Greenwich the Great!
About The Tour
The famous UNESCO World Heritage Site has been brought sharply back into focus following the death of the Queen’s husband, HRH Prince Philip, whose ties went back to 1948 when he studied at the Old Royal Naval College.
One of his titles was Baron Greenwich, and a grateful council awarded him the freedom of the borough because of his work in ensuring that Greenwich became a royal borough and the 181-acre park took its rightful place on the world stage in the 2012 Olympics as the home of the equestrian events.
The place where world time begins on the Zero Meridian Line; a plethora of architecture, history and museums to explain its maritime development and the charm of its little side streets, all nestling just below the “U-bend” riverbank of Old Father Thames. That’s Greenwich in a nutshell!
Right in the centre is the 17th century Old Royal Naval College where the young Philip toiled away, now part of the University of Greenwich. You’re also close to one of its intriguing landmarks, the world-famous Cutty Sark, the last of the great merchant sailing ships that, if you visit it, gives you a great glimpse of life on board for its sailors.
But that’s not all. The National Maritime Museum charts our great naval history, the classically built Queen’s House – the result, it is said, of a rather clumsy Queen and her cussing King – gives you a glimpse of the sheer grandeur of our royal history.
And of course, there’s the Royal Observatory and a chance to straddle the line between East and West.
We have a choice of how to get there depending on how much time you’ve got. The most popular is by river from the centre – either the large Thames Cruises boat or the faster Clipper Service.
Both have their advantages. The larger boat is slower, but that means there’s more to see on your way east.
But I’m a fan of the faster, nippier Thames Clipper Service. Not just because of the shorter time, but because it’s also a commuter service and there’s nothing like rubbing shoulders with ordinary Londoners to enhance the experience.
Greenwich has a unique villagey feel, so there’s a chance to meander in the beautiful backstreets, browse through the atmospheric 18th-century market and take refreshments in the plethora of pubs, restaurants and cafes.
All of it is set in the oldest enclosed Royal Park, home to a small herd of Fallow and Red Deer and with sweeping views from the top of the hill across the River Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral, the modern City of London skyscrapers and beyond. What’s not to like?
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