If you want to spend a day in London but not head to the busy spots in the center of the city, I highly recommend heading to Greenwich for the day. Greenwich is famous for its maritime history and it’s key role in modern day timekeeping, and there are plenty of interesting places to visit in the area. From the Queen’s House to the National Maritime Museum, you will easily be able to spend a day in this corner of the city. Greenwich is accessible by DLR (Cutty Sark stop) and if you’re prepared to drive to the edge of London, travelling across to Greenwich using a Contactless or Oyster card is very affordable. Combined with the fact that most of the tourist attractions are free in the area, a trip to Greenwich can be an extremely inexpensive day out. Now let’s get onto my recommendations of things to do in the area.
1. Go shopping at Greenwich Market.
If you’re a foodie, definitely head to Greenwich Market. For a relatively small market, there are lots of different lunch options that you wouldn’t be able to get from a generic cafe. There are also plenty of gift stalls that sell art and unique handmade items. On a recent trip I came across Movie Mats: a stall which sells drinks coasters that contain snippets of original film reels. The coasters are really unique and ideal for presents. If you head to Greenwich Market before Christmas, who knows what goodies you’ll find for your family and friends.
2. Go and see the Cutty Sark.
It’s expensive to go inside the Cutty Sark at £12.15 each (online price) so we’ve never actually gone inside, but I definitely recommend going to see the outside of the historic boat whilst you’re in Greenwich. The boat is located next to the Thames and at the edge of Greenwich’s historic maritime area, which is literally footsteps from the DLR station that you should arrive at. The boat is nearly 150 years old, so it’s a really spectacular sight to see if you’re a fan of maritime history.
3. Visit The Queen’s House.
The Queen’s House is located next door to the National Maritime Museum and it’s completely free to go inside. For a royal location this is absolutely amazing and there is so much historic artwork to see as you wander around the 17th century building.
4. Have a picnic in Greenwich Park.
Greenwich Park is absolutely beautiful in the Summer. The park is surrounded by the Old Naval College and the Queen’s House, so it’s set back from the busyness of central Greenwich and it’s a relatively peaceful spot to visit in London. We took sandwiches and snacks with us when we last visited the area so that we could have a mini picnic in the park. It was a great place to sit and have lunch as there is just so much history to look at in the park.
5. Visit the Royal Observatory.
This is where you can learn about timekeeping and navigation. You can find the Meridian Line inside the museum where you can place a foot in the Eastern and Western hemispheres, but as I said in my free things to do in London
post, there is a section of the line outside the Museum gates where you can do exactly the same thing. If you’re interested in learning about how GMT and world time works I definitely recommend paying the £13.50 to go inside the museum though.
Greenwich is such a fascinating place to visit that is full of maritime history. If you’re staying in London for a while, try and keep a day free for sightseeing in Greenwich. It’s on a totally different side of London to the main tourist sights, so you’ll want to pencil in some time to see Greenwich on its own.
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This is great! Thanks for sharing 🙂 It's been a while since I've been to Greenwich. I didn't know about the Queen's House so I'll have to visit next time.