Although many visitors skip Greenwich as they feel it is too far from central London, this borough is worth a visit.
It lies on the banks of the River Thames and is famous for its maritime history. It offers many attractions that include the Cutty Sark, a restored 19th-century ship, the huge National Maritime Museum, and the Old Royal Naval College.
To the north is the modern O2 arena that sits on a peninsula and the Royal Observatory which is the site of the Greenwich Meridian and the Greenwich Mean Time, overlooking the Greenwich Park.
During the 15th century it became the home of the Palace of Placentia, a royal palace where many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were born. During the English Civil War, its condition deteriorated and it was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren as the Royal Naval Hospital for sailors.
In 1873, these buildings were used as the Royal Naval College and as military education establishment until 1998, when they were taken over by the Greenwich Foundation. Its historic rooms are open to the public.
Here Are Reasons Why You Must Visit Greenwich on a Trip to London:
It can easily be reached from central London if you use the DLR and get down at Island Garden. You will be treated to a spectacular view of the Royal Hospital, the Cutty Sark and the Queen’s House.
This view was depicted by Canaletto in his famous picture nearly 250 years ago and ever since then, it has remained pretty much the same. After enjoying the breathtaking view, you can take the Greenwich foot tunnel running beneath the Thames and walk across the river to the other side in a few minutes.
Greenwich can also be accessed by National Rail that has stations at Greenwich and Maze Hill and offers services to London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Cannon Street via Bexleyheath, London Cannon Street via Sidcup, Dartford and Gillingham.The DLR has services from Greenwich and Cutty Sark to Lewisham, Canary Wharf, Stratford and Bank.
You can also reach Greenwich by tube going to Greenwich tube station, which is on the Jubilee line and offers westward services through central London to Stanmore, and eastward services to Stratford. Several transport for London buses services also link Greenwich to areas including Catford Central London, Elephant and Castle, Eltham, Lewisham, Peckham, New Cross, Sidcup, Thamesmead, Waterloo and Woolwich. River boat services are also available to reach Greenwich Pier.
No less important than the Tower of London and Hampton Court in the matter of having Royal residences, Greenwich along with Whitehall, Richmond, Hampton Court and Windsor were the settings for the court during the winter as it moved among these locations.
Greenwich was the birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as well as the place where the marriage of Henry VIII to both Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves took place. The Tudor palace of Greenwich is no longer there but in its place the Stuarts built the Queen’s House.
With thousands of restaurants located all over the city and offering different types of delectable dishes of a variety of cuisines, London is an ideal place for gourmets to visit.
The Amazing Cutty Sark:
One of the last tea clippers and the fastest to be built, the Cutty Sark now lies on a complex structure that gives a feel of floating in a glass wave.
It was built in 1869 on the River Clyde for the Jock Willis Shipping Line. This British clipper ship was the result of a long period of design development which finally ended the era of sailing ships when steam propulsion was introduced. Switching over from the tea trade to trading in wool from Australia, the Cutty Sark was sold to a Portuguese company and served as a cargo ship before being bought in 1922 by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman who converted it into a training ship.
Later, it was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College in 1938. By 1954, the ship was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display. After plenty of restoration, it is now open to the public and provides an exhilarating experience of walking underneath the ship without getting crushed by it. Both adults and kids enjoy visiting the ship and learning about its historic role in tea and wool trade.
The Queen’s House:
Designed by Inigo Jones and finished in 1638, it is the first classical building in England and is the result of Inigo’s study of Roman and Renaissance architecture in Italy.
It is an ideal place to visit for anyone interested in architecture. Its highlights are the tulip staircase and the great hall and it is free to visit. According to history, it was given by James I to his wife to atone for having sworn at her in public after one of his favourite dogs was accidently shot by her.
Royal Observatory and the Meridian:
Founded by Charles II in 1675, the Royal Observatory is where each new day, year and millennium starts, by international agreement.
It also reveals the story of how longitude at sea was determined. All the prototypes of the clocks of John Harrison who won the competition to find longitude at sea of timekeeping is maintained accurately within 2 minutes on a journey across the Atlantic, can be seen at the Observatory in Greenwich.