Arrive Friday evening
Arrive by river with Uber Boat by or Thames River Sightseeing, taking in the beautiful riverside attractions on your way to Greenwich where you can make your way to your hotel*.
The DoubleTree by Hilton is a short walk through Greenwich town centre, approx. 20 minutes’ and is a beautiful 1940s hotel which was once a police headquarters. Along Greenwich High Road you will find the Ibis, Novotel, and Staycity Aparthotels. If you prefer to travel by train, then Deptford Bridge DLR Station is close by, a few streets away from these hotels. Additionally, The Clarendon Hotel is in a delightful location, overlooking historic Blackheath, accessible through the scenic Greenwich Park, (approx. 30 minutes’ walk away from the centre of Greenwich).
If you’d prefer to be closer to The 02, then The InterContinental London – The O2, an IHG hotel offers accommodation in the Greenwich Peninsula area. London City Airport is just 5.1 miles whilst the Excel Arena is 4 miles away. North Greenwich tube station is just a 5-minute walk away. Guests have a choice to dine from one of three restaurants and there are also two bars, the Clipper Bar and Eighteen Sky Bar, both offer views of Canary Wharf and the River Thames.
Greenwich Park is within close reach to all the hotels mentioned above. The park’s 183 acres is home to one of London’s iconic views, where you will want to stand on the Prime Meridian, and no doubt will have already planned your visit to the Royal Observatory for Saturday or Sunday. Once you’ve unpacked you can start getting to know the local area and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the beautiful park and capitalise on the excellent photo opportunities and the majestic views across London. Take advantage of the different light of the evening and capture the magic of the modern backdrop of Canary Wharf on the north side of the River Thames.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can even take a trip under the River Thames, through the Victorian foot tunnel. The Greenwich foot tunnel is located at the dome by the Cutty Sark ship and is a great way to discover the area around Island Gardens (DLR) on the north side. It’s also a great photo opportunity for some amazing shots of Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College from across the other side of the river. The Greenwich foot tunnel opened in 1902 and was designed by engineer, Sir Alexander Binnie and constructed by contractor John Cochrane & Co. The tunnel replaced an expensive and sometimes unreliable ferry service and was a lifeline for workers living south of the Thames to reach their workplaces in the docks and shipyards in the Isle of Dogs. It’s even a filming location, with scenes from Trainspotting and 28 Weeks Later, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s thrilling sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days being filmed here.
However, if you’re remaining on the south side of the river, then enjoy the unobstructed view from the Queen’s House up to the Royal Observatory from a stroll through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College which are open daily from 8am until 11pm, remember to note that Greenwich Park closes at 9pm (in the summer months).
You may well have worked up an appetite for dinner and a drink by now and be ready to grab some hearty traditional fare or a local craft beer at the choice of local historic English pubs such as the Trafalgar Tavern, The Yacht, Admiral Hardy, Coach and Horses, The Spanish Galleon, or The Gipsy Moth. You might even be lucky and stumble upon some live music in one of these traditional drinking establishments.
Chat to the locals who may be keen to share their knowledge and history of the neighbourhood, offering nuggets of undiscovered information or spotlighting something that inspires you to explore a different part of the area. When ready, head back to your hotel a short walk or short taxi ride away.
Enjoy your hotel breakfast and afterwards take a short stroll through the town centre across to the Old Royal Naval College. Take in the grounds and riverside location first thing in the morning. You’ll then be ready to check out the Visitor Centre shop with its variety of books and cards, nautical instruments, and jewellery. Whilst you’re there pick up your tickets and map and you may well be able to soak up a free exhibition on the Mezzanine Gallery. There’s always something to stimulate the mind, whatever your interest.
You will now be ready to join one of our ‘500 Years of History’ site tours where you will learn the history of the grounds and the buildings. Learn about Sir Christopher Wren’s initial proposed plans for an impressive building around three sides of a courtyard and open to the river on the fourth. Discover why these plans were changed to enable the open views from Inigo Jones’s earlier Queen’s House down to the River Thames, which gives us the famed twin domes that you see today.
As part of the tour, you will head to the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul and learn more 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!
The tour will finish right next to the recently revealed Tudor archaeology, take a moment to read how it was discovered and what it took to make the remains public. Before you make your way up to the Painted Hall take a preview of what to expect with a look in the Sackler Gallery where you can read some of the fascinating history to whet your appetite and learn about the conservation work that took place before the reopening of the Painted Hall in 2019. Once upstairs, you can lie back on our benches and immerse yourself in the spectacular Baroque masterpiece painted by Sir James Thornhill in 1726.
Have your camera at the 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 discover Thornhill’s use of allegory to deliver the powerful stories on a range of subjects from monarchy, religion, maritime power, commerce, and navigation. Whilst you are here, see if you can also seek out your zodiac sign on the ceiling.
Make sure to pick up a few mementos in the shop. With our great range of books, telescopes, scarves, stationery, ceramics and more, there is certain to be something that takes your fancy and if you have time stop and enjoy a specialist Barista coffee or selection of teas in the Painted Hall Café before heading back outside.
As it will now be around lunchtime, why not have a wander around Greenwich town centre and visit the historic indoor market which is buzzing with activity on a Saturday and Sunday. Whilst you’re in the market grab a light bite and discover mouth-watering street food from around the world. You’ll also find coffee and cake shops, antiques, fashion and boutique shops and art galleries. You will have lots of opportunities to buy some extraordinarily unique gifts to take away as a memory of your trip.
Take a walk along the Thames Path along the riverside to The O2, where you can see Greenwich from above at Up at The O2, with the Original Climb over the roof (must be pre-booked). On a clear day you can see landmarks up to 15 miles away! If you have time why not check out the bars, restaurants and water activities around the area of Royal Docks on the other side of the Thames from Greenwich Peninsula.
Whilst you’re here you can purchase a ticket for the Emirates Air Line cable car and venture over to the Royal Docks on the other side of the Thames from Greenwich Peninsula. At the height of around 90m the cable car offers breathtaking, aerial views of the capital’s skyline. The cable car is the highest observation point over the Thames, spanning just over 1km across the river. Cabins arrive every 30 seconds and a single crossing usually takes around 10 minutes. From here it’s a short walk across the Royal Docks to the Sunborn Yacht, of course, you will have pre-booked a table in the Sundown Bar where you can enjoy a coffee or indulge in an expertly prepared cocktail and share a special moment.
Check out other bars in the area, and if you’re lucky you might spot the beach. Investigate further and you’ll come across the fascinating London Watersports Centre, which provides the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of paddle sports or sailing activities. Their main feature is a 2,000m rowing course with seven racing lanes and towpath access to the full course. There’s also a large boathouse, rowing tank, gymnasium, and restaurant. It’s an area that’s worth noting for your next visit to a relatively unknown location in London that has so much to offer.
Return to The O2 by cable car and spoil yourself and your loved ones, shopping designer brands and taking advantage of the huge discounts available at the Icon Outlet, located inside The O2. You will, no doubt, have worked up an appetite for a little supper and be looking forward to getting back to the hotel to unload your bags and rest your feet, so treat yourself to a short taxi ride, it will be well worth it!
As it will now be around 6.30pm in the evening you may want to freshen up and take a leisurely stroll to eat in one of the local restaurants in Greenwich. Afterwards, complete the evening with a drink or two, downstairs in the hidden depths, of the unique space of Oliver’s Jazz bar. With live music from some of the international jazz scene’s most critically acclaimed musicians every night of the week, it has been a cornerstone of the London jazz scene since 2003 when it first opened its doors. With a fully stocked bar, swinging live music every night including three weekly jam sessions and a roaring open fire in the winter months, it’s no wonder that Oliver’s has become known as one of the city’s best loved live music venues.
Book a taxi back to your hotel, as after an action-packed day and outstanding evening you’ll want to enjoy some well-earned rest.
Wake up feeling refreshed and after breakfast in the hotel, pack up and check out, leaving your luggage with the hotel, to pick up later.
Make the last hours of your weekend worthwhile, take a walk locally across to the Old Royal Naval College and catch the morning Chapel service, which is open to the public, and soak up the sound of the Chapel Choir. If you prefer something different then take a walk to one of the free attractions in the area such as the Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum or through into Greenwich Park up to Ranger’s House and savour the gardens in full bloom in the summer months. You don’t need to book your entrance ticket in advance, but you will always get the best price and guaranteed entry by booking online ahead of your visit. Ranger’s House is an elegant Georgian villa on the boundary of Greenwich Park and Blackheath which houses The Wernher Collection, a world-class art collection amassed by the 19th-century businessman, Sir Julius Wernher. Along with the Old Royal Naval College, Ranger’s House is more recently famed for the filming location of the hit Netflix drama Bridgerton and is well worth a visit.
By now you will be ready for a local Sunday roast at The Old Brewery where you can choose from an exciting menu. Of course, after this, you’ll want to stroll back to the hotel, grab your luggage and get a taxi back to the pier. Return by river up the Thames to central London for your journey home, having learnt so much about the delightful area of Greenwich and made some excellent memories to boot!
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).
To help you plan your weekend in Greenwich, we’ve included links for local hotels below:
The Clarendon, Montpelier Row, Blackheath London SE3 0RW
DoubleTree by Hilton, Catherine Grove, Greenwich, London SE10 8BB
Ibis, 30 Stockwell St, Greenwich, London, SE10 9JN
Novotel, 173-185 Greenwich High Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 8JA
Staycity Aparthotels, 65 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8JL
InterContinental London – The O2, Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 0TW