Leafy, river-facing Greenwich is steeped in British history. Henry VIII and his daughters Mary and Elizabeth were born here, at the Palace of Placentia, and the borough has played its part in London’s colourful history ever since. Make your grand entrance on the Thames Clipper riverboat shuttle, if you can, to feel a world away from London’s hustle and bustle. Greenwich’s lofty landmarks – Sir Christopher Wren’s impressive Old Royal Naval College, the Royal Observatory – are worth a visit, of course, but there’s plenty more to explore. A potter around the neighbourhood reveals a tempting market, laid-back pubs and culinary throwbacks – all part of Greenwich’s old-school charm.
This zippy 19th-century clipper plied the tea route to China, ferried Australian wool in record time and served as a cadet training ship before settling in Greenwich’s dry dock. It’s lost none of its dashing good looks. Climb aboard to live out seafaring fantasies: meet a colourful cast of dockers, cooks and shipmasters, and take your rightful place at the ship’s impressive wooden wheel.
Come rain or shine, this covered market is a refuge for hungry wanderers and bargain hunters alike. An antiques market sets up here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Browse locally made arts and crafts stalls on other days. As for food? You’ll find round-the-world options for every taste, from Ethiopian veggie bowls to dim sum and soft-shell crab burgers.
This famously beautiful park was designed by a certain Monsieur Le Nôtre (of Versailles fame, no less). There’s plenty to draw visitors here beyond postcard-worthy views of London. Stand on top of the world on the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, root around the culinary herb garden or drop in to visit the curious residents of London’s oldest deer park.
Greenwich, SE10 8QY
Long before its star turn in the Marvel universe, Sir Christopher Wren’s creation graced the banks of the Thames where Greenwich Palace once stood. Its magnificent Painted Hall is now accessible again after a five-year makeover – a baroque fancy celebrating Britain’s maritime and trading history. Little ones can play dress-up with King Charles’ regalia and Louis XIV’s broken sword.
King William Walk, SE10 9NN
A hop and a skip from the Cutty Sark, this historic pub makes a cosy spot to put your feet up. There’s a subtle nautical theme running through the rooms, with punchy Welsh beers, craft lagers and citrusy pale ales on tap. The menu’s equally enticing: try the battered cod with triple-cooked chips or, on Sundays, a classic roast with all the trimmings.
60 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL
Pie and mash is the name of the game at Goddard’s, a family-run café that’s been serving classic minced-beef pies since 1890. Veggie, chilli and cheese options are on the menu these days, but you can still order jellied eels if you’re feeling nostalgic. For the full retro experience, order a custard-drenched portion of bread and butter pudding for dessert.
22 King William Walk, SE10 9HU
Walk up Point Hill in West Greenwich for sweeping views of the capital
The neighbourhood’s home to the world’s very first Fan Museum and it’s a good spot for afternoon tea, too
Follow the Meridian Line around Greenwich, from the Royal Observatory to the Thames Path near the O2
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Image credits: © Adobe Stock; © Adobe Stock; © National Maritime Museum Greenwich; © Greenwich Market; © The Royal Parks Grey Wolf Studios; © James Brittain; © The Gipsy Moth; © Warren King; © Getty; © Imagesource