Arrive by river with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers or DLR and pop into our Visitor Centre to pick up your tickets and map. Whilst you are there why not learn a thing or two from over 500 years of history in Greenwich. You’re perfectly positioned to start your experience, as right here in the Visitor Centre, is the place where our guided tours of the grounds begin.
Study Wren’s initial proposed plans for an impressive building around three sides of a courtyard and open to the river on the fourth. Learn 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 you see today.
The tour then heads to the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul where you will 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 learn 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 gallery. Here 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. When you head back down to the Undercroft, make sure to pick up a few mementos in the Painted Hall shop before venturing out to enjoy our expansive grounds.
As you explore and discover the splendid location of Greenwich. Take some memorable snaps on the spot commemorating Henry VIII and other famous Tudors. Do your best impressions of some of the biggest blockbuster films right where they were filmed and follow in the footsteps of ‘acting royalty’ such as Johnny Depp, Dame Judy Dench, Keira Knightly, Olivia Coleman and so many others that have graced the open spaces of this glorious site right on the riverside.
If the weather is nice, why not pop into the Painted Hall Café and pick up a picnic (available during the summer months only), that you can enjoy out on the grass, complete with optional beer or wine add-ons. Or take a seat inside and enjoy a range of choices suitable for all tastes including afternoon tea (which must be pre-booked), before heading off 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).