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Old Royal Naval College to reopen with outdoor and digital offerings from 12 April


Wed 10 Mar 21

We are looking forward to safely welcoming visitors from 12 April 2021, with online and outdoor events including digital workshops by illustrator Nick Ellwood, outdoor guided and self-guided tours, and the reopening of the gift shops and café.

Illustrator Nick Ellwood, whose wonderfully mischievous drawings feature in the Painted Hall Family Trail, will have a physical exhibition Mischief and Misadventure when guidelines allow, opening from May 2021. Running in advance of this will be online drawing workshops for children and adults. Release your inner child with Ellwood’s April workshops, where participants will be guided through practical assignments to learn children’s book illustration. The May workshops will bring history to life as Ellwood guides participants through drawing tips and practical activities in these illustration masterclasses. If budding illustrators wish to learn more with family or friends, Ellwood will also be offering bespoke online group workshops in the spring, so larger groups can enjoy learning to draw from the comfort of their own homes.

Those visiting us will be able to enjoy exploring our stunning grounds from 12 April, with the help of guided and self-guided tours. Guided tours, provided by the excellent and knowledgeable volunteers, will run four times daily showing off our beautiful grounds and exteriors of our Sir Christopher Wren-designed buildings. Guided tours will be limited to 5 people and must be pre-booked. Visitors can also take part in any of the three free self-guided tours of the Old Royal Naval College on the Smartify app. The Building Detectives tour takes families on a treasure trail around the outdoor spaces, allowing children to enjoy some time learning about their local history outside. The architecture tour takes visitors on a journey around the outside of the iconic domed buildings, and the Greenwich Pensioners Tour, launching in April, will allow users to follow in the footsteps of the former naval officers and mariners who lived here.

The gift shops, in the Visitor Centre and King William Undercroft, will also be reopening from 12 April, so you can discover our extensive range of gifts, books, jewellery, and homewares. In the meantime, you can shop with us online. The Old Brewery is resuming outdoor service from 12 April, and is taking bookings on their website. Pop-up food stalls on the King William Lawn every weekend will feature hot and cold foods, a bar, and delicious pre-made picnics and afternoon teas to enjoy on the lawns. You’ll be able to hire a deckchair or picnic blanket for use in the grounds to enjoy your picnics and the riverside views. For anyone who can’t wait, our popular ice cream cart and food van will be open for take away in the grounds over the Easter weekend, and then every weekend from 12 April onwards.

Exciting digital offerings include award-winning British-Nigerian playwright Adeola Solanke’s Phillis in London, which is available to watch now. The play, filmed in the magnificent Painted Hall, follows Phillis Wheatley, the first Black poet published in English, on her 1773 visit to London and the Old Royal Naval College. The vital and fascinating exhibition Black Greenwich Pensioners is closing after a successful run since September, and we’ve made the exhibition available online for free so you can still learn about the important and complex history of Black naval mariners in Greenwich.

2021 promises to have a great spring and summer with fun events for all the family; with a wide-ranging offering including art, culture, history, outdoors and great food and drink, we really do have something for everyone.

Events will be subject to government Covid-19 restrictions.