If you have ever heard of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), then you already have an idea of what Greenwich is widely known for. The historical region of East London pulls in many tourists and visitors each year with many of its attractions, from museums to art exhibitions and ancient buildings.
If you want to visit London’s only Planetarium, Greenwich is the place to be. If you are a fan of Baroque interiors, then the Old Royal Navy College has something special for you. View multiple galleries for free at the Queen’s House and head over to the Greenwich Market, which has lots of goodies for the foodies.
Read to know the various Greenwich activities for adults only and places to visit for some family-friendly fun. Charges/fees to some locations are included but feel free to check the linked websites/contacts for recent updates/development.
Top 12 Places to Visit & Things to Do in Greenwich, London
1. Queen’s House
- Address: Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
- Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
- Fees/charges: Free
- Things to do: view the art galleries, take pictures, learn the history of Greenwich and the Queen’s House, skate in the ice rink
The Queen’s House is a historically conserved building that is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich collection alongside the National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, and the Royal Observatory.
There are no charges for visiting the Queen’s House, but you must have a free ticket which you can book online. It is a highly popular tourist attraction, and you are encouraged to book the tickets in advance.
The Cassical Villa was the first of its kind in England, constructed in the early 1600s. Designed by architect Inigo Jones, legend says King James I gifted the house to his wife, Anne of Denmark, as an apology for cursing in front of her after an accident during a hunt. If there are trophies for the world’s greatest apologies, then the Queen’s House is on top of that list.
Queen’s House is an art exhibition site filled with awesome collections like the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, which is used to reminisce on the failed Spanish Armada invasion in 1588. Other galleries include the Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Canaletto.
Download the free audio guide from the Smartify App to guide you through the various installations and sections of the Queen’s House. Take many selfies at the Instagram-worthy Tulip Stairs, a self-supporting spiral staircase.
The open-air ice rink at Queen’s House is priced at £16 for adults and £10 for children. It is only open in winter when you and your family can come to skate. The ice rinks are centrally located, giving you spectacular views of Greenwich Park and the shimmering lights of Canary Wharf from the north.
2. National Maritime Museum
- Address: Park Row Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 9NF England
- Hours: Every day from 10 am to 5 pm
- Fees/charges: Free
- Things to do: view galleries, learn of London’s history, kids can play at kids’ only gallery.
The National Maritime Museum houses many of Royal Museums Greenwich’s 2.5 million items. Its collection is dedicated to ships and travels over large seas and oceans, hence the maritime museum name.
It was established in 1937 and currently has over 2 million items with a yearly visiting rate of over 2 million guests. Most famous galleries talk about the sea exploration of famous individuals like Henry VIII and Charles II, who founded the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
The highly British and Dutch installations comprise portraits, ship models, official records stored in mint condition, navigational equipment, and astronomical instruments.
Various exhibitions have been held at the museum and continue to do so due to its rich history and concentration on educating about British social, political, economic, and maritime culture.
Greenwich is also known as the home to many astronomical studies, a place where many regions base their time on the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Look at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition or dive into the scientific discoveries in the Polar Worlds Gallery.
Related: Best Free Museums in London
3. Cutty Sark
- Address: 38 Greenwich Church Street, London SE10 9BL
- Hours: Every day from 10 am to 5 pm; last entry is at 4:15 pm
- Fees/charges: £16 for adults and £8 for kids
- Things to do: tea experience
The Cutty Sark clipper ship was one of the fastest ships of its kind in late 19th Century England. It cost about £16,150 to build and spent only a few years helping England in the tea trade. Cutty Sark was later dedicated to the Cutty Sark Preservation Society in 1953, which led to the construction of this historical attraction in Greenwich.
Cutty Sark is an award-winning attraction that takes you through the legendary fast ship to give you a glimpse of what it used to feel like to be on board.
The main deck is where you are taught how captains used to steer the 963 tons of Victorian-era clipper. A rig climb experience takes you through mid-19th-century rigging basics.
Take lots of pictures up the staggering heights of the main mast and interact with the Cutty Sark characters, who have many amazing stories to tell about life aboard the ship.
Cutty Sark is a family-friendly place to visit in Greenwich with multiple things to do, like workshops, meet-and-greet, attend comedy shows, or join in on the Cutty Sark Afternoon Tea under the hull of the tea clipper.
4. Greenwich Market
- Address: Greenwich Market London, SE10 9HZ
- Hours: Every day from 10 am to 5:30 pm (even during Bank Holidays)
- Fees/charges: Individual charges at each stall
- Things to do: view art, buy tasty foods, visit bars/cafes
The quickest way to get to Greenwich Market is via the train or riverboat. Use the Southeastern train service to get from London Bridge to the Market in under 18 minutes. Use City Cruises like Thames River services or the Thames Clipper for boat access.
Greenwich Market is a combination of commercial stalls and artistic spaces for the best of what Greenwich has to offer to tourists.
There are over 40 arts & crafts stalls, more than 40 market stalls for food/dining, three delis/cafes/bakeries, more than ten market stalls for antiques, more than 60 fashion retail stalls, and about 14 locations for children activities like the Puppet Art with lots of animal puppets.
5. Admiral’s House at Old Royal Naval College
- Address: Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9NN
- Fees/charges: Not open to the public. Available for day hires and exclusive hires
- Things to do: host an event, partake in a ceremony/celebration
The Admiral’s House is the ultimate riverside option if you are looking for a magnificent wedding venue in Greenwich. It is located in Greenwich’s legendary landmark, the Old Royal Navy College, which is filled with other attractions like the Painted Hall.
Admiral’s House is the oldest construction in the compound, commissioned in 1660 by Charles II. It first served as a royal palace but currently hosts various events and celebrations, from weddings to seminars, business events and corporate meetups.
There are various rooms dedicated to hosting a certain number of people, from 18 guests to a whole party of 90 visitors. Sadly, you cannot visit the Admiral’s House since it is closed to the public and only open for hires.
6. Painted Hall at Old Royal Naval College
- Address: King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9NN
- Fees/charges: From £12.50 for adults and free for children/personal assistants/Royal Navy Serving Personnel
- Things to do: view the work of art in the Painted Hall, have some afternoon tea at the café
The Painted Hall is the most visited part of the Old Royal Naval College. It was designed by Sir James Thornhill in the early 18th Century and featured mind-bending paintings on its walls and ceilings.
Over 200 figures are depicted within the artistic renditions, all of which tell stories regarding various political topics, scientific achievements, cultural changes, and commercial successes.
Afternoon Tea for one person at the Painted Hall Café starts at £21. Treat yourself to some delectable sandwiches and homemade scones after a long day of checking out the marvellous wonders of the Old Royal Naval College.
Teas are in plenty, and cakes come in all forms and sizes. Have a taste of the wide tea selections for chilly or creamy afternoon sessions. You may also opt for a glass of Prosecco and afternoon tea for just £29. There is also a Painted Hall gift shop with some historical goodies.
7. Eltham Palace and Gardens
- Address: Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London, SE9 5NP
- Phone: Every day from 10 am to 5 pm
- Fees/charges: Day passes from £41.80
- Things to do: take lots of pictures, have s drink at the café, and visit various sections of the historic grounds under guided tours.
The Eltham Palace used to be a royal residence before a part of it was added in the 1930s to extend its already impressive art décor. It consists of the third-largest hammer beam roof in England and lots of culturally significant artefacts, all of which are managed by English Heritage under the ownership of the Crown Estate.
The underground section used to be a bomb shelter and acted as a game room for the guests of this magnificent residence. The greenery around the surrounding houses a glasshouse café where you can relax and take a few sips as you admire the beauty of the vast playground.
8. Royal Observatory Greenwich
- Address: Blackheath Avenue, London SE10 8XJ
- Hours: Every day from 10 am to 5 pm
- Fees/charges: Entry for adults is £16 and £8 for children
- Things to do: stand on the Prime Meridian Line, visit the rooms, take a look at the galleries
Visit the free Astronomy Center at Royal Observatory to learn more about the universe, space, and time. It is an educational experience worth visiting, especially when you are in the company of young kids and youths interested in astronomy topics.
Royal Observatory is the home of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and where the Prime Meridian passes through. London’s Planetarium is also located on the premises.
The observatory has various galleries, including the Harrison Clocks, which contains ancient timepieces that were used to navigate at sea. Head over to Christopher Wren’s Octagon room, the oldest site in the observatory, to marvel at the impressive architecture and take a few pictures.
Have fun walking and standing on the Prime Meridian Line, or if you have time, you can sign up for the ten-week courses that take you through complex topics regarding astrophysics.
9. Greenwich Park
- Address: Greenwich, London SE10 8QY
- Hours: Every day from 6 am to 7 pm
- Fees/charges: Free
- Things to do: visit historical buildings,
Greenwich Park is a big region that houses many of Greenwich’s best attractions, from the Royal Naval College to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. It is also where the infamous Queen’s House is located.
Besides visiting these historical buildings, Greenwich Park offers the Rose Garden with beautiful flowers and several plant species. Head into the Pavilion Café for a light dining experience, or check out the wild deer.
General Wolfe Statue is one of the popular structures where visitors line up to take photos in the park. The playground is also vast, and you will usually see lots of kids and families hanging out in this section.
There is an included Greenwich Park Tennis hub for hobbyists and professionals who want an engaging open-air sport in Greenwich.
Above all else, Greenwich Park hosts many yearly events and celebrations where people from all over London come to socialize, have fun, and celebrate. Please take a look at their events calendar for upcoming shows and performances.
10. The O2
- Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
- Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm
- Fees/charges: Charges vary with the destination
- Things to do: watch a game at the O2 Arena, catch a movie at the cinema, take a look at the newest additions in the exhibition space
The O2 is an entertainment complex comprising several venues, including an indoor arena (the O2 Arena), Cineworld Cinema, an exhibition centre, several bars & restaurants, a music club, and commercial sections for purchasing various goods.
It is a dome structure that was opened in 2007 and designed by Richard Rogers and Populous. It is a world-class venue with several awards and accolades, including the MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The O2 Arena is the most popular venue in the structure. It is where the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held. In 2008, the Arena sold out all of its sales, beating the massive Manchester Arena and Madison Square Garden combined sales.
11. IFS Cloud Cable Car
- Address: Unit 1, 2, 3, & 4 Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR
- Hours: 24/7
- Fees/charges: £5 for adults and £2.50 for children (you can book a round trip for double the price)
- Things to do: view the beautiful London skyline from above
The IFS company recently took over the Emirates Air Line Cable Cars that take visitors through London skylines between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
Popular sites you can see while transiting on the cable cars range from the Royal Docks, the O2, the Thames, and everything between the docks and the Peninsula. Flights usually last about 10 minutes, but all can change depending on your route and the weather conditions on any given day.
Please remember that you can only board the cable cars from the Royal Victorian riverside or North Greenwich section.
12. Greenwich Foot Tunnel
- Address: Woolwich Center, 35 Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6HQ
- Hours: 24/7
- Fees/charges: Free
- Things to do: walk and commute from the Thames to Greenwich
Over 4,000 people use the Greenwich Foot Tunnel every day to connect roads under River Thames to the Greenwich Borough. The Foot Tunnel is more than a century old and started as an easier way for workers to get to the London docks from their homes south of the Thames.
The tunnel has undergone various renovations, including repairs made after damages done to it during the Second World War. It is an industrial design tunnel which plays a huge role in ensuring ease of movement around Greenwich.
Please remember that you are not allowed to cycle in the tunnel when you plan to visit. Additionally, planned maintenance renders the tunnel unusable occasionally, so check the city’s website for any planned renovations/closure updates.
Is Greenwich Worth Visiting?
Greenwich is a must-visit venue when touring the UK. It is England’s most historical region regarding maritime culture and royal history. It is home to the Royal Naval College, the Painted Halls, Admiral’s House, the Queen’s House, Royal Observatory, and the vastly packed Greenwich Park.
Other places you may want to visit include the bars and restaurants popular in the region. Take a look at these bars for a great night full of entertainment in Greenwich: Cutty Sark Tavern, Trafalgar Tavern, Plume of Feathers, Meantime Brewery, and Goddard’s at Greenwich.
What Is Greenwich Best Known For?
The Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is used as a reference for syncing many clocks worldwide. Greenwich is known for its central time-place because of this as well as its unique Prime Meridian Line on which most tourists come to stand.