Robert Bye / Unsplash
Jason Allen 18/08/23
The Borough – sorry, the Royal Borough of Greenwich (to give it its proper title) has much to commend it. It is, after all, the home of time itself. And because there are so many things to do in Greenwich, it is quite appropriately the perfect place to spend a little time, too.
There’s the unmatched joy of discovering one-of-a-kind gems in Greenwich Market, before settling in for a night of (genuinely good) comedy. You can delve into the area’s maritime past on a perfectly preserved tall ship, or follow in the footsteps of centuries of stargazers at the Royal Observatory. And as you might expect, the neighbourhood not short on green space, either, from the breathtaking views you can enjoy at the top of Greenwich Park to the sculpture-lined linear park that curves around Greenwich Peninsula.
So, whether you want to lose yourself for a morning, an afternoon or – heck, we’ll say it – an entire weekend, here are all the best things to do in Greenwich…
Board The Cutty Sark
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s fairly obviously a large historic ship. Built as a tea clipper, just before steamships took over as a primary means of sea trading, the Cutty Sark was – thankfully – beautifully preserved. Today she remains a beautiful, iconic Greenwich fixture, and all 963 tonnes of her is yours to explore – you can even climb the rigging – while below deck plays host to sea shanty singalongs, stand-up gigs, and ceilidhs.
Details: Cutty Sark, King William Walk, SE10 9HT | £18+
Hunt for Treasure in Greenwich Market
Eat, drink, purchase a range of locally-produced boutique items, eat some more! Greenwich Market is home to 120 traders, selling everything (quite literally everything) from vinyl to stained glass to hand-knitted children’s clothes to vintage hats to handcrafted spatulas (yep) – it’s an endless treasure trove of stuff. Do you need any of it? Debatable! Will you want an alarmingly high selection of it? Without a doubt!
Details: Greenwich Market, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 9HZ | Free entry
Swing by The Queen’s House
No, this isn’t Buckingham Palace. Yes, it’s really called The Queen’s House. The Queen in question? Anne of Denmark, wife of King James VI and I (that’s one King, two sets of numerals, by the way, not two Kings called James – but we’re getting distracted). The house is a classic – literally, it’s the first building consciously built in the ‘classical’ style by architect Inigo Jones, and is full of regal portraiture and nautical-themed artwork, making it one of the fanciest things to do in Greenwich without spending a penny.
Details: Romney Rd, SE10 9NF | Free
Soak Up The Views in Greenwich Park
London’s oldest Royal Park! As with the majority of Greenwich, it’s extremely beautiful. It’s 183 acres of verdant greenery, including a 13 acre grasslands enclosure that’s home to foxes, birds, and a herd of fallow deer. The hilltop is one of the best viewpoints in London, where you can soak up the classical architecture of the Old Royal Naval College set against the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf beyond. In summer the bandstand hosts free live music, making it an ideal picnic spot. And best of all, the park conveniently connects many of the other great things to do in Greenwich, including the Queen’s House, the observatory and the maritime museum.
Details: SE10 8QY | Free
Visit All The Finest Pubs in Greenwich
Head on a Nudge-curated bar crawl and drink in the myriad delights of Greenwich. Kick things off at the Cutty Sark, swing by the Trafalgar Tavern, drop in on the Gipsy Moth, stop off for a pizza at the Pelton arms, and then really get stuck in for the evening downstairs at Oliver’s Jazz Bar. It doesn’t get much better.
Hop Between Hemispheres at The Royal Observatory
Turns out that ‘observe-a-Tory’ isn’t just a very dull game you can play whilst watching BBC Parliament. The Greenwich Observatory (which contains the Peter Harrison Planetarium) is a treat for young and old alike – in fact, basically everyone except flat-earthers. It’s also home to the Meridian line, and Greenwich Mean Time itself! Don’t be late.
Details: Blackheath Ave, SE10 8XJ | £16
Follow The Tide
If you’re after weird and wonderful public art, courtesy of artists including Damien Hirst and Morag Myerscough, then you’ve come to the right elevated linear park (you heard). Designed as London’s answer to New York’s ‘High Line’, The Tide is, eventually, going to be a 5km-long experience (it’s currently around 1km), featuring a series of 9m high raised walkways around the Greenwich riverside. As Blondie once sung: The Tide is high, and I’m moving on (to look at more interesting pieces of public art).
Details: Pier Walk, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0ES | Free
Give Yourself Neckache in The Painted Hall
This place is called The Painted Hall. And honestly, that’s underselling it just a tad. It’s part of the Old Royal Naval College, and when it was built 300 years ago they bussed in Baroque artist Sir James Thornhill to do a Michelangelo on the place. He spent the next nineteen years covering 40,000 square feet of walls & ceilings with spectacular paintwork. Oh, and Nelson’s ghost is in a room next door.
Details: Old Royal Naval College, Romney Road, London SE10 9NN | £15, or £5 on the first Sunday of the month
Bone Up at the National Maritime Museum
Credit – The National Maritime Museum
Greenwich is old, and it’s nautical, and these two things are celebrated and explored at the National Maritime Museum – a free, and particularly family-friendly, destination for a day out in Greenwich. Set on gorgeous lawns manicured with military (specifically, naval) precision, the grand building is home to an array of great exhibits – currently, a particularly awe-inspiring collection of the world’s best space photography (warning, likely to make you elicit head-scratching comments along the lines of “Cor…the universe is…big, isn’t it?”).
Details: Romney Rd, SE10 9NF | Free
Don’t Be Putt Off by the Peninsula Golf Range
Depending on how seriously you take your golf, you can either come here for the 20,000m² of floodlit playing green and driving range astroturf… or the crazy putt, which is jokes. There’s also a cigar terrace, deep-fried oreos, and an illuminated wall of wine comprising more than 500 bottles ready for you to explore. Again, depending on how seriously you take your golf…
Details: 265 Tunnel Avenue, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0QE | £12+
Ride the Cable Car!
Yes, we can see you smirking from here. Whilst all Londoners are dimly aware of the cable car that connects a slightly obscure peninsula of North Greenwich with a truly obscure area of the Docklands, very few have ridden on it. And more fool them, because it’s fantastic! It’s a seriously under-appreciated mode of transport, taking in panoramic vistas on both sides of the river, and the bustling nautical comings-and-goings on the river below. Honestly, just try it.
Details: Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, SE10 0FR
Maryon Wilson Animal Park
Admit it. At some level, you want to go to a petting zoo, and have your picture taken with some lairy looking goats and some indifferent pigs. Well, at Maryon Wilson Animal Park, you can. It’s a smashing day out for a family (or, you know, a solo adult – you do you). Just get there early if you want to get into the deer pen (again, admit it – you do).
Details: Flamsteed Rd, SE7 8HT | Free
Take in some Niche History at The Fan Museum
Yes, this place does only fans. And that should get your pulses racing, because it holds an incredible collection of 5,000 antique air-wafters under its roof! But quite seriously, this is one of the most endearing and unusual museums we’ve come across in London, and it’s genuinely worth a visit. Particularly for a spot of tea in the orangery afterwards.
Details: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London, SE10 8ER | £5
Give In To Mamma Mia! The Party
An experience which will either leave you completely cold, or else be the greatest theatrical experience of your life. There is simply no middle ground. However, due to the extraordinarily-powerful pull of the music of mysterious Swedish geniuses ABBA (alchemists are still trying to unpick quite how they managed it), this all-singing, all-dancing voyage to the Isle of Skopelos is genuinely hard to resist. So go on – take a chance (take-a-take-a-chance-chance).
Details: Unit 6.05, The, 02 Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
See The Future of Art at NOW Gallery
NOW Gallery is all about contemporary art. And just in case you didn’t catch that from the shouty lettering, they’re really hammering it home by showcasing cutting-edge modern art installations – which have previously included AR-enhanced alien landscapes, pop-up jazz clubs, and a sea of yellow origami cranes.
Details: The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ | Free
Find Yourself Up the Creek
Beloved, much-missed, clearly mad comedy provocateur Malcolm Hardee was the man who launched this long-running comedic institution. Everyone who’s everyone has played there, and it’s without a shadow of a doubt one of London’s great comedy clubs. Head to a Friday or Saturday show to see the best of the UK’s club comics – or book in for a Blackout show, and watch 15 brave young comedians attempt to perform for five minutes without the audience turning off the lights.
Details: 302 Creek Rd, Greenwich, SE10 9SW | £8.80+
Visit The O2
The ill-fated millennium dome was reincarnated from its past life as a walk-through exhibition of the human body (remember that was a thing?) as one of London’s top live event venues. Now you can head in to see everything from comedy to boxing under its tent-like roof – or explore the other side of that roof by climbing up and over the O2 (with the option to refresh yourself with a glass of Champagne at the top).
Details: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Eat at ALL the top restaurants in Greenwich
There’s plenty of what you fancy down in in Greenwich. Whether that’s churros in the market (and trust us, it really is churros in the market), proper traditional pie with mash and parsley liquor at Goddards, one of the last remaining authentic Pie & Mash-eries in the city, or sensational sausage baps from Heap’s. Hearty, satisfying, and perfect surprise-nap-on-the-Jubilee-Line-home cuisine, basically.
Want to tick off all the best things to do in one day? We’ve planned it out for you in your Greenwich Itinerary.
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