London Stories and Tips

Greenwich

Greenwich Foot Tunnel Photo, London, England

Greenwich is a little way out of the centre of London, but it is well worth the effort to go there. It is really beautiful and is the home of several very interesting attractions - Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory, the Queen's House and the Royal Naval College. All this makes up Maritime Greenwich which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We spent a very pleasant afternoon exploring this lovely area.

Instead of taking the underground all the way to Greenwich, we took public transport to the Isle of Dogs and then used the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. This is a really interesting way to get there. It is reached via glass domes on either side of the river. It was built in the Victorian era and takes you right under the Thames from Island Gardens to right next to the Cutty Sark. There are lots of steps up and down, but there is a lovely old-fashioned lift as well. In the tunnel it is very damp and cold - be aware of that before you enter, but it is a bit different and our son loved the idea of being under the river.

When you emerge in Greenwich, the first sight you see is the wonderful Cutty Sark. This lovely ship was a tea and wool clipper and has been wonderfully preserved. She was built in 1869 and was the fastest sailing ship of her time. Initially she sailed the tea route to China. Later, she brought wool back from Australia.

The Cutty Sark has been here in Greenwich in dry dock since 1954. A few years ago they had a devastating fire, and a complete conservation process was undergone. Luckily the ship was saved, and was reopened to the public on 25 April this year. She sits now on a wonderful glass sea.

You can actually go on board the ship and explore. We did not have time to do this, we just admired her from the "shore", but apparently you need to book tickets in advance as they are in high demand.

We spent an hour or so, just exploring the wonderful little streets that make up Greenwich. It is very picturesque and has a real village feel, you can hardly believe this is part of London. That being said, the architecture of the area has a very grand feel.

There are lots and lots of wonderful riverside pubs and places to eat or have a drink. There is also a lot of grassy parkland areas and the most wonderful shops. Most of them are independent shops and very quirky. Greenwich also has a wonderful market which is very famous.

If you do come here to visit the other main attractions, I definitely recommend you take some time out to just wander around Greenwich and soak up its unique atmosphere.

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