Arrive by river with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers and start your day with a stroll along our spectacular Greenwich riverside location, taking in some of the best views of what UNESCO has referred to as the “finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”. Stand in front of the Water Gates in Lower Grand Square and snap a pic at one of the most Instagrammed locations in London, capturingthe twin domes of the Painted Hall and Chapel, with the Queen’s House in between.
Head into the King William Undercroft to pick up your Painted Hall tickets and map and take some time to browse the shop before heading upstairs. Remember to make a mental note of everything you want to pick up on your way out, treat yourself.
Have your camera ready for the first glimpse of the Painted Hall, as you will be blown away by what you see! If you are not taking a tour with one of our guides, you can choose to take a multimedia guide available in 7 languages. Your multimedia guide starts in the vestibule, and will guide you through the Painted Hall, revealing the hidden secrets in the paintings, and helping you see the characters in a new light. Lay back on the benches and see if you can establish how many and which British rivers are represented in Thornhill’s masterpiece, and if you have time you can even seek out your zodiac sign.
When you head back down to the Undercroft, make sure to rest a moment and grab a tea or coffee in the Painted Hall Café. Afterwards, pick up a few mementos in the shop before venturing outside and down College Way to the Visitor Centre, where you can join a ‘500 Years of History’ tour of the rest of the grounds and buildings.
The site tour will include a visit to our spectacular Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, where you’ll learn about the Chapel’s fascinating history and admire the enormous altarpiece by Benjamin West (1738-1820), the artist known as the ‘American Raphael’. The painting depicts the Biblical story of St Paul and his shipwreck at Malta.
You will then take the spiral staircase down to the fascinating Skittle Alley which has provided entertainment for generations of naval pensioners, experience a truly unique space and hear about the Victorian version of ten-pin bowling. Take in the history of the space as a once makeshift mortuary and an infirmary before it became the Skittle Alley. You may even be able to try your hand at getting a strike!
Why not extend your day and take a short trip to the Cutty Sark which is within a few minutes walking distance from the Old Royal Naval College. Delve into the history of the last tea clipper which is over 150 years old and has travelled the globe visiting every major world port.
Complete your trip with a walk around Greenwich and visit the historic indoor market which is open daily. You’ll find street food, coffee and cake shops, antiques, fashion, and boutique shops. The market has up to 120 stalls on its busiest days, usually at the weekends. You can’t leave without sampling some hearty traditional fare or a local craft beer at the vast choice of local historic English pubs, including, the Admiral Hardy, Coach and Horses, The Spanish Galleon, and the Gypsy Moth. Many have live music nights, which is worth noting for your next trip back to Greenwich.
For the journey back on by Uber Boat or DLR, why not indulge yourself and pick up a freshly ground coffee from Paul Rhodes along with some handcrafted breads and cakes straight from the oven to enjoy on your journey home, back into central London or back to your hotel.
Alternative Travel Options
In addition to arriving by river or DLR, you can travel by train into Greenwich Station. Mainline rail services run from Cannon Street, London Bridge and Dartford to Greenwich (South Eastern) and twice an hour (once an hour at weekends) from Luton, West Hampstead, Kings Cross St Pancras, Farringdon, Blackfriars and stations from Rainham, Kent (Thameslink). The Old Royal Naval College is also a short walk from Maze Hill Station.
Those arriving at the Old Royal Naval College by coach, can use the drop-off point in Stockwell Street (SE10 9JN). There is free coach parking on Norman Road (SE10) and Charlton Way (SE3). Paid coach parking can be found on Park Row/Romney Road (SE10 9NL).