Type : City Break
Best Date : Year Round
Expense : Expensive
Things to do : Sightseeing, River Cruise, Events
Points of Interest: Cutty Sark, 02 Arena, Greenwich Park, Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, Greenwich Market
Greenwich is a Borough in London which is situated in the south east of London. In the year 2012 the Borough was the newest authority to become a Royal Borough. Greenwich is famous for being the location where the ‘Prime Meridian’ runs through and is the reason where the term ‘GMT’ Greenwich Mean Time began, the place where every country around the world references time.
The newly titled Royal Borough of Greenwich has both historic and modern attractions. Firstly we’ll start off in the North Greenwich region which is also known as the Greenwich Peninsula, this is the newer and more modern part of the borough. The 02 Arena formally known as the ‘Millennium Dome’ was built to welcome the millennium, today it is an exhibition centre which is the largest of its kind in the world. The building itself which is a large dome shape with 12 towers sticking up, which is meant to represent the hours of the clock and the months of the year which rightfully characterizes the location and ‘GMT’ Greenwich Mean Time. Inside the 02 Arena, in the centre is a huge concert hall, the biggest in Europe, which hosts various events such as Boxing, indoor tennis, concerts, award ceremonies and many more. Around the centre is various pubs, restaurants, a cinema and also clubs at some nights. Outside the 02 Arena just a 5 minute walk is the new ‘Emirates Air Line (Cable Car)’ was erupted just in time for the 2012 Olympics. The Cable Car takes passengers from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock in what they call ‘flights’. Each flight currently costs £4.50 one way or £3.40 for oyster card holders. As the Cable Car is sponsored by Emirates they have also created a facility called the ‘Emirates Experience’ which is a little simulator promoting the airline for extra costs. Another attraction in Greenwich Peninsula is the ‘Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range’ here you will see the best panoramic view of Canary Wharf, whilst playing golf.
The other popular location in Greenwich is by the ‘Cutty Sark’, this area is older and has kept many of its historic buildings. The main attraction for this area is obviously the ‘Cutty Sark’ itself, a British ship built in 1869. The ship which is situated on the river bank is now parked and stationary, where visitor would be able to go on board and even below the boat under the new glass cage. Other attractions around this area are various museums such as the ‘Queens House’, ‘National Maritime Museum’, ‘Royal Observatory’, the ‘Planetarium’ and a few other museum, some of which is free of charge. Another interesting aspect to experience in this borough is the historic ‘Greenwich Market’ which happens 7 days a week, although a lot more busier on the weekends and Sundays. Here they sell various products such as antiques, artwork, clothes and they also have many popular food stalls. Last but not the least ‘Greenwich Park’ which spans 183 acres on top of a hill. This park is another ‘Royal Park’ which provide a small group of Fallows and Dears. The park is also enclosed and has an opening time of 06:00am but closes at random times throughout the year.
Another area which is worthwhile visiting is Blackheath which is a old village with traditional shops in the middle of a Blackheath park besides ‘All saints church’.
Overall I believe Greenwich is one of London’s best kept secrets. It is shadowed by focused areas like parliament square and shopping districts like oxford street. However just half an hour east of London’s tourism centres is Greenwich a place where everyone can enjoy whether you look for entertainment, history or just to chill in one of the city’s most beautiful park.
Travelling within Greenwich
There are only two main locations in Greenwich where tourists need to be aware of. These are ‘North Greenwich (Greenwich Peninsula)’ where the 02 Arena is situated and ‘Cutty Sark’ where the name sake boat is and Greenwich Park which host many attractions in itself is just a walk away.
The ‘Cutty Sark’ is only accessible through DLR, whilst ‘North Greenwich is accessible through the London Underground (Jubilee Line). Both locations are easily connected by various buses which should only take 10 minutes.
The Thames Clipper also connects the two locations in Greenwich, which will be a nice scenic view however too short of a ride to enjoy.
Attractions and Stations:
Cutty Sark for Greenwich (DLR) Station : Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory
North Greenwich Station: Greenwich Peninsula, 02 Arena, Emirates Cable Car, Thames Clipper, Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range
Travelling within London
Travelling in London is very easy, maybe even one of the easiest in the world (in my opinion). Buses, Underground, Overground and even the Thames clipper connect every region and area within London. London prices are determined by zones and the duration of travel, buses are £1.50 for any 1 hour of travel, meaning you can use as many buses within the hour. The underground is charged through the number of zones you pass through, zone 1 is the most expensive to travel, overground is the same whilst the Thames clipper is a little different. London transport are also connected with the Oyster card which is used instead of cash and the paper tickets. Oyster cards can be used with any of mode of public transport apart from the taxis.
Taxis in London are one of the most iconic in the world, they are also known as the “London Black Cabs“, they can be taken and stopped anywhere in the streets or designated taxi bays.
Santander Cycles or better known as the Boris Bikes are available and used by both locals and tourists. All you will need is to find a cycle bay, input a credit card, take a bike and ride until your heart desires (or when you reach your destination). It is charged by how long you use the bikes, and when you are finished you simply find another bike bay and re- dock the bike so that the timer stops. The charge will be put on your credit card.
As a tourist there is no need to rent a car as London has the most accessible public transport in the world. However walking is not advisable as London is one of the largest city in Europe.