Whether you’re planning a romantic date or something a little more plutonic…
The planetarium at the Royal Observatory is always a good shout.
For starters it’s in Greenwich Park – one of the largest green spaces in South-East London, offering up possibly the most beautiful hill-top view in the city.
If you head towards the observatory and hunt out the statue of General James Wolfe, you can look down over a collection of majestic, white Palladian buildings, like the Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College, backed by a towering grey strip of the city. You’ll see The Shard, The Cheese Grater, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, and the O2. Sure, it gets busy on weekends, but it’s an ideal place for a picnic. Particularly at sunset. Particularly with a glass of wine. And a large chunk of crusty bread with cheese.
It’s also the only place in London where you can lie back in the darkness and visit all of the moons in the solar system; fly to the heart of the sun; and experience the birth of a star…
Not that cheese isn’t delicious or anything.
The planetarium here screens a number of different daily shows, from 11am until 5pm, all of which are soothingly narrated live by an expert astronomer. There’s Moons Beyond Counting, which gets you up close and personal with our own moon, before introducing you to a selection of those orbiting other planets; The Sky Tonight, which explains in detail everything hidden within the night sky; and Meet The Neighbours where you get to vote alongside your fellow audience members which of the eight planets in our solar system to delve into, before taking off to explore neighbouring stars and far-away galaxies. They even host regular screenings of cult sci-fi films, after which the resident astronomers will talk you through the science behind the fiction.
All of which are pretty stellar.
NOTE: The planetarium at the Royal Observatory is open everyday, 10am-5pm. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children – or £9 and £4.50 if you book in advance, which you can do on their website here.
Peter Harrison Planetarium | Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ
Like stuff that’s a little otherworldly? Check out our guide to the best cinemas in London.