IN THE CAP­I­TAL

Visit this UNESCO World Her­itage Site for beau­ti­ful build­ings, a wealth of his­tory and stun­ning views of Lon­don

British Travel Journal - - Contents - Words | He­len Holmes

Green­wich

The Mar­itime Green­wich World Her­itage Site com­prises the his­toric town cen­tre, Royal Park and re­lated in­sti­tu­tional

build­ings. Mar­itime Green­wich has joined a unique club of the most im­por­tant and nat­u­ral places on earth – spe­cial

places which peo­ple are en­cour­aged to visit and ex­plore now and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The ensemble of build­ings at Green­wich and their land­scape set­ting, in­clud­ing the Royal Park, are a po­tent ar­chi­tec­tural sym­bol of English artis­tic, sci­en­tific and other in­sti­tu­tional en­deav­our, notably from the 17th to late 19th cen­turies.

NESTLING IN A SOUTH eastern curve of the Thames, Green­wich is an oa­sis in the city. Whether you're tak­ing a stroll in the 180 acre park and en­joy­ing panoramic views over the cap­i­tal, or ad­mir­ing the broad ex­panse of wa­ter from a river­side pub or restau­rant, in Green­wich you don't feel hemmed in.

It's also an area where you can re­ally con­nect with Lon­don's sea­far­ing his­tory – since Saxon times Green­wich has been a place where peo­ple moored their boats, and it's now home to the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum, the Old Royal Naval

Col­lege and the Cutty Sark – not to men­tion quirky shops like Nau­ti­calia, and Mar­itime Books, which add to the nau­ti­cal feel.

Where Green­wich town cen­tre is steeped in his­tory, North Green­wich adds a con­tem­po­rary di­men­sion to the area. The penin­su­lar is dom­i­nated by the Mil­len­nium Dome, now The O2 arena, which hosts en­ter­tain­ment and sports events, as well as hous­ing, shops and restau­rants. The new

Tide el­e­vated lin­ear park, with five med­i­ta­tion points, pro­vides a tran­quil space from which to en­joy the river views, and art in­stal­la­tions, and the NOW Gallery hosts im­mer­sive ex­hi­bi­tions from con­tem­po­rary artists.

AT­TRAC­TIONS

Step back in nau­ti­cal time aboard the Cutty Sark. A slice of life on one of the fastest ships of the nine­teenth cen­tury, it's packed with ar­ti­facts, as well as hand­son ac­tiv­i­ties for kids. To con­tinue your sea­far­ing ad­ven­ture, the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum houses a col­lec­tion of more than two mil­lion items re­lat­ing to the his­tory of Bri­tain at sea – with four new gal­leries hav­ing re­cently opened and free en­try, it's one not to miss.

Built in the sev­en­teenth cen­tury, the Royal

Ob­ser­va­tory played a piv­otal role in the global ad­vance­ment of as­tron­omy and nav­i­ga­tion, and is the site of the Prime Merid­ian, lon­gi­tude 0° -the line which of­fi­cially di­vides the eastern and west­ern hemi­spheres of the world. Aside from the amaz­ing tele­scopes and clocks, visit for the unique op­por­tu­nity to be pho­tographed with one foot in each hemi­sphere.

The Cutty Sark, Mar­itime Mu­seum and Ob­ser­va­tory are all part of Royal Mu­se­ums Green­wich: rmg.co.uk The Old Royal Naval Col­lege is a mag­nif­i­cent ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece de­signed by Christo­pher Wren. In­side, the re­cently re­fur­bished Painted Hall, is dec­o­rated with eigh­teenth cen­tury baroque paint­ings by James Thorn­hill, and has been com­pared to the Sis­tine Chapel. ornc.org

For some­thing a bit more en­er­getic why not climb the O2? Yes, you can ac­tu­ally trek up the out­side of the iconic dome. On a clear day you can see for 15 miles from the top, and for the ro­man­tics, Up at the O2 also or­gan­ises climbs to co­in­cide with dusk and sun­set. theo2.co.uk/up-at-the-o2

FOOD AND DRINK

If climb­ing The O2 isn't enough of a thrill, how about hav­ing din­ner at a ta­ble sus­pended 100 feet in the air? Lon­don in the Sky will hoist you and your fel­low din­ers up for a three course meal com­plete with unique views of the cap­i­tal's sky­line (May-July). lon­doninthesk­y.co.uk

For a proper Lon­don lunch, it's hard to beat

God­dards. On the edge of Green­wich Mar­ket, it's a tra­di­tional pie and mash shop with a se­lec­tion of pies (in­clud­ing veg­gie and ve­gan op­tions) and plenty of seat­ing. god­dard­sat­green­wich.co.uk

The Trafal­gar Tav­ern has amaz­ing views of the river, and is a great spot for a sun­downer on a

spring evening. trafal­gar­tav­ern.co.uk

Founded in 1999, Mean­time Brew­ery was ahead of the curve on craft beer. You can visit the brew­ery and shop on Lawrence Trad­ing Es­tate, and also have a pint in the Mean­time pub, the Green­wich Union, on Royal Hill.

mean­time­brew­ing.com

Av­o­cado x Cof­fee near Maze Hill does the best or­ganic ve­gan cakes and break­fasts in town.

av­o­cadoand­cof­fee.com

Fi­nally, for the best in fine din­ing, head to

Craft Lon­don, next to The O2 arena. Mod­ern Bri­tish food by ac­claimed chef Ste­vie Parle, in an in­te­rior de­signed by Tom Dixon, is sure to make it a night to re­mem­ber. craft-lon­don.co.uk

SHOP­PING

Green­wich's his­toric cov­ered/un­der­cover mar­ket is crammed with crafts and an­tiques, and sur­rounded by cute bou­tiques. It's a great place to pick up an orig­i­nal gift or sou­venir.

If it's up­mar­ket gro­ceries you need, take your shop­ping bas­ket to Royal Hill. With a cheese shop, tra­di­tional green­gro­cer, a flower shop and a butcher your weekly shop can be com­plete with­out dark­en­ing the door of a su­per­mar­ket.

Lush De­signs on Col­lege Ap­proach sells a range of home wares with dis­tinc­tive, bright prints. Many items made by the de­sign­ers in their stu­dio in nearby Dept­ford.

For more main­stream shop­ping at dis­count prices, the

ICON Out­let at The O2 in­cludes over 60 stores, in­clud­ing Hack­ett, Hobbs, Radley and Moss Bros.

WHERE TO STAY

Why not en­ter into the nau­ti­cal vibe of this part of town by stay­ing on an ac­tual boat, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing any­thing in the way of com­fort or fa­cil­i­ties? The Sun­born Lon­don Yacht

Ho­tel is moored in Royal Vic­to­ria Dock, just across the river from North Green­wich, and per­fect for catch­ing the ca­ble car. The lux­ury yacht has a bar and restau­rant and a spa, as well as 132 guest rooms and 4 suites. sun­born­ho­tels.com/lon­don

If you want to be in the heart of Green­wich, sur­rounded by his­toric build­ings, the De Vere Devon­port House is your place. The red brick Ge­or­gian build­ing is next door to the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum, and a short stroll from the mar­ket, the Royal Ob­ser­va­tory and the Cutty Sark. devere.

co.uk/devon­port-house

On Green­wich Penin­sula, The Pi­lot Inn is a 200 year old pub, and also a bou­tique ho­tel. The ten ho­tel bed­rooms are quirk­ily dec­o­rated, and the ho­tel is ide­ally lo­cated for vis­its to the O2. pi­lot­green­wich.co.uk

GET­TING THERE

The most fun way to ar­rive is by ca­ble car from

Royal Vic­to­ria - en­joy spec­tac­u­lar views as you swing into the North Green­wich penin­su­lar. There's no need to book ahead, you can sim­ply swipe in with your con­tact­less card.

An­other op­tion is the river bus. Thames

Clip­pers serve both North Green­wich and Mar­itime Green­wich from moor­ings up and down the river – and again, the boats are part of the TfL net­work, so you can swipe on and off.

The Dock­lands Light Rail­way stops at Cutty Sark and Green­wich, and North Green­wich has a tube sta­tion on the Ju­bilee Line.

You can even walk to Green­wich un­der the river, with a foot tun­nel con­nect­ing the Cutty Sark area with the north bank of the Thames.

Pic­tured top left then clock­wise: Green­wich Uni­ver­sity with Royal Mu­se­ums Green­wich, Queen's House in the back­ground; The Trafal­gar Tav­ern; God­dards at Green­wich; Cutty Sark at the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum; Royal Mu­se­ums Green­wich, Queen's House; Up at the 02 climb­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pic­tured top left then clock­wise: The O2 arena; Thames Clip­pers sail­ing past The O2 arena; Ca­ble car from Royal Vic­to­ria; Thames Clip­pers sail­ing past Green­wich Uni­ver­sity; The Tide, Peo­ple walk­ing in Green­wich Park

Don't Miss: Lon­don's first-ever el­e­vated river­side lin­ear park open on Green­wich Penin­sula. Ini­tially 1km in length, run­ning from Penin­sula Square to the river and along the river­side, The Tide will even­tu­ally stretch 5km in length around the whole Penin­sula.

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