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Our History

From Tudor Palace to the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College is a UNESCO World Heritage site with 600 years of rich history

This iconic riverside estate boasts 600 years of rich history linking an incredible cast of monarchs and famous British figures including King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, King William and Queen Mary and Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson.

Built on the site of the Palace of Placentia, also known as  Greenwich Palace, this extraordinary building, designed by esteemed architect Sir Christopher Wren, has seen life as both a Royal Hospital and a Royal Naval College. From Henry VIII’s birthplace to Lord Nelson’s lying in state, these walls contain a wealth of key historical moments.

Become one of the 1.2m annual visitors exploring this fascinating Greenwich campus. Drop into the Visitor Centre to understand the many layered histories of these grounds, visit the iconic Painted Hall, known as the ‘UK’s Sistine Chapel’ or spend time in the St Peter & St Paul Chapel to find out why it is considered to be one of the finest 18th century interiors in existence.