney Rd, close to Greenwich High St). A food cart within the market, using fresh ingredients, with everything, including the noodles, made to order. They stick to traditional Chinese cooking methods, including handpulling the noodles, before tossing them into a perfectly made broth. £2.50-5.50.
  • The Kings Arms, 16 King William Walk (On street leading from town centre to Greenwich Pk), +44 20 8858 4544. This pub is well situated for the tourist attractions in Greenwich and does good bar food. £5-8.
  • The Mogul Tandoori, 10 Greenwich Church St (On the outer edge of the market), +44 20 8858 6790. This restaurant provides excellent Nepalese and Northern Indian cuisine in an unusual and interesting setting (as long as you get seated downstairs, below street level).
  • Tai Won Mein noodle houses, (Near Cutty Sark DLR). Offers fantastic Chinese cuisine , well, large portions at least, at a budget price. They only take cash. Noodle Time and Saigon are located around the street, facing each other, and offer similar fare/price.
  • The Othello, 113 Trafalgar Rd, +44 20 8858 7050. A Greek restaurant a little way out from the town centre, great moussakas, and a mean steak too!

Drink

Many of Greenwich's pubs have been bought and revamped by the American-owned Greenwich Inc [16] group, a source of concern to some locals who miss the old venues, and they have built up a reputation for poor service. But commercially, they are very successful in attracting tourists.

  • Babas Cafe, 13 Greenwich South St (opposite Greenwich station and dlr). 07:00-16:00. One of oldest cafes in Greenwich great for a value for money breakfast or lunch serving traditional English dishes, Babas is renowed for a massive choice of freshly made sandwiches—a firm favourite with locals and tourists.
  • The Cutty Sark. Great pub. Best time to go is on a warm summers evening when you can sit out by the river and watch the sunset in the west. Can get pretty busy though!
  • The Greenwich Union on Royal Hill, [17]. Owned by the Meantime Brewery, based in nearby Charlton, which stocks its own range of beer in a variety of styles.
  • Auctioneer, 217 Greenwich High Rd, is a loud student-friendly beer, with cheap snakebites and pool/football tables.[18]
  • The Plume of Feathers, Park Row (Off Greenwich Park). A quaint little watering-hole, nearly on the prime meridian, with a variety of guest ales tucked away from the run-of-the mill riff-raff in Greenwich town centre. Excellent food at reasonable prices, try the delicious mixed platter for 4 to get the taste buds going!
  • Richard I, (Next door to The Greenwich Union on Royal Hill). Owned by Young's, which sells its real ales.
  • Up the Creek Comedy Club, hosts hilarious stand-up as well as music nights. 2mins walk west of Cutty Sark DLR. [19]
  • Zero Degrees, at Blackheath, is an American 'craft-brewery' pub, with chique metallic furnishings, cheap happy-hour pints and wholesome pizzas.
  • The Trafalgar Tavern, [20]. Greenwich Inc-owned. Beautiful but overcrowded. The bar is over bright and sitting outside has become less pleasant since they lined loads of benches up along the river path. Service can also be brusque.
  • Ye Olde Rose and Crown (Rose and Crown), Crooms Hill 1 (next door to the Greenwich theatre.), [21]. The Rose and Crown is a cozy bar, out of main routes in Greenwich. As a typical British pub - serves quality food and wide range of drinks (British ales, lagers, wines, spirits, coffee and tea). Friendly staff and nicely selected music.


Sleep

  • Journeys West Hostel, 86 Tanners Hill, dorms and rooms from £10, about as cheap as it gets around here!
  • St Christopher's Inn, 189 Greenwich High Rd, right next to Greenwich mainline station, rooms from £16, decent bar downstairs too
  • Onesixtwo, 162 Westcombe Hill, boutique guest house offers stylish and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi, in a quiet area away from touristy centre of Greenwich.
  • Clarendon Hotel, 8–16 Montpelier Row, Blackheath SE3 0RW, +44 20 8318 4321 (), [22]. In a lovely old converted Georgian building. Located right on Blackheath green. From £100 including full lbreakfast.
  • Devonport House, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9JW, +44 20 8269 5400 (), [23]. This Georgian-style hotel has 93 rooms all in a grand old converted building. Located right at the Maritime World Heritage site. Specialises in hosting corporate functions and seminars but the accommodation for casual visitors offers decent value. Rooms from: £65, 4* From £89.
  • Hotel Ibis Greenwich, 30 Stockwell St, SE10 9JN, +44 20 8305 1177, [24]. A typical, rather identikit Ibis hotel. Not expensive by any means though. From £67.
  • The Mitre, 291 Greenwich High Rd, SE10 8NA, +44 20 8293 0037 (), [25]. This historic old pub has 14 guest rooms upstairs. £300.
  • The Pilot Inn, 68 River Way, SE10 0BE, [26]. This 200 year old Fullers pub has just five bedrooms upstairs at reasonable rates. Close to the o2 Arena. From £79.
  • Premier Inn, 43-81 Greenwich High Rd, popular mid-range chain.

Contact

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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