Royal Maritime Greenwich is a World Heritage site with over 600 years of history, its significance being its royal and maritime heritage. One of the most dramatic ways of visiting this site is by boat from central London.
The Palace of Placentia, as it was known, was built close to the River Thames at Greenwich, by Duke Humphrey, in the mid 15th century. As a royal palace it was where Henry VIII and both his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were born at the height of its importance. The palace later became a favourite weekend retreat for the royals, but was demolished in the 17th century to make way for the Royal Naval College (now Greenwich University).
Close to this site, in 1616, King James I commissioned one of the earliest, truly classical buildings as a retreat for his queen, Anne of Denmark. Today, the Queen’s House can be visited with its dramatic Tulip staircase and wonderful picture collection. This same building provided the backdrop for the recent 2012 Olympic games Equestrian events.
Due to its location on the outskirts of central London on the River Thames, Greenwich established itself as a maritime centre in the 17th century. Sir Christopher Wren built the Royal Hospital for Seamen (later the Royal Naval College), together with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. It was from here that the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamstead began working on the more accurate charting of the stars for the safer navigation of ships.
Today you can visit the Observatory to see Flamstead’s living accommodation and his observation gallery. It is also possible to see the first maritime chronometer invented by John Harrison to accurately chart longitude. It is here that you visit the prime meridian from where the world’s time is calibrated.
In addition one can also visit the Cutty Sark, the last of the great ocean going tea clippers, recently refurbished in her dry dock, as well as the National Maritime Museum where the uniform of Admiral Lord Nelson is displayed complete with the fatal bullet hole from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
8 hour Greenwich tour £525/£550
The cost includes the use of a driver guide and his vehicle and is NOT the rate per person. The lower price is for up to 4 passengers and the higher for 5/6 passengers. All parking charges are included but admission fees are additional.