Greenwich has been on my London to-do list since I started one. With the Jubilee line being more down that working during the weekends, we have so far put it off. However, a few weeks back IanVisits gave us a heads up: The Royal Observatory will start charging from March 8th. This really put a rocket on us to get there. As we had no big plans for this weekend and the Jubilee line was running, yesterday was the day for this visit.
Getting out of Cutty Sark DLR station, the scene which greets you is one of a pretty historic town, with cobbled streets and old-fashioned shops. This immediately put me into a good mood. We wanted to take a tour of Historic Greenwich through the tourist office. As we were early (as we had planned), we went to find Greenwich Market.
I have been to a number of markets in London. However this was definitely one of my favourites. This one actually had some new arts and crafts stuff there, unlike most of the other touristic ones where you get mostly the same stuff over and over again. One of my favourite shops was the marionette shop. I also got to buy a book I have been meaning to buy for Michael for £2 (that’s his Valentine’s day gift ). This is definitely a market to visit again!
Having grabbed some lunch at the market we then made our way to the Discover Greenwich centre from where the tour was to start. In the centre there is a permanent exhibition about different aspects of Greenwich which we saw while we waited for the tour to start. Luckily for us it was only Michael and I on the tour! We were both quite surprised, but then it was very windy and not the nicest weather. This meant that the tour guide could tailor the tour to us, and answer our questions at a leisurely pace.
The tour took us into Greenwich park along the Thames, then into the chapel of St Peter and St Paul’s, followed by the Painted Hall opposite. I particularly liked the chapel, but even more so the painted hall. The guide explained to us what we were seeing with the use of table mirrors on trolleys lying around the place to make it easier for us to see (above). He also told us about the coade stone ‘sculptures’ lying around the place, and the scagliola marble columns in the chapel (below).
The tour then ended outside the Royal Observatory. We said our goodbyes, and as the Royal Observatory will be the part of the site which will get an admission fee, we took the time to look around. The place is not the biggest ever (not sure it justifies the £10 admission fee planned actually!). However, especially for free entry, it is a good place to look around and see the first clocks made to keep accurate time.
A great day out, even on a very windy day. There is still a lot to see in the area: we didn’t go into either the Queen’s House, or the Maritime Galleries. Even the market on its own is worth it probably!