A morning cruise down the River Thames brought us to the UNESCO World Heritage Greenwich Village, centre of London’s maritime history. Here we found market stalls, Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Maritime museum. So many interesting things to do in a day in Greenwich.
Scenic Thames ferry ride.
Taking the ferry from Westminster, which we found was included in our Opal Card, proved a much cheaper option than booking an official river cruise.
As we cruised past the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, the Shard and London Eye, under the many bridges on the Thames and past historic riverside mansions,the crew gave us a humorous and informative commentary along the way for the cost of a gold coin donation towards the Christmas Party.
Things to see in Greenwich
Centrepiece of the Greenwich pier is the Cutty Sark, an original 19th century tea-clipper which had once been used to carry tea back from China. Once renowned for her record breaking speeds, the ship now stands as an interactive museum display, where visitors can learn about the rigours of sea life.
Visiting on a Sunday, we were fortunate to find the Greenwich Markets bustling with activity, browsing the stalls filled with arts, cottage crafts ,antiques and produce. We did of course pick up a couple of bargains to stash in the suitcase as a souvenir of our visit.
Royal Greenwich Observatory
Enjoying a leisurely stroll up the hill to the Greenwich Observatory we were rewarded with both spectacular views and the opportunity to explore the Greenwich Meridian.
Standing either side of the official meridian line we were officially standing with one foot in each hemisphere.
Charles II established the observatory in 1675 to promote safer navigation. Today you can still browse through the many astronomical instruments and many other maritime and navigation artifacts.
Set in the original Royal Gardens, the Greenwich Naval college was originally a royal palace, notably the birthplace of Henry II, and later a naval hospital. It was unfortunately closed for renovations the day of our visit, so we were unable to enjoy the famous painted hall and chapel inside, but did enjoy a good wander around the outside.
National Maritime Museum
We were however able to join the many Londoner’s strolling and picnicking in the Royal Gardens, before heading to the Queen’s House- now the National Maritime Museum. Here we found an extensive exhibition of naval memorabilia, some ranging back to Tudor and Stuart history. Uniforms, instruments, artworks and collectibles all form part of the collection.
No visit to an English town would be complete, however without continuing our research into London pubs, so it was to the pub we headed to relax in wing-back chairs and enjoy some great London pub-grub before our ferry ride back to Westminster.
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