Visiting London and thinking of spending some time in Greenwich, but not sure where to start? This guide features the most complete selection of things to do in Greenwich. We also included a suggested one day Greenwich itinerary that will help you make the most of your visit to Greenwich. Find out!

The London borough of Greenwich – located on the banks of the River Thames – offers something of interest to every visitor. From historic attractions and world-class museums to beautiful parks and bustling markets… There are so many things to see and do in Greenwich, and also in North Greenwich, that you might be wondering how you’ll fit it all in!

On the other hand, I wanted it to be the most complete guide to things to do in Greenwich, enabling you to choose the ones that interest you the most.

This article contains the best things to do in Greenwich, but I also included the main attractions in North Greenwich and some lesser known places that are also worth a visit if you have more time. Below, you’ll find a description of each place, together with practical advice and tips to help you make the most of your visit to Greenwich. Read on!

Ultimate guide to things to do in Greenwich London

 

How to use this guide to best things to do in Greenwich

As you will see, this guide is packed with the most complete list of things to see and do in Greenwich for those looking to discover Greenwich to the fullest.

However, unless you have at least a few days in the area, you won’t have time to see everything. So I have listed the main, must-see Greenwich attractions first. These are the ones you really don’t want to miss during your visit.

Further down, you’ll find a selection of places and things to do that may be less popular or not as well-known, but still very cool or fun to do. Those are the places that you should consider visiting if you have some extra time and want to explore Greenwich a bit deeper.

At the very end of the article, you’ll find my suggestions for how to see the best of Greenwich in one day. This complete itinerary should help you make the most of your day in this fascinating part of London. Find out!

Good to know: Some of the attractions listed here form part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. They have special day tickets that are valid for several attractions. Alternatively, check London Explorer Pass, which includes a visit to the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, and most other must-see landmarks in London.

 

What to see and do in Greenwich – overview:

 

Things to do in Greenwich and 1 day itinerary

 

The Old Royal Naval College is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is definitely not to be missed in Greenwich. However, the main reason why I listed it as one of the first and best things to do in Greenwich, is because of the newly restored Painted Hall.

The Painted Hall is not just one of the best things to do in Greenwich; it’s one of the best places to see in London!

Painted by James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726 and recently restored, The Painted Hall is a real masterpiece. I can only compare it with the Sistine Chapel in Rome – it will take your breath away!

Since we already have a very comprehensive guide to visiting the Painted Hall and the Old Royal Naval College, I won’t repeat myself and just shortly mention the main points of interest in this article. You can find a lot more information for your visit and find out what makes the Painted Hall so special here: Visiting the Painted Hall and the Old Royal Naval College. Take a look!

Other points of interest located inside the Royal Naval College include the King William Undercroft, Queen Mary Undercroft, Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, Ripley Tunnel, and Victorian Skittle Alley. All these places are free to enter and don’t require much time, so don’t miss it when visiting the Old Roal Naval College.

Practical information: The Painted Hall is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Wheelchair accessible. You can book your ticket online in advance, or upon arrival. As already mentioned, other parts of the Old Royal Naval College can be visited free of charge.

The Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is one of the best hidden gems of London
The Painted Hall

 

Cutty Sark

A must see Greenwich attraction for young and old alike, the award-winning Cutty Sark exhibit gives you a taste of what life must have been life for mariners in the 19th century.

The name ‘Cutty Sark’ is 18th-century Scots for ‘short petticoat’ and was used in the famous poem Tam O’Shanter by Robert Burns… although no one seems to know why it was the name given to the ship!

Built in Glasgow in 1869, the Cutty Sark was the fastest ship of its time. It was built to bring tea back from China to England as quickly as possible and has visited almost all of the major ports in the world.

After years of service it became a training ship for British Naval Cadets, then in 1951 is was rescued from possible consignment to the scrapyard by a group of admirers known as ‘The Cutty Sark Society’. Placed in dry dock in Greenwich in 1954, it almost faced ruin when it was devastated by fire in 2007. But the subsequent refurbishment improved it more than ever. Visiting the Cutty Sark is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Greenwich.

The ship’s steering mechanism is just one of many original features and during your visit, you’ll get the chance to take the wheel. Surrounded by the rigging and overlooking the historic buildings of Greenwich, you get a real sense of history and can truly imagine yourself back in time!

Kids will enjoy ringing the ship’s bell, plus taking part in the many interactive activities. There is a complimentary audio guide that explains the ship’s history and features. But what brings it to life, is the excellent performances by actors dressed in period costumes and describing their lives at sea.

The entire ship sits on a glass pedestal and is raised 3 meters above ground level, so it’s now possible to explore under the hull – an awesome experience! There is an impressive figurehead collection on the lower ground deck, with a cafe at the other end. You can even book an afternoon tea at the Cutty Sark.

Much of the museum is indoors, so the Cutty Sark is still worth visiting on a rainy day. And if you can, pop back after nightfall when the ship is beautifully lit – it’s a majestic sight!

Practical information: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (times may be extended during the summer months). Wheelchair accessible. You can buy tickets online (which is a bit cheaper). If you are also visiting the Royal Observatory, you can get a combination ticket for both attractions.

Cutty Sark - one of the best things to do in Greenwich
Cutty Sark

 

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Founded in 1676 by King Charles II, the Royal Observatory is one of the must-see places in Greenwich. If you are interested in its history, fascinated by astronomy, intrigued by the concept of time-keeping, or simply want to stand astride the line dividing the Eastern and Western hemispheres, you should definitely pay a visit to the Greenwich Observatory.

Constructed on the site of the ruined Greenwich Castle, the Observatory started out as a home and place of work for the royally appointed ‘astronomical observator’ John Flamsteed. If you take a look in the garden next to Flamsteed House, you will see a well. Flamsteed would place a mattress at the bottom of this 100ft deep well, then make observations from it through a glass. Over time, more instruments were added and the building was expanded.

When visiting the Observatory, you will see the instruments used in the past, which have been remounted in their original locations. You can also see the Great Equatorial Telescope – the largest historical telescope in the UK and the 7th largest in the world. The Great Equatorial Telescope is actually free to view. You can access it via the gift shop.

Exhibits also include historic clocks and timepieces, including a unique Dolphin Sun Dial, plus the Shepherd Gate Clock, which is mounted on the wall outside the gate. This clock was the first to display Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to the public!

But probably the main reason to come here is to learn more about Greenwich Mean Time and view the Prime Meridian Line, which has divided the Eastern and Western hemispheres since the 19th century. You can find more information about the Prime Meridian further below. 

Depending on the time of your visit, you may be able to see the red time ball being dropped on the eastern turret. It happens at 1 pm every day. Historically, this was used to signal the time to boats on the Thames.

Practical information: The Royal Observatory is open from 10 am to 5.30 pm daily (hours can be extended in summer). You can book the tickets in advance; an audio tour is included. As mentioned before, you can also get a combination ticket for Cutty Stark and Royal Observatory, which will save you some money.

Important note: The building is at the top of quite a steep hill in Royal Greenwich Park. While this does give stunning views of the London skyline and Canary Wharf, it means it may be hard for you to access if you have mobility problems.

TIP: Greenwich Observatory gets very busy, so get there early if you can.

Royal Observatory is must see in Greenwich
Royal Observatory – Photo Benson HE/Shutterstock.com

 

Prime Meridian Line

In 1884, Greenwich was chosen as the Prime Meridian of the World, making it the center of world time and the starting point of every day, year and millennium. Up to this point, there was no international time standard – towns would just keep their own, local time!

The Prime Meridian Line that goes through Greenwich runs from the North to the South pole and represents 0° longitude – the line from which all other longitude lines are measured. It’s regarded as one of the must-see places in Greenwich.

The fact that it splits the world into Eastern and Western hemispheres makes it a hugely popular attraction. You can take a picture – quite literally – with one foot in the east and one foot in the west! The most popular point to see the Prime Meridian Line is in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory. You will need a ticket (see above for details). 

However, you don’t necessarily have to pay to see the Meridian Line; there are places to see it for free, too. Here are a couple of other cool options where you can see the Meridian Line:

  • Just outside the main gates to the Observatory, there is an alleyway. If you go down there, you will see the mark for the original longitudinal line. 
  • Alternatively, you could visit the Meridian Lounge at the InterContinental Hotel in Greenwich, where it’s marked on a pillar.
  • The Meridian Primary School has it marked on the playground.
  • If you visit Greenwich Park and take a look at the tennis courts, you’ll notice a blue line running through them. That’s the Prime Meridian too!
Prime Meridian sculpture in Greenwich
Prime Meridian sculpture – Photo BeautifulBlossoms/Shutterstock.com

 

Peter Harrison Planetarium

The Peter Harrison Planetarium at the Greenwich Royal Observatory is now London’s only planetarium. Seating 120 people, it offers a variety of enthralling laser shows that will transport you from London and off to distant galaxies!

The building is topped with a bronze truncated cone, inside which digital lasers project truly breathtaking views of the heavens. Your padded, comfortable seat reclines backwards during the shows, allowing you to fully appreciate the scenes, and the excellent sound system makes the experience feel very immersive. The live commentary from the speakers is entertaining and really adds to the experience. 

TIP: For the best view inside the Planetarium, queue early so that you can pick a seat in the middle of the row, towards the back. Afternoon shows tend to be quieter (mornings are popular with school trips).

Practical information: The Planetarium is open every day, from 10 am to 5 pm except for the first Tuesday of every month. Because it is a relatively small venue, I recommend booking ahead online. It’s not only cheaper than walking up, but it also gives you an opportunity to see in advance what shows are available.

What to do in Greenwich - Royal Observatory is not to be missed
Royal Observatory – Photo Pit Stock/Shutterstock.com

 

Greenwich Park

With its beautiful gardens, rich history, and iconic views, Greenwich Park is another great addition to your list of things to do in Greenwich. It has something for everyone and is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or a quiet reflective stroll.

The park has several areas. Depending on how much time you have, you can see the ones that interest you most.

On the eastern side, you’ll see the Rose Garden, which forms the backdrop to Ranger’s House. Originally planted in the early 1960s, the garden is at its best when in flower, during June and July.

The Edwardian-style Flower Garden in the south-east of the park is also worth a visit and is a lovely spot from which to view the lake and deer park, The Wilderness.

From April until October, you can take a boat out on the lake, which is a lovely way to spend an hour on a beautiful afternoon. 

Other points of interest include General James Wolfe statue, Bandstand, and the Queen’s Orchard – an enclosed area where fruits and vegetables are grown. Next to the boating lake, you’ll find the Millenium Sundial, which tells both the time and the direction of the sun. 

TIP: For the best, panoramic views of London, walk to the top of the hill which leads to the Observatory. It’s quite a steep and challenging climb, but well worth the effort when you get to the top (and the grassy bank is great fun for the kids to roll down!).

Practical information: Greenwich Park is open daily from 6 am, but closing times vary depending on the season (usually at least 6 pm, but in summer, it’s 9- 9.30pm). There are frequent events held in the Park – more information here.

Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park

 

National Maritime Museum

I didn’t really know what to expect from the National Maritime Museum, but it’s a place I really enjoyed, and also a place I wish I had spent more time. It’s an absolute must if you are visiting Greenwich with kids, but it’s also really interesting to see for adults. Entry to the museum is free, so don’t miss it!

The main reason to visit the National Maritime Museum for me, was the famous ‘The Battle of Trafalgar, 1805‘ painting by J.M.W. Turner. It’s really impressive, no doubt about that, but it’s definitely not the only highlight of this museum.

Great Britain’s vast and important maritime history is celebrated in this fascinating museum, which was originally a school for the children of seafarers. 

The museum has recently been expanded. As you browse the artifacts and read the signage, you’ll come across stories of exploration, piracy, world trade, the challenges of extreme, Polar environments and lots more. There are some truly fascinating things to see, including the actual uniform Admiral Lord Nelson was wearing when he died (you can even see the bullet hole). 

There are two galleries only for the children. The ‘Ahoy Kids’ gallery is designed for babies and children up to 7 years of age and offers lots of hands-on activities. The ‘All Hands’ gallery is meant for older kids and allows them to fire a cannon, load cargo and even prepare food in a ship’s galley!

Make sure to also check out the ‘Great Map’ at the center of the museum. Fun for kids and adults alike, tablets with touch screens bring to life stories of pirates, expeditions and more as you walk across the map’s surface.

The museum is large, so if you only have one day in Greenwich, you won’t be able to see it all, but it’s definitely worth a visit, even if just for half an hour.

Practical information: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. There is no entrance fee, although there may be a charge for special exhibitions. Wheelchair accessible. There is also a restaurant and a cafe here.

Good to know if visiting with kids: The Ahoy Kids Gallery is free on school days, but ticketed during weekends and school holidays, in an effort to keep the crowds down and make the experience as enjoyable as possible. The All Hands Kids Gallery is open the whole day during weekends, on Tuesdays and during school holidays, and from 2 pm to 5 pm on other days.

TIP: I recommend visiting the Maritime Museum before visiting the Cutty Sark – it really helps give you an idea of the ship’s place in history!

Best things to do in Greenwich - National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum

 

Queen’s House & Tulip Staircase

Famous for its architecture and its history and located just near the Royal Naval College, the 17th century Queen’s House is another must-see Greenwich landmark.

Queen’s House is nice to see, but it’s the Tulip Staircase that really makes it worth a visit. This sweeping staircase is considered one of the most beautiful spiral staircases in the world. Designed by the architect Inigo Jones, it was the first geometric, centrally unsupported staircase built in Britain. Each tread is cantilevered from the wall and supported by the stair below, creating a stunning spiral staircase bathed in natural light from above.

Another highlight of your visit to Queen’s House is the Great Hall. The Hall is a perfect cube in shape, with 40ft white walls that contrast beautifully with the black and white geometric patterns of the original marble floor. The original, painted woodwork of the hall is spectacular, just as the new, gold leaf ceiling fresco by Richard Wright.

I find that Queen’s House deserves more attention and therefore I published a more detailed guide about it. Here you can read all about the Tulip Stairs and Queen’s House. Check it out!

Visiting Queen’s House and seeing the famous spiral Tulip Stairs is definitely one of the best things to do in Greenwich. Conveniently located close to the other main Greenwich attractions mentioned above, Queen’s House doesn’t require much time to visit, and is – in my opinion – one of the best places to see in Greenwich!

Practical information: Queen’s House is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (last admission at 4.30 pm) and entry is free. Wheelchair accessible.

Tulip Stairs at the Queen's House is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of London
The Tulip Stairs

 

Greenwich Market

Just a few minutes walk from the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Naval College is Greenwich Market. Dating back to the 1700s and London’s only historic market in a World Heritage site, the Greenwich market truly offers something for everyone. In my view, it’s a must experience in Greenwich.

The vibrant, bustling market, though small in size, is crammed with stalls and niche, independent shops offering everything from art, crafts and handmade gifts to unique fashion and jewelry. Different vendors are there on different days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday tend to be more focussed on arts, crafts and designers makers, whereas Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are for antiques and collectibles.

The part I loved most was the food market, which offers some of the best street food in London. We had lunch here and also bought some cake to take with us for later. I can tell you, the choice was tough to make. Many types of cuisine from around the world can be found here, with everything from Ethiopian vegetarian dishes and homemade Punjabi meals to healthy fast food from the Eastern Mediterranean.

One big disadvantage of eating at the Greenwich Market is that there isn’t a lot of seating available at the food stalls, so you might have to stand when eating. Alternatively, you could get some food and take it with you to the park.

TIP: Try some warm, delicious Brazilian churros (available from Wednesday to Sunday). And make sure to check out the Fudge Patch, where the owners encourage you to try the amazing options on offer! 

Practical information: The market is open daily, from 10 am to 5.30pm, including weekends and Bank Holidays. The market is covered, so you can visit in the rain as well. While most of the stalls and shops accept card payments, a few are cash-only, so be sure to have some on hand. 

English roast at the Greenwich food market
English roast at the Greenwich food market

 

Built in 1902, this feat of Victorian engineering runs 50ft below the surface of the Thames and provides a unique (and free!) way to cross the river. Greenwich Foot Tunnel is one of the lesser known Greenwich attractions, but it’s definitely worth a visit. After all, it’s not every day that you get to walk underneath the Thames!

The tunnel runs for 370m between the Cutty Sark on one side, to Island Gardens, Tower Hamlets on the other. It’s an easy walk, taking around 10 minutes or so, but is quite literally a step back in history! 

The tunnel was originally built to make it easier for London residents to get to work in the shipyards and docks on the north side of the river, no matter the weather. Despite recent refurbishment, the original Victorian features of the tunnel – and of the lifts at either end – have been preserved. You can also see an area that was repaired after being damaged during the first night of the Blitz in WWII.

You can find the entrance to the tunnel by looking for the glazed dome next to the Cutty Sark (there’s a matching one on the other side). You can either ascend and descend the wide, spiral staircases – which have around 100 steps – or use the lifts. 

Practical information: The tunnel is free to use. It’s open 24 hours a day and monitored for safety. Wheelchair accessible.

TIP: Greenwich Foot Tunnel has amazing acoustics! If you’re walking through with children, encourage a little singing and whooping – it’s a lot of fun!

Greenwich Foot Tunnel is one of the more special things to do in Greenwich
Greenwich Foot Tunnel – Photo jean.cuomo/Shutterstock.com

 

Trafalgar Tavern

If you visit just one pub in Greenwich, make it The Trafalgar Tavern. This Greenwich pub on the south bank of the River Thames, next to the Old Royal Naval College, is Grade II listed, which means it’s a place of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it. Definitely one of the places to see in Greenwich!

The Trafalgar Tavern opened in 1837 and was the setting for Charles Dickens’ wedding breakfast in “Our Mutual Friend”. It was also used often for political dinners by the Liberal party in Victorian times.

Serving as a home for retired seamen during World War I, it reopened as a pub in 1965 and still has many of its original features. From the charming, cobbled outside drinking area to the beautiful Thames views from the large Georgian windows, the Trafalgar Tavern is a great spot to unwind at the end of a busy day.

Practical information: The Trafalgar Tavern is open daily from 11 am to 11 pm.

Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich
Trafalgar Tavern – Photo Ewan Munro from London, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0]

 

At this point, you covered most of the main landmarks of Greenwich that you could probably squeeze in one day. Continue reading for our selection of many other amazing things to do in Greenwich, including the O2 Arena, Emirates cable car, and others, or jump forward to the map and our suggested one-day itinerary.

Ranger’s House

On the boundary of Greenwich Park and Blackheath sits Ranger’s House. This elegant Georgian villa has its own interesting history, but what makes it really worth visiting is the fabulous art collection inside.

Ranger’s House was built in 1723 for a naval captain and later became the residence for rangers of Greenwich Park. Until 1902 it remained a residence for royals and aristocrats but was then bought by London Council and used as changing rooms and a tea room. The House was later restored and was taken over by English Heritage in 1986.

Ranger’s House holds an impressive Wernher Collection, comprising of over 700 works of art, including medieval sculptures, ornate jewelry, Renaissance paintings, French tapestries, and beautiful enamels. They were amassed by Sir Julius Wernher, who made his fortune in the diamond business in the 19th century.

Practical information: There is a fee for entry to Ranger’s House and opening times vary every week. You can find more details and the current opening times here. If you are visiting with very young children, be prepared to leave your pushchair outside as none are permitted inside the house.

Ranger's House in Greenwich, London
Ranger’s House – Photo BBA Photography/Shutterstock.com

 

The Fan Museum

If you love history, art, or fashion and are looking for something a bit different to do in Greenwich, then you’ll probably enjoy the quirky Fan Museum. It houses a world-renowned collection of 5,000 fans, some dating back to the 11th century.

The ground floor has a permanent exhibition, which includes an introduction to the history of fans and how they are made. Exhibits on the first floor change regularly, as the whole collection cannot be displayed together due to reasons of conservation. Even if you had no previous interest in fans, you can’t fail to be impressed by the exquisite beauty of some of the exhibits, which are true works of art.

The buildings housing the collections are – in themselves – worth taking a moment to appreciate. Composed of two Grade II listed townhouses built in 1721, the museum has been authentically restored. And there are fan designs everywhere you look – even in the box hedging outside (and the toilet roll holders in the bathrooms!). 

TIP: One of the reasons to visit the Fan Museum is its very reasonably priced and delicious afternoon tea. The Orangery – which overlooks a Japanese Garden – features exquisite muraled walls, creating a unique and very beautiful dining room that’s not to be missed. Afternoon tea is available on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, between 12.30 – 4.30 pm, and operates walk-in service (no reservations possible).

Practical information: There is a fee to enter and an audio guide is included. Fan Museum – just a short walk from the Cutty Sark – is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm, and on Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.

The Fan Museum is one of the lesser known places to see in Greenwich London
The Fan Museum – Photo Visit Greenwich, UK [CC BY 2.0]

 

St. Alfege Church

St. Alfege Church, in the center of Greenwich, is not an absolute must-do, but one of the more interesting things to see in Greenwich if you have more time.

There has been a church in that particular spot for over 1000 years, dedicated to Alfege, the Archbishop of Canterbury – who was martyred there in 1012.

The church has lots of interesting connections. King Henry VIII was baptized there, and it is the burial place of General James Wolfe (the victor at Quebec). If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, you’ll be interested to know that St. Alfege Church is where Bella Wilfer married John Rokesmith in ‘Our Mutual Friend‘.

After being badly damaged in WWII, the church was beautifully restored and there are some wonderful examples of 18th century design and craftsmanship, as well as beautiful stained glass windows.

Don’t miss the Tallis Keyboard, which you’ll find in a case in the south-west corner of the nave. It is almost certain that some of the octaves of the middle keyboard were played by the future Queen Elizabeth I, when she was growing up at Greenwich Palace.

Practical information: St Alfege Church is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm (and from noon on Sundays). It is actively used for worship and you are welcome to visit even during services. Wheelchair accessible.

St Alfege church in Greenwich London
St Alfege Church – Photo Athip_Taechapongsathon/Shutterstock.com

 

The O2 Arena and Up at The O2

Built under the old Millenium Dome, the O2 Arena is one of the main landmarks of North Greenwich. It’s one of the biggest indoor venues in the UK and hosts a variety of events, from concerts to competitive sports. Still referred to as ‘The Dome’ by some, the arena is named after the O2 telecommunications company that sponsors it.

In addition to the arena itself, the O2 contains a cinema, bowling alley, and trampoline park, plus a variety of restaurants, pubs, and bars. It’s also home to Sky Studios, where you can use the interactive sets to read the news, be a sports’ commentator and more.

But one of the main reasons for tourists to include the O2 arena in their Greenwich itinerary is the Up at The O2 experience – climbing the roof of the arena. It’s a very unique experience in London and definitely one of the best things to do in Greenwich!

The 90-minute climb uses a fabric walkway that is suspended 2m above the surface of The O2 roof. The breathtaking views from the platform at the top allow you to see landmarks up to 15 miles away. Although it’s somewhat steep in places and certainly gives your legs a good workout, the climb itself is quite manageable and the reward of the views at the end makes it worthwhile!

Practical information: A climb suit, shoes, and a safety harness are provided but you must wear your own socks. Dress in comfortable clothes – and don’t forget your hat and gloves on cooler days. Children older than 9 are also allowed. The entrance is timed and you have to book in advance. You can book Up at The O2 tickets here.

Climbing the O2 Arena is a unique experience in London (1)
The O2 Arena

 

Emirates Air Line

Taking the Emirates Air Line cable car is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of London at a very reasonable price. 

You can travel one way from Greenwich to the Royal Docks or book a round trip ticket. The journey across takes around 10 minutes (but only 5 minutes at the peak times of 7 am to 9 am, Monday to Friday).

It’s a smooth ride with awesome views on a clear day – but if you’d like an extended experience, book a Night Flight. These include a slightly longer journey time, plus music and videos in the cabins. Watching London come alive at night from up to 90 m above is an experience not to be missed!

Practical information: The Cable Cars are open 7 days a week and run non-stop, so waiting times are short. It’s best to use your Oyster Card or contactless payment card because buying tickets at the terminal is more expensive. The cabins are wheelchair accessible.

TIP: If you are visiting Greenwich from central London, you can save some money by getting a 1-day boat ticket that also includes a return ticket on Emirates Air Line (value +- £11).

Emirates Air Line cable car in Greenwich London
Emirates Air Line cable car – Photo Bikeworldtravel/Shutterstock.com

 

Emirates Aviation Experience

If you’re fascinated by flying, you may want to check out the Emirates Aviation Experience. It’s located next to the Emirates Air Line Terminal on the Greenwich Peninsula.

It includes an interactive exhibition, explaining the science of flight and interesting ‘behind the scenes’ in-flight information. In addition, you’ll find flight simulators, giving you a real taste of life as a commercial pilot. The simulators are stationery – so don’t expect to feel the movement of a real plane, but the instruction can make the experience of take-off and landing very rewarding, especially for kids.

Practical information: The Aviation Experience is open daily, from 10 am to 6 pm. Entrance is ticketed, but is discounted for children and free for children under 6. The entry fee does not include the simulators. Children have to be at least 9 years of age to use the simulator and no experience is needed. 

TIP: I recommend booking your simulator experience in advance – they get booked up quickly on busy days! More information here.

Quantum Cloud

Visible from the Emirates Cable Car and next to the O2 Arena, Quantum Cloud looks like a curious jumble of steel. But if you have time, this ‘jumble’ is worth a closer look, as it’s actually a sculpture by Antony Gormley.

Completed in 1999, the sculpture is a collection of tetrahedral units made from 1.5 m long sections of steel. Look carefully, and you will see the figure of its creator at the center!

The Quantum Cloud sculpture by Anthony Gormley in London UK
The Quantum Cloud sculpture by Anthony Gormley – Photo DRG Photography/Shutterstock.com

 

Greenwich Vintage Market

Not to be confused with Greenwich Market (one of the ‘must see’ attractions above) is Greenwich Vintage Market, which is just around the corner!

Small, friendly and family run, the market has recently been significantly improved from its initial start 5 years ago as a flea market. Despite its name, it doesn’t sell exclusively vintage items and now offers an eclectic range of retro, craft, handmade and vintage goods.

A few pop-up shops and food concessions have also been added, including tasty Jamaican and Thai cuisine, and there’s plenty of seating available for you to enjoy your meal.

Practical information: The market is open from Thursday to Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s much livelier on Saturdays and Sundays than during the week. 

Meantime Brewing Company

Ever wondered what goes into the brewing process? Interested in seeing a brewery in action? Or simply want to sample a range of good beers? Then pay a visit to the award-winning Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich. It offers tours, masterclasses, and tasting rooms!

Meantime Brewing Company was founded in 1999 and now produces British and European-style beers, plus a range of limited edition seasonal ales. It also runs the Old Brewery bar and restaurant at the Old Royal Naval College, and its own pub the Greenwich Union.

A Classic tour lasts for about an hour and a half, taking you into the heart of the working brewery, and ending with a tutored tasting session (with generous samples!). The tour guides are knowledgeable and entertaining, making for a very enjoyable experience.

If you are not interested in a tour, you can simply enjoy the beer at the bar, or dine at the kitchen overlooking the brewery floor. Everything on the menu is chosen to complement the beers available. Don’t miss the wings, they’re to die for!

Practical information: Tour times and days vary – you can find for more information here.

 

If you love contemporary art and design and are looking for even more things to do in Greenwich, don’t miss the NOW Gallery on the Greenwich peninsula. It’s located in North Greenwich, between the Greenwich tube station and the O2 Arena.

This permanent, public gallery showcases the work of up and coming artists by inviting them to create their own installations to transform its fully glazed, futuristic space.

Practical information: The NOW Gallery is free to enter and open daily. More info here.

Up The Creek Comedy Club

Voted “one of the best places to see live comedy” by Time Out magazine, Up The Creek Comedy Club is intimate, friendly and a fun place to end the day in Greenwich. Located opposite the Cutty Sark, it offers live shows from Thursday to Sunday and is strictly for adults only (although it sometimes offers children’s events during the day). There’s a restaurant offering food before and after the shows, plus a disco at weekends.

Being a small, busy venue, the Club can get quite warm inside, so don’t go dressed in your winter woollies! There’s no official dress code, but football/rugby shirts and jogging bottoms are not allowed. There’s a fair bit of audience participation in some acts, so if you’re the shy, retiring type, ask to be seated away from the stage.

The breaks are short and the bar queues can be long, so it’s worth buying your drinks in the restaurant before the show.

Practical information: For opening hours, visit the Club’s website. It’s best to book online in advance to avoid disappointment, as the club is really popular.

 

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

The Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is like a green oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of London. Opened in 2002, the Park is made up of four acres of freshwater habitat, managed by wardens. It’s home to a variety of wildlife.

The walk-in wildflower meadow in the center of the park is not just pretty – it’s also a great source of food for insects, bats, birds, and frogs, who visit often. Two bird hides allow you to get close to the variety of birds that visit the park.

It makes for a great day out for adults and children, providing natural balance in an area of rapid urban development. There’s plenty to see and learn and the knowledgeable staff are happy to answer all your questions. 

The Park is not something I’d visit if you are short on time, but it’s something nice to do in Greenwich if you have more time.

Practical information: The outer boardwalk of the park is open 24/7. The inner park has various opening hours and days, depending on the season. More information here.

Crazy Putt

Great fun for the whole family, Crazy Putt London Adventure Golf is in the Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range, just a short walk from North Greenwich Underground. 

It’s a kind of minigolf and has 18 holes and a variety of entertaining obstacles, all overlooked by the O2 arena. Try visiting at night – the course is well lit and atmospheric, and the backdrop of the illuminated London skyline makes it that little bit more special!

Practical information: For opening hours and prices please see here.

Map of the best things to do in Greenwich

So, these are all the best things to do in Greenwich. In order to help you better plan your visit, I created a map, indicating all the main Greenwich attractions and landmarks mentioned in this article. Further below, you can also find our suggestions on how to see the best of Greenwich in one day.

 

One day in Greenwich - what to see and do

One Day in Greenwich – Suggested Itinerary

There is so much to see and do in Greenwich that it’s not easy to choose which attractions to visit if you only have one day. However, since most London visitors only devote one day for Greenwich, here are my recommendations for how to see the best of Greenwich in one day.

Please note that if you only have one day in Greenwich, you won’t have the time to thoroughly visit each of the museums and exhibitions mentioned below, but you should be able to see the main highlights at each place, as mentioned below. Find out!

Start your day early with a boat ride to Greenwich. Upon arrival, take a tranquil stroll in Greenwich Park. Don’t forget to take time to appreciate the magnificent view from the top of this hill – it’s one of the best in Greenwich!

From there, go straight to the Royal Observatory, which opens at 10 am. By arriving early, you’ll beat the crowds. With limited time, you may want to skip the very detailed audio tour, and simply look around the exhibits yourself. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a photo on The Prime Meridian Line. I recommend doing that as soon as you arrive, as it’s one of the most popular things to do in Greenwich!

Next, take the 10- 15-minute walk down to the Maritime Museum, which is free to visit. As mentioned above, it’s a large museum, so I suggest taking one of the guided tours to make sure that you see the best of the exhibits. Alternatively, just ask the employees where Turner’s painting is, and also pop upstairs to see the Stained Glass from the Baltic Exchange – very impressive.

After that, take a quick look inside the Queen’s House, to see the beautiful Tulip Staircase and the Great Hall

For lunch, I recommend heading to Greenwich Market, where you can try some amazing street food from one of the many stalls. This is a great opportunity to grab some souvenirs from the arts and craft stalls too. Alternatively, you can try afternoon tea at the Fan Museum or afternoon tea at the Cutty Sark.

Greenwich food market
Greenwich food market is a great place for a quick lunch

 

After lunch, it’s time to visit the magnificent Cutty Sark. Close to the Cutty Sark is the entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. A 10-minute walk through there will take you under the Thames and across to the other side – the perfect vantage point from which to view the beautiful buildings of the Naval College.

A quick walk back and then you should just have time to visit the Royal Naval College itself, where you can admire the stunning Painted Hall. While the building closes at 5 pm, the grounds remain open until 11 pm and are a beautiful, tranquil spot to relax in the late afternoon. 

If you are still fit enough and depending on the time, you could visit The Greenwich Vintage Market, St Alfege Church, and/or Ranger’s House.

While there is a range of excellent dining options in Greenwich, I recommend having dinner at the Trafalgar Tavern. With its maritime memorabilia and fabulous views of the Thames, it’s the perfect place to unwind and reflect on a wonderful day spent enjoying the many attractions that Greenwich has to offer.

If you want to get the absolute most of your day in Greenwich and can get the tickets for the show, you could end your day watching a performance at the Up The Creek Comedy Club. Alternatively, catch a boat to North Greenwich and take the Emirates Air Line Cable Car. From here, hop back on the boat and head back to central London.

TIP: There are lots of ticket packages available including several Greenwich attractions, but if you only have one day in Greenwich, I recommend getting the combination ticket to the Royal Observatory, The Meridian Line and the Cutty Sark. If you are coming by boat from London and are also planning to take the Emirates Air Line, you should also consider the earlier mentioned Thames boat ticket that includes the cable car fare.

So, this is our complete guide to the best things to do in Greenwich, as well as a suggested one-day itinerary, and a map to help you plan your visit to Greenwich. I really hope that this post will inspire you to explore this fascinating part of London. It will be really worth it!

***Read also our tips for visiting London for the first time***

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What to see and do in Greenwich

Additional image credits: Athip_Taechapongsathon/Shutterstock.com and Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

 





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