UNESCO World Heritage site, birthplace of Henry VIII, home to a 183 acre Royal Park and Mean Time itself, Greenwich is a nugget of beauty, culture and history waiting to be discovered.
The bustling old-town streets are both a tourist trap and a home-from-home to University of Greenwich students, and have no shortage of restaurants, pubs and boutiques.
The oldest of the 8 Royal Parks, Greenwich park is a green oasis in the urban landscape of Southeast London. Boasting a flower garden, deer park, pavillion cafe and the famous Meridian line, there are many hours to be spent enjoying this beautiful corner of the capital.
The park is a hotspot for life’s hobbyists. For the runner, skateboarder, photographer or just the dawdler, the park accommodates for everyone with its steep inclines, winding paths and panoramic views of London. And, it’s a dog lover’s paradise. From dachshunds to great danes and everything in between, canines and their owners frequent this leafy haven all year round.
The photogenic park has made its cameo in countless films over the years, including The Parent Trap, Four Weddings and Funeral, Layer Cake and Bridget Jones’ Baby to name a few.
Old Royal Naval College
One of Christopher Wren’s architectural triumphs, the Naval College currently hosts the University of Greenwich but its grounds, Painted Hall, Chapel and cafe are open to the public. The famous historical sight is reduced to rubble in Thor: The Dark World, disguised as 19th Century Paris in Les Miserables and has been the filming location for countless other small and big screen productions, including the upcoming Virginia Woolf biopic, Vita and Virginia.
Peter Harrison Planetarium
Part of the Royal Observatory, a visit to London’s only planetarium is worth the punishing climb to the very top of the hill that it sits on. There is nothing like being reminded you’re just a tiny person hurtling through space to put the stresses of city life into perspective! Stepping inside for a tour of the Universe or to view the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition is an experience as mind-blowing as it is relaxing.
This delightful ‘sausage cafe’ is tucked away just outside the park’s gates, but is not to be missed. The handmade sausages are its main attraction, with the ‘Lethal Lucifer’ and ‘The Three Little Piggies!’ among its most playfully named (and delicious) concoctions.
Surprisingly, the meat connoisseur and the vegetarian can happily dine side-by-side here, with the menu offering veggie options just as delicious as its award winning meat dishes. The vegetarian sausage roll is highly recommended!
The Sail Loft
Bar and Restaurant
While the Sail Loft is part of the Fuller’s Kitchen chain, its location on the river Thames and unbeatable views make it a unique and unmissable dining experience in Greenwich. The completely glass front takes full advantage of its prime location and the interior has been sensitively designed to reflect the Maritime heritage of Greenwich. A great place to have a cocktail and enjoy the sunset over the Thames.
The market dates back to the 1700’s and is housed in a beautiful cobbled stoned piazza in the heart of the town. Arts and crafts, antiques, fashion and world foods can be bought here, as well as authentic souvenirs. The market is surrounded by quaint boutiques and the Admiral Hardy and the Coach and Horses - two pubs with great food and good vibes.
The Fan Museum
The museum’s conspicuous location makes it one of Greenwich’s real hidden gems. Like everything else here, the Fan Museum is steeped in history, situated across two beautiful grade II listed early 18th Century houses, opposite the theatre.
You may be wondering what, if any, appeal there is about a collection of fans. Well, the devil is in the detail. From 1930’s advertisements for Moet & Chandon, to depictions of the monarchy from the early French Revolution, each piece on show is a tiny, fan-sized window into its social and historical origins, as well as a work of art. The oldest in the collection dates back to the early 1500’s.
And if you’re really not a fan of the fans, it’s still worth making a trip here to visit the orangery with its beautiful mural and views of the Japanese-style landscaped garden.
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