Why guided tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?

Why guided tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?

Why Tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?

When I travel, either with family or solo, I tend to plan my travels beforehand and spend some time researching on the type of organised tours that are available. Often these tours act as guides to explore the areas and beyond. More often than not when on a short getaway of about three or four days, I tend to join guided tours to explore a neighbouring country or another city. There are times I join a free city walking tour and at other times, I like the city guided tours organised by third party providers. For me, it makes sense to book one of these tours and I share my reasons with you:

1 | Tours prove to be good value for money.

Foremost, organised tours such as day trips often covers more than one destination and I get to experience these hassle-free. I don’t have to think of transportation costs from one place to another. [Read about our amazing day trip to Chamonix, France from Geneva ⇒ A Perfect Romantic 3-day Itinerary in Geneva

Value for money is not restricted to just day trips – Combined tickets are also excellent value for money. I buy these beforehand, online at least a couple of days prior so I know I am covered. Purchasing tickets online is often cheaper than buying it at the ticket office on the day.

2 | Not to be disappointed when I get there.

I was disappointed in Amsterdam – [Read about my experience in Amsterdam where I missed on visiting a major attraction because I did not plan and purchase a ticket for the visit prior to visiting Amsterdam ⇒ Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 Experiences in 48 Hours. AND in Milan even when I tried to get tickets a few days prior!

3 | Organised tours often comes with a tour guide

And along with it is a wealth of information which I do not have to dig up through google or history books .

Read more on why Planning a trip is important and what you need to consider before embarking on your journey.

5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is Important 

Pretravel Planning – 25 Top Tips for a Stress-free Vacation


Suggested Tours for Greenwich, London

With these benefits in mind, I have carefully selected some tours through a third party provider which I use when I travel. I use Get Your Guide Tour group because they offer one of the best tours with excellent value for money. I say this knowing that they do because I have personally used them to organise my own tours and none has disappoint. I hope you will find these useful too.

I have chosen the below tours on Greenwich, a quintessential English town, about twenty-minutes journey from Central London. Greenwich has so much to offer visitors, from age 2 to 99! A day spent in Greenwich is a day well-spent indeed! With my absolute love for this pretty town, I have selected a combination of value tickets to some sights, guided tours and day trips – all, with the ultimate goal that your experiences at Greenwich will be enriched.

Please note that these are suggestions to enhance your travel experience to and in London. Of course, feel free to choose more appropriate tours to suit your needs from the vast choices that GetYourGuide provide.

You can read our full Disclaimer Notice here.

Selection from Get Your Guide

Value for Money Tickets – Single and Combined:

 
 

Day trips from Greenwich / London

 

Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Greenwich and London? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, Also, if there is any other interests you have in Greenwich and London which you would like to explore, please let me know, and I shall find out relevant information for you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a splendid time exploring Greenwich and London.

Georgina

Greenwich in 1 day-45 Experiences and More to cherish

Greenwich in 1 day-45 Experiences and More to cherish

The second in MyCity & MyTown, Appreciating London Series is Greenwich.

For now, come along and let’s explore Greenwich.

Greenwich in 1 day - 45 Experiences and more

Greenwich London

Greenwich is a pretty little town just a stone’s throw away from London, in the south-east. The town sits on the banks of River Thames, accessible with a 20-minute journey from London (Bank Station). It is a popular destination for tourists because of its maritime and astronomy history.

There are a good selection of shops for fashion and jewellery and a wealth of quality food to choose from with many pubs here serving food [see below]. This quintessential town is home to one of London’s popular flea market, Greenwich Market [more on this market below] which is just 2-minutes from the station.

The area, Royal Greenwich Park is host to the Royal Museum Greenwich (RMG) which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of four top attractions.

1. Royal Observatory,

2. Queen’s House

3. National Maritime Museum

4. Cutty Sark.

All of these attractions are within walking distance of each other and would typically fill a full-day itinerary.

Plan ahead to maximise your experience

This quaint little town is definitely a Must-Do for families with kids, grand-kids, solo travellers and couples – not only for the over 50’s but at any age! You will experience history, lots of free exhibits and guided tours. You will also save money when buying a combined ticket and there are additional savings when buying online – which means you need to plan your visit at least a couple of days prior – more on this below.

In addition, there is a lot to see and do in this little town and if you only have a day to spare, then you may need a workable itinerary so that you do not miss out on memorable experiences. For a workable itinerary when visiting Greenwich, plan ahead!

Read Next: 5 Reasons why travel planning is important – I think it does wonders for your wellbeing!

As for me, I wanted to witness the Red Time Ball at 1 p.m. which meant that everything else had to revolve around that. Read on and discover how I managed 45 Experiences and More in One Day at Greenwich. Let me know what you think of my day in comments below.

An early start to Greenwich in 1 day

I am familiar with Greenwich as I frequently visit here to meet friends for a meal or for drinks. However, on this particular occasion as I re-traced my steps as an “explorer/adventurer”, my objective was to achieve my itinerary as I planned.

I began my day early to arrive at Greenwich for 09:45. I started the day right 🙂 with a cup of coffee and a Chelsea bun at the family owned Peyton and Byrne Cafe. Oh yes! I do have a sweet tooth although I do not indulge with such treats often. However, on this occasion, with all the walking ahead of me, I felt I needed the sugar!

My first stop was the Greenwich Market. Afterwards, I walked around the town for a bit before making my way along King William Walk and across the Royal Park towards the Royal Observatory and the Planetarium. It was not a very busy morning on that day in the market or the town, so it was a little easier to click away. The following is the itinerary of how I spent the day at Greenwich.

1 | Greenwich Market

Each time I visit Greenwich, I take the opportunity to visit the Greenwich Market and today was no different. Greenwich Market is located in the centre of town and is unmissable. The aroma of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread and pastries was inviting even as I walked along the road towards the market. It was not busy but the crowd was beginning to form.

Greenwich Market was established in 1737 and today, this covered market is fun, colourful and bustling with shoppers from the beginning of the market-day till it closes. There is no shortage of a great selection of antiques shops, handmade gift ideas, arts and crafts, British designer fashion and jewellery.

As with any markets, Greenwich Market offers delicious street food on-the-go that spans the globe, ranging from organic, vegan or gluten-free options.

There is also a huge selection of freshly baked bloomers, delis and cakes, something for everyone! 

If you are a foodie or if you just want an off-the-beaten path experience with eateries that even the locals don’t know about,  you could join the Greenwich Food Tour where you will experience English and International cuisines. Find out more on Greenwich Food Tour.

Greenwich Market:

Opening hours:  10:00 – 17:30,  7-days a week and Bank Holidays

Address: Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ


2. In and around Greenwich Town

It is certainly a pleasure to walk around this quaint town! In a little town such as this, you will be surprised to find a variety of shops for fashion and jewellery, on the main street and some tucked away in the nooks of the town.

Nauticalia

A shop that I will highly recommend, is Nauticalia, located on Nelson Road and on the corner of King William Walk – you can’t miss it! It is famously quoted as the First Shop in the World! but this claim is probably not true – it is more accurate to regard that this is the first shop in Greenwich since Greenwich Mean Time was invented, so first shop since time began in 1847.

Nauticalia is a beautiful little shop, which looks more like a novelty store from the outside. It is home to unique nautical gifts and collectables. You will find beautiful clocks and barometers, tools and gadgets, and compasses – all making wonderful souvenirs to purchase. Nauticalia is popular amongst tourists as it is a great part of Greenwich and it is worth a visit when you are here.

You would find Nauticalia at:

25 Nelson Road, Greenwich, SE10 9JB


Places to Eat when visiting Greenwich in 1 day

There is amazingly a wealth of quality food to choose from with many pubs here serving the pub-grub, Italian and French cafes that serves great coffees and fresh pastries,  a choice of Chinese, Vietnamese and of course food-on-the-go. The following places offer a good choice if you are looking for one.

1 | Greenwich Tavern

Greenwich Tavern. It is pub that also serves cocktails and offers a family-friendly setting and a kids menu .
Greenwich Tavern is set over two-floors. It is pub that also serves cocktails and offers a family-friendly setting and a kids menu .

Greenwich Tavern is an attractive pub with an elegant interior that serves traditional British pub grub, fish & chips, burgers and sausage & mash. It offers a kids menu for your young ones as well. This pub offers cocktails and beers along with real ales. I had visited here on a number of occasions but have not tried the cocktails here  yet. It is definitely a place for me to return to on another day during happy hour, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

2 | Kings Arms

The Kings Arms at Greenwich Town for your pub-grub!
The Kings Arms at Greenwich Town for your pub-grub!

You could head-over to the Kings Arms, for a traditional pub-grub also if you prefer a different setting.

3 | Variety of restaurants

Greenwich offer a selection of cafes and restaurants to cater for all palates.
Greenwich offer a selection of cafes and restaurants to cater for all palates.

There are a great variety of restaurants such as Bills, takeaways and cafes which caters for all palates.

4 | Goddards

Goddards of Greenwich - Serving home-made pies since 1890
Goddards of Greenwich – Serving home-made pies since 1890 | Image: georgina_daniel

The family-run cafe, Goddards of Greenwich, has been here since 1890 and offer delicious home-made pies which you may want to try.


It was easy to be lost in my own thoughts when here but I was mindful of my time and everything that I wanted to see before 6 p.m. Besides the quaint town, the Market and the shops, what makes Greenwich popular are the four main attractions of the Royal Museums Greenwich.


Royal Museums Greenwich

With much anticipation, I began to make my way along King William Walk and across the Royal Park towards the Royal Observatory and Planetarium, which was my first stop. It was a pleasant, cool morning with the rays of sun coming through between the trees and I just felt that the day ahead was going to be a splendid one.

1 | The Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich, London

When one thinks of the town Greenwich, one can immediately relate the town to GMT, the Greenwich Mean Time, the Prime Meridian of the world, where zero degree longitude is marked – Yes! it is the home where time begins and ends, where east meets west

Greenwich is important to me because of the simple memories I have treasured during my visits there with my children.

As you may already know, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich Park is the Home of Astronomy and the Greenwich Mean Time. It sits on a hill overlooking the Thames River. At the gates of the Royal Observatory, you will find the famous clock, Shepherd Clock.

i | Shepherd Clock at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich

The Shepherd Clock at Greenwich
The Shepherd Clock at Greenwich, London

Although the concept of time and time-scale was conceived throughout many centuries, the practicality and technical ability to distribute accurate time into everyday life did not become possible until 1847 when Shepherd Clock, became the first clock to ever to show GMT to the public. The unique feature of this famous clock is in the original slave dial. You will note that while the minute and seconds hand are conventional, the hour hand goes around the dial once in 24-hours, so at midday, the minute hand points to the top but the hour hand points to the bottom!

ii | Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich, London

The Prime Meridian at the Meridian Courtyard in Greenwich - shows the exact distance to a destination.
The Prime Meridian at the Meridian Courtyard in Greenwich – shows the exact distance to a destination.

Besides the Shepherd Clock, the Prime Meridian of the World passes through here, marking the divide between the Eastern and the Western hemisphere. You can find this in the Meridian Courtyard.

iii | Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium

More importantly, of course, the Royal Observatory was created in the 1670s spurred on by King Charles II who wanted better navigation system for seamen and traders. He asked Sir Christopher Wren, who was also an architect, to design the building which is called Flamsteed House.

iv | Time and Longitude Galleries at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich, London

It is here, at Flamsteed House, that you will find the Royal Observatory’s Time and Longitude galleries, home to the celebrated John Harrison’s “sea clocks”, H4. This is an interesting gallery especially for those with a scientific mind who wish to explore the history behind the various solutions developed by mathematicians and clockmakers in the 18th century. Also, on display here is the GPS receiver which Sir Robin Knox used on his round-the-world record breaking voyage in 1994.

v | Red Time Ball at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich, London

Another attraction in Flamsteed House which, I think, you should simply witness at least once in your lifetime is the “function” of the bright red Time Ball which sits on top of Flamsteed House.

Historically, this red ball distributed time to ships on the Thames River and many Londoners. The questions you may ask – What does it exactly do? And how does it do it?

Well, since 1833 till today, each day at 12:55, the time ball rises half-way up its mast. At 12:58 exactly, the ball is raised all the way to the top. Then, at 13:00 exactly, the ball falls, thus providing a signal to anyone who is looking.

When it was first used in 1833, the ship’s chronometer was accurately set before it set sail.

vi | Planetarium at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich

Take a journey through space by visiting the Planetarium.Royal Observatory astronomer presents you with a journey to explore the night sky by flying to the heart of the Sun, takes you to the distant galaxies and see the birth of a star or land on Mars. This is an exciting ‘adventure’ for both young and old and definitely worth the experience. It is a ticketed event and it costs £8.00

vii | The View

From the top of Greenwich Park at the Royal Observatory, you will have stunning views across the Royal Park towards the Queens House.

viii | Stroll across Greenwich Park

It is a pleasant stroll downhill, across the Park to the Queen’s House. When strolling through the park, be sure to keep a look out for the Royal Deer! Yeap! Deer – they are said to be the direct descendants of King Henry VIII’s hunting stock.

Useful information on the Royal Observatory and Planetarium Greenwich, London

Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:30

Admission:        Adult: £15.00     Child: £6.50     Day Explorer: Adult – £24.25 / Child – £11.50

Facilities:
Toilets and baby-change facilities are located:

  • on the Lower Ground floor;
  • after exiting the Admission area;
  • on the right-hand side after exiting the Admissions area;
  • at the base of the external staircases in front of Flamsteed House.

Tickets:

For tickets to visit the Royal Observatory which includes an audio guide, you could peruse Get your Guide for various combinations and to Save Money you could purchase the great value Day Explorer Ticket which combines a visit to the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark (see below on Cutty Sark), 

2 | The Queen’s House Greenwich, London

The Queen’s House in Greenwich, is  a historic royal house which served as a former royal residence. Once known as Greenwich Palace, it was the residence where Elizabeth I was born. The House was built between 1616 and 1636 and was designed by the famous architect, Inigo Jones. Jones was inspired by his travels in Italy and the Queen’s House was the first classical building in England and one of the very few surviving designs of Inigo Jones. The building is Grade 1 listed and is an ancient monument and includes the 35 metres (115 feet) axial vista to River Thames.

It all began when James I gifted the building to his wife, Anne of Denmark, by way of an apology for swearing in her presence because she shot one of his favourite dogs whilst hunting. Work on the building commenced in 1616 but halted in 1619 when Anne of Denmark died, with only the first floor completed. Work on the house  continued again after some years in 1629, when Charles I gave Greenwich to his wife, Henrietta Maria. The House was finally completed in 1636.  Additional wings to the building were linked by colonnades built in 1807.

Colonnades linking the main building, the Queen's House with the additional wings
Colonnades linking the main building, the Queen’s House with the additional wings

i | Wander for Free

Today, you can wander around this magnificent building for Free which has undergone massive restoration in recent years and imagine what life would have been like all the way back in the 17th century.

Connecting arches between the colonnades at the Queen's House, Greenwich.
Connecting arches between the colonnades at the Queen’s House, Greenwich.

ii | 400 years of history

As well, the Queen’s House is home to a wealth of history – all 400 years depicted through an art collection that spans through the ages. The most interesting of the portraits is the iconic Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I which was acquired for the nation in 2016. You will also discover the many stories of England’s past from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I to Charles I and beyond including the history of its architecture.

An art collection through the ages at the Queen's House
An art collection through the ages at the Queen’s House

The Queen’s House is also known as the “House of Delight.”  Legend has it that it is a “haunted” palace.

More on this below, on the Tulip Staircase.

Guided tours are available throughout the day for you to join. For now, come along with me as I share with you my discoveries of this iconic building. 

iii | The “white” Queen’s House

This iconic building painted in white was impressive from the outside and it is hard to believe that it was once a red-brick building.

The white House in Greenwich. Queen's House
The main entrance to the Queen’s House. Hard to imagine that it was once a red brick building.

Walking into the building, I began to realise the magnificence of the architecture …

iv | The Great Hall

On entering the Great Hall, I found myself standing within the four-walls of a cube, 12 metres x 12 metres x 12 metres that has one of the most beautifully designed ceiling and floor that I had seen. Simple but effective, yet making a statement of architectural genius.

v | Beautifully decorated ceiling in gold leaf

Standing in the midst of this cubic masterpiece, at first glance looking up, you will notice a simplistic and a beautifully decorated ceiling in gold leaf. It reflects painstaking craftmanship of an intricate and unique design that goes well with the rest of the interior of the House.

The intricate detail of the architecture of the ceiling in the Great Hall of the Queen's House.
A beautiful gold-leaf patterns to match the rest of the architecture. The intricate detail of the architecture of the ceiling in the Great Hall of the Queen’s House.

I understood from the tour guide that the design was crafted by Richard Wright, a Turner Prize winner. The delicate and ornate work began in 2016 and was completed in nine weeks. This was the first time the ceiling had been worked upon since 1639.

The original decoration of the ceiling were six paintings by Orazio and Gentileschi which were removed very carefully and now belongs to Marlborough House in London.

The Great Hall is the heart of the building. From the first floor gallery, you get a closer view of this incredible architecture.

vi | Walk on the incredible striking black and white marble from the 1630’s

When you are on the first floor, you see the squared floor below in a striking black and white marble from the 1630’s. The floor of the cubic Great Hall. The floor measures 12 metres x 12 metres and is decorated in 1630’s black and white marble.

vii | Views from the first floor gallery of Queen’s House

From this window, is a view straight to the Thames. Queen Mary II ensured that the closest distance between the College Buildings (over the road) is exactly the width of the Queen's House,
From this window, is a view straight to the Thames. Queen Mary II ensured that the closest distance between the College Buildings (over the road) is exactly the width of the Queen’s House,

Although the Great Hall is the centrepiece of the Queens House, a walk through the first floor gallery gives you spectacular views of the exterior. On one side, there is a view straight to the Thames! Queen Mary II ensured that there was uninterrupted view of the Thames and that the closest distance between the College Buildings, situated over the road is exactly the width of the House, see the below photo. Wasn’t she a smart woman!

Then, on the other side of the first floor gallery square, you get the view of the Royal Observatory, high up the hill, across the Royal Park.

From this window, is the view of the Royal Observatory across the Royal Park. The balcony provides an area for the Queen and her ladies to watch riding and hunting taking place in the Park.
From this window, is the view of the Royal Observatory across the Royal Park. The balcony provides an area for the Queen and her ladies to watch riding and hunting taking place in the Park | Image: georgina_daniel

viii | The Tulip Stairs

The Tulip Stairs is definitely unique! You need to see it to know what I mean. This magnificent ornate, wrought iron structure is one of the original features of the House. It is the first geometric self-supporting spiral stairs in Britain. The paint, which is a quirky shade of blue is unique, because it was derived from crushed glass.

In addition to it’s unique features, the Tulip Stairs is popular for another reason which has contributed to the Queen’s House reputation as the House of Delight.

In addition, the Tulip Stairs is associated with a legend which has contributed to the Queen’s House to be popularly known as the House of Delight.

House of Delight

Legend has it that the Queen’s House, also known as the House of Delight is haunted. The Tulip Stairs was where the photos taken by Rev Hardy in 1966 showed two or three shrouded figures on the staircase.

[Later sightings of ghosts was in 2002 in the balcony of the House].

[To find out more about seeing the Queen’s House ghost source materials, email Geraldine Charles at GLChar@rmg.co.uk.]

Next, continue on your visit to the incredible feature of the Queen’s Presence Chamber, located on the first floor. The space, used as a public-facing identity was where Queen Elizabeth I would meet her courtiers.

ix | Queen’s Presence Chamber

The opulent ceiling of this room dates from early years of Henrietta Maria when it was used as her bedchamber. The bed was positioned directly under the coat of arms on the ceiling.

The fireplace in this room is an interesting feature. Above the fireplace, sits the initials of Charles I and Henrietta Maria Regina.

In addition to these two incredible original features of the House, the infamous Armada Portrait is on permanent display in this room.

Armada Portrait

The Armada Portrait is displayed in the Queen's House.
The Armada Portrait is displayed in the Queen’s House.

The iconic “Armada Portrait” was painted after England defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. The portrait was owned by the descendants of Sir Francis Drake. Drake was a sea captain and a pirate who fought against the Spanish invasion.

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I is a statement of her power as a monarch who was only the second English queen to rule in her own right.

Mask of Youth

Queen Elizabeth 1 was a virgin queen at the age of 55, at the time of the Armada Invasion in 1588.  The portraits during this period became known as “Mask of Youth” because the Queen appeared idealised, ageless and invulnerable, created to portray her intellect, innocence as well as her strength and charisma.

The Queen's House: Mask of Youth
The Queen’s House: Mask of Youth – created by Mat Collishaw suggests how Elizabeth I may have looked like during the Armada Portrait.

Above is a picture of an animatronic mask displayed opposite the Armada Portrait created by Mat Collishaw, a contemporary artist. Drawing information from various sources, he had created this mask to portray how Elizabeth I may have looked when the Armada Portrait was created.

My thoughts on Queen’s House

My visit to the Queens House was a rewarding experience because I learnt more about its history than I had read. Listening to information from experienced tour guides was an added benefit and I can remember more. Somehow. I had time to admire the architecture at leisure. I found the tour guides extremely helpful and I enjoyed my conversations about the House with them. The entry to this iconic building is FREE, although a donation is recommended. I would highly recommend a visit to the Queen’s House in Greenwich.


Practical information on the Queen’s House Greenwich, London

Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00

Admission: Free

Tours are ticketed: £9.00 (online/in advance) or £10.00 (walk-in)

NB: Combined tickets are available for all attractions which works out cheaper – Day Explorer: Adult: £24.25    Child: £11.50

Address: Romney Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF

Facilities:

At the base of the Tulip staircase – Toilets, baby-change facilities and an accessible toilet.

External horseshoe stairs – for level access


3 | The National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London

The National Maritime Museum is a perfect place to visit after the Queens House as it is located next door.

i | A museum fit for both young and old and possibly the largest of its kind in the world

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich | Image: georgina_daniel

The National Maritime Museum is a museum fit for all ages featuring popular artworks and space-photography that will capture your interest from the time you walk-in!

An interesting venue for both kids and adults, a place where you can stroll at leisure and take a breather while your kids or grand-kids are entertained with the many activities and objects that are showcased here.

The following five attractions were the primary highlights of my visit:

i | Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle at the National Maritime Museum

The intricate details of Nelson's Ship - showcased in a Bottle at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
The intricate details of Nelson’s Ship – showcased in a Bottle at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle is a replica of Nelson’s HMS Victory, in a bottle by Yinka Shonibare, MBE. This is located just outside the Maritime Museum building. It is a popular piece of artwork, scaled-down to the very detail of the Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory in which he died during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805;

ii | Figure Head Collection at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London

The Figure Head Collection is a collection of more than 230 figureheads, reflecting ornamental carvings from late 17th century. It tells a story of how it developed through the centuries until early 20th century;

iii | The Traders Gallery at the National Maritime Museum

The Traders Gallery tells a story of British history which spanned over 250 years under the powerful East India Company. The East India Company’s trading patterns changed in the late 1700’s. By this time, it made most of its money from the trade in China tea, as tea drinking became popular in Britain.

iv | Great Map of the World at the National Maritime Museum

The Great Map of the World is a super large map drawn on the floor. You can find it on the second floor, at the North Wing of the National Maritime Museum. This huge Map makes a nice playground for children from age 1 to 99!

The North Wing provides a nice area to relax, take a break, stop for snacks and coffee. There is a cafe here which provides a selection of sandwiches and cakes if you need to take a break while watching your kids play.

v | Prince Frederick’s Barge at the National Maritime Museum

Prince Frederick’s Barge is a colourful barge which was designed by William Kent, built by John Hall and completed with carved decorations by James Richards between 1731 and 1732. It has a flat mid-section to accommodate the cabin. It was rowed by 21 oarsmen and steered by a barge-master. It is gilded with small square sheets of 22-carat gold leaf applied over a thin layer of glue.

vi | Exhibitions and Other events at the National Maritime Museum

Currently, the museum features The World’s Best Space Photography with amazing space photos and it is a ticketed event. Prior booking is highly recommended.

There are a number of scheduled shows and events that takes place daily which you can check on the day of your visit at the reception or you can ask any of the tour guides there who are extremely helpful.

My thoughts on the National Maritime Museum

I found my visit here rather enjoyable probably because I was not as distracted as I was when on my first visit with my kids. I especially liked the Opium Pipe in the Traders Gallery. It is something which I recall seeing but now I noted its beautiful and intricate details – made of ivory and terracotta.

I would highly recommend that you visit this National Maritime Museum as it is educational for kids and for adults. It brings us back in time and reflect on the World’s history. No matter how you see it,  it is good to fit this into your itinerary for completeness as part of a nice little day trip!


Practical information on the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London

Opening hours:  10:00 – 17:00

Admission: FREE  /  Special events and exhibitions are ticketed.

Toilets and baby-changing facilities are accessible.


My final stop on my itinerary at Greenwich was the Cutty Sark.

4 | The Cutty Sark Greenwich

The Cutty Sark, Greenwich is the only surviving tea clipper in the world today. It was an absolute delight to re-visit this legendary 19th century sailing ship that was the fastest ship in her time. Besides, my kids had a ball here, loved it every time and brought back many happy memories.

i | A family day out at the Cutty Sark Greenwich

A day spent at the Cutty Sark is a day filled with fun suitable for family and children from three-years upwards. Fun for kids as they have a splendid time learning how to steer the ship’s wheel and taking the 963 tons of Victorian tea clipper through storms and the drama of sea-life. They also get to meet various characters from the past such as Captain Woodget, Nannie the Witch, James Robson who was the cook and Jock Willis who built the Cutty Sark.

ii | History of the Cutty Sark Greenwich

There is no doubt that the Cutty Sark is a state-of-the-art Victorian tea clipper that was built to overcome the challenges of the sea, go at great speed of 17 knots and has had a dramatic life around the globe, visiting every major port. She was built in 1869 to challenge other tea clippers on the China tea run, to bring the finest and freshest tea back to London.

iii | The Wheel, Cutty Sark Greenwich

The wheel itself has undergone restoration work but the original steering mechanism had been preserved. It’s design reflects an ingenuity for it is smaller and takes-up less space within the ship compared to other tiller designs in a cargo ship of that time.

iv | The origins of the name “Cutty Sark”

The name “Cutty Sark” – is said to have been inspired by a poem called Tam O’Shanter, which was written by Robert Burns in 1791. It is a story about a farmer, Tam, who was mesmerised by the beauty of a young witch called Nannie. Nannie was clothed in a revealing outfit, a short shift called “cutty sark.” He was then chased by this witch and he fled for his life on his horse, Maggie.

You may want to read the full story and you can do so on the official website of the Royal Museum Greenwich by clicking here.

v | Traditional Afternoon English Tea at Cutty Sark Greenwich

A traditional afternoon English Tea was the highlight of my visit this time. There is a  café, located underneath the original hull of this iconic ship. I was pleasantly surprised at the relaxed atmosphere and the selection of sandwiches, raisin scone, mini cakes and a pot of English breakfast tea offered as part of the traditional English tea experience .

The cost of this experience was £27.00 per person. This price includes the price of admission to the Cutty Sark which is otherwise £13.50.

Thoughts on Cutty Sark Greenwich

My overall experience at the Cutty Sark was a positive one. I did not spend a lot of time watching the tour with the kids as I had none of my own on this visit. The traditional English tea and the cakes was definitely what I needed after all that walking in Greenwich.


Practical information on Cutty Sark Greenwich

Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Last admission: 16:15)

Admission:      Adults – £13.50          Child – £7.00

                        Cutty Sark Afternoon Tea – £27.00 (includes entry to Cutty Sark

Day Explorer ( includes Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, Meridian Line, &  Free               Museums)  –    Adults – £24.25     Child: £11.50

[Day Explorer does not include Planetarium shows and Special exhibitions]

Make the most of your day and save money by purchasing your Day Explorer ticket by clicking Get your Guide

Facilities:

  • Toilets and baby changing facilities are wheel-chair accessible.
  • Located on the lower ground floor, near the Even Keel Café.

Getting to Cutty Sark:

Address: Cutty Sark, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT

Nearest stations: Cutty Sark DLR

                            Greenwich Rail Station and Maze Hill Rail Station

                            Greenwich Pier

Oyster Cards are valid on all local journeys via trains and buses.


My final say on 45 Experiences and More in 1-Day, Greenwich, London 

Greenwich certainly offers a lot of experiences, and it is a visit that requires careful planning. With planning, you can enjoy 45 Experiences in One Day at Greenwich, London. 

These are:

  1. I call this a typical English Experience – Coffee + Chelsea bun in a British owned cafe, Peyton and Byrne.
  2. Greenwich Market – one of the oldest flea market in England dating back to 1737.
  3. Enjoy and experience the authentic, freshly made food from all around the world, plus 100% vegan option was also available.
  4. Go back in time and walk through the little nooks and narrow alleys where you will be pleasantly surprised with artisan shops and boutiques.
  5. Visit the “First Shop in the World” – Nauticalia, since 1847. You would probably want to give it a quick browse in the morning and visit later in the day or just visit once, perhaps at the end of the day.
  6. Note the amazing places to eat – Experience the traditional British pub-grub and grab a pint or two.
  7. The Royal Greenwich Park is host to the Royal Museums Greenwich, designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  8. Experiences at the Royal Observatory & The Planetarium.
  9. The Shepherd’s Clock.
  10. Greenwich Meridian Line.
  11. Flamsteed House.
  12. Time & Longitude Galleries.
  13. The Red Time Ball.
  14. The Planetarium.
  15. Incredible View – stunning views of the Queen’s House, River Thames and London’s Skyline.
  16. The Park – the chance to see the Royal Deer!
  17. Experiences at the Queen’s House.
  18. Imagine what life was like back in the 17th century as you walk through the 1st Classical building in England which is Grade 1 listed and is an ancient monument.
  19. Experience 400 years of history, the stories behind each painting and each wall…
  20. Discover why it is also known as “The House of Delight”
  21. A magnificent art collection.
  22. The cubic Great Hall.
  23. The recently restored beautifully decorated ceiling in gold leaf
  24. Walk on the incredible striking black and white marble from the 1630s
  25. An incredibly stunning view directly to the River Thames from the 1st floor gallery
  26. Experience the infamous Tulip Stairs
  27. The Queen’s Presence Chamber
  28. The ceiling of the Chamber is the original feature of the House
  29. Infamous “Mask of Youth”
  30. The Armada Portrait – discover the significance of the Tudor Rose, Pelican and ermine that is featured on the portrait.
  31. Experiences at the National Maritime Museum
  32. Possibly the largest of its kind in the world
  33. Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle.
  34. Figurehead Collection
  35.  The Traders Gallery – British history over 250 years
  36. Map of the World – various continents
  37.  Prince Frederick’s Barge
  38.  Exhibitions – at the moment it is on “Space Photography”
  39. Experiences at the Cutty Sark
  40. Family fun-day with characters from the past.
  41. Discover the history of the World’s only surviving tea clipper.
  42. Steer the Ship’s wheel and imagine going through storms and the drama of sea-life.
  43. The story behind the name “Cutty Sark”.
  44. Traditional Afternoon English Tea.
  45. Value for money!

** Georgina suggests that a visit to the Queen’s House after the Observatory. However, if you are needing lunch or a break, the Greenwich Tavern is a good place to go to. It is just across the road from the Park, where you can easily resume your visit to the Queen’s House afterwards. Alternatively, you can visit the Cafe at the National Maritime Museum.

Travel tips and useful information on Greenwich London

How to get to Greenwich from London city

There are several ways to get to Greenwich. Oyster cards are valid on all Underground and bus journeys from Central London to Greenwich. The following are the three main transportation mode that can be used to get here:

  1. Docklands Light Railway (DLR) – DLR can be accessed from Bank Station which is on the Central Line from Central London. Greenwich is just 20 minutes journey from here.
  2. Southeastern Trains – From London Bridge, it is less than 10 minutes                                                                  From Cannon Street Station, it is less than 15 minutes
  3. MBNA Thames Clippers – The catamarans depart every 20 minutes from:                                                                   London Eye pier – 40 minutes to Greenwich                                                                         London Bridge pier – 25 minutes to Greenwich                                                                      Tower pier – 20 minutes to Greenwich

Train tickets in London

Save time and buy your train tickets from Trainline. Trainline app is convenient and super easy to use.

Royal Museum Greenwich

For more information on the Royal Museum Greenwich, look-up their official website: https://www.rmg.co.uk

Ways to experience Greenwich London

There are many ways to experience Greenwich but for an immersive experience of this quintessentially English village, join a group tour – peruse the carefully selected and value for money tours on Greenwich and make your selection.


Is this post valuable to you to support your visit to Greenwich, London? We sincerely hope that it is and you would have a fabulous time in this pretty town. Do share your thoughts and experiences below, in comments. As well, use the links embedded in this article and related articles to book your stay, activities and transportation. TTS earns a commission at no cost to you at all and, as always we appreciate your continued support. You could also support TTS in other ways, if you wish

Have a splendid time exploring Greenwich, London.

xoxo


Greenwich in 1 day-45 Experiences and More to cherish first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly updated. Last update October 9, 2021

line breaker
A detailed travel guide on what to see, do and experience including money saving tips and suggested experiences to enrich your visit via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A detailed travel guide on what to see, do and experience including money saving tips and suggested experiences to enrich your visit via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/