There’s more to explore than the world-famous Greenwich Meridian when you head to London, and you can easily spend a week or so taking in the local culture. Greenwich sits just outside of London with its global clock that drops a ‘Time Ball’ at exactly 1 p.m. each afternoon. After a day of exploring the Queen’s House and Greenwich Park, you’ll want to head over to the riverside and take in some live jazz. The area is full of market stalls, restaurants, galleries, and antique shops.
Greenwich is also home to The Royal Observatory, an astronomy-enthusiast’s delight. It features a complete planetarium, observation deck, and lecture halls if you want to attend a seminar or presentation. Take a walk through the Weller Astronomy Galleries for photographs and satellite projections of the stars, or head to the Learning Centre for some insightful presentations about the planets. The Royal Observatory is one of London’s major attractions, and definitely not to be missed when you’re in the area.
The National Maritime Museum is another place to see the stars; this museum houses a collection of relics and artwork, a place to look at old charts, maps, marine uniforms, and flags. This is the place to discover the works of war artists from centuries ago, and the art collection includes works from the Ministry of Defense, Greenwich Hospital, and the War Artists Advisory Committee.
Make your way to The Queens House for another collection of naval portraits and artwork; here you’ll find giant art galleries and beautiful architecture that has remained almost intact since the early 1800s. This house offers a great view of the surrounding landscape from all four sides; just head up towards the balcony windows for a classic snapshot of the English gardens.
Travel history buffs will enjoy a day on board the Cutty Sark, one of London’s classic boats that has been sitting in a dry dock of Greenwich since 1954. This ship was one of the first used on a tea route to China, and is open to the public after a recent restoration. You can learn all about the trading and export business of the late 1800s, and see first hand what a day on board one of these elegant ships really feels like; no lifejackets required!
Greenwich Park is worth at least a day of exploration; it’s one of London’s oldest parks with an assortment of small ponds, a boating lake, and flower gardens scattered throughout the grounds. You can catch a spectacular view of Canary Wharf from here, and since the park sits high up on a hill, you’ll also enjoy a panoramic view at sunset. It’s an ideal spot for a weekend picnic, so be sure to pick up some food at the Greenwich markets and head over here for the day.
If you’re trying to find your place in the universe (literally), head to Greenwich in London for a royal treat. An afternoon observing the planets from afar is worth a trip in itself, while the town of Greenwich gives you plenty of ways to catch up with the locals.