London is gorgeous everywhere and we challenge you to say the opposite. If you are visiting the capital, you should consider placing Greenwich on your London bucket list.
This guide will help you to plan the perfect day out in Greenwich, visiting some of the best places on the southeast side of the Themes. The London Royal Borough of Greenwich offers many opportunities to travellers and locals. Points of interest such as historic attractions and world heritage sites, the Royal Observatory, Royal buildings, deer watching and many more things to see in Greenwich.
This perfect Greenwich day out itinerary will help to tidy up a list of places to visit in Greenwich. A practical guide to one of the most gorgeous boroughs in London, often skipped by tourists.
Yes, this is often out of the tourists’ guide or skipped if you have just two days in London. Greenwich, seen by an outsider, seems a different town, in the infinite reticulate of London, and still today, it gives us the same first impression.
15 Things to do in Greenwich for a day out
15 great experiences in Greenwich, London – Quick Jump
- Walk along the River
- Under the Themes through the Greenwich foot tunnel
- Get a drink at the Trafalgar Tavern
- Greenwich Market
- Walk along the famous Greenwich Colonnade
- Visit the Royal Maritime Museum
- Admire the gorgeous staircase inside the Queen’s House
- Appreciate the Painted Hall
- Wander around Greenwich Park
- Visit Greenwich Observatory
- Greenwich Cherry blossom walk
- Deer watching in Greenwich
- Wander around the Ranger’s House
- Cable Car at North Greenwich
- O2 Climbing Experience
How to plan a day out in Greenwich
It’s not easy to plan a perfect day out in Greenwich, but you can trust us on that. Rather than just mastering the organization while exploring new places, recently we have moved south of the river, living about 20 minutes walking from the Royal Borough. This is an advantage for us, and you might call us ehm… locals!
Jokes apart, Greenwich is so wide, and with it, there are many things to do in Greenwich in a day. We usually plan to stay for lunch as well in the area to enjoy some of the food stands at the Greenwich Market. Delicious food from everywhere mixes the smells and flavours.
We generally plan a picnic in the Royal Park on a clear day, just having a blanket and something to eat. If you are not planning that much, there is a local M&S just in front of the Starbucks near the Cutty Sark. Around the boat museum, there is a market taking place usually on Sunday, but also many other coffee shops and restaurants. (Nando’s has got the perfect view over Canary Wharf).
We roam around the Royal Maritime Museum, the Painted Hall and Queen House, before heading to the top of the Royal Observatory. From the top the view is insane. By the way, this hilltop is one of the best sunset spots in London.
But we don’t want to spoil you more, just get down and see the full list of things to do in Greenwich on a day out in London.
The Perfect Day trip to Greenwich
What to do in a day out in Greenwich
Top Things to do in Greenwich
Walk along the river and reach Cutty Sark
This is our way to start a day out in Greenwich, walking along the river enjoying the landscape. From this point of view you have Canary Wharf at your back, so just turn and snap some great photos. We understand that it’s not up to everybody to walk toward Greenwich, instead, you will arrive here taking the DLR or the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich. However, it is good to know that walking along the river is an interesting thing to do in Greenwich.
People are usually meeting in the square where the Cutty Sark is. You will notice that, because people are gathering on the benches enjoying the view, or eating and chatting. The Cutty Sark is today a museum, built around an iconic 19th-century ship. These huge vessels sailed the seas discovering the world, importing tea from China. This was one of the fastest vessels of its age. The restoration wasn’t easy, but today you can even touch the original features and masterpieces in iron. The entrance to the Cutty Sark Museum and Marine Glory costs £13.50. Check the tickets.
Under the Themes through the Greenwich foot tunnel
This is a beautiful experience for everyone visiting London. An incredible tunnel has been built underneath the River Thames connecting the two banks. This Victorian engineering marvel built in 1902 was crucial to connect Isle of Dog with the south bank of the River Thames, offering a walking path to workers. The only way in this part of London to cross the river is by taking a ferry, due there are no bridges, but it is expensive.
GOOD TO KNOW | The Tunnel crosses the channel for 405 metres, 50ft below the Thames, and is open 24 hours away, permitting the passage walking but also to bikes.
You can get into the tunnel just from the access in front of the Cutty Sark, looking for the glazed dome. Get down for around 100 steps through the spiral staircase, or just take the lift. The Tunnel is accessible and completely safe because it is monitored 24 hours. Walking from Greenwich to Island Gardens, the other side of the tunnel takes about 10/15 minutes but is a great experience to do in Greenwich.
Get a drink at theTrafalgar Tavern
In the UK it’s always a good time for a pint. After a long day walking around Greenwich we had to stop and relax a bit. The Trafalgar Tavern is an iconic pub facing the River Thames, becoming unique and magical at sunset.
The pub is very popular so expect to be busy at all times.
Hosted in a Grade II building, next to the Old Royal Naval College, the Trafalgar Tavern is not just the right place to relax with a pint and catch up with friends, but also a good spot to listen to live music and gather.
The old tavern opened in 1837, yes you understand well, it’s almost 200 years old, and was once one of Charles Dickens favourite places.
We cannot miss our guide to talk about food. It’s good to know that Greenwich has great variety, offering to visitors unique culinary experiences through its market, small shops and a vibrant coffee scene. This is definitely one of the best places to eat Greenwich. The Greenwich Market is for many the core of the borough, with many food stands, antique boutiques, vintage stores and art galleries this place is mindblowing for us.
It’s easy to find us roaming around the Greenwich Market while exploring the area. This beautiful place just next to the side entrance of the Royal Park is usually packed on the weekend and closes on Monday. If you want to visit it, make sure you are there between 10 am and 5.30 pm, those are the opening times.
Walk along the famous Greenwich Colonnade
From an iconic place to another, the Greenwich Colonnade of the Old Naval College, is inspiring artists, photographers and many others every day.
The architecture of the Old Naval College is unique and is the core of Greenwich. The World Heritage Site is part of one of the best free views of London, and despite visiting Greenwich many times, we are still loving to walk along the colonnade, discovering something new at every visit.
The view of the Old Naval College is beautiful while walking along, but honestly, we enjoy it even more from the hilltop of Greenwich Park. The Old Naval College offers some of the best photo spots in London, and it’s worth a visit at any time, however it is at sunset that gives its best.
Visit the Royal Maritime Museum
Still insisting on the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, you should consider visiting the Royal Maritime Museum. Even if you don’t have an interest in maritime history, this museum can give you a special overview of time progress.
This is one of the largest maritime museums in the world, hosting pieces of great ships, stories about discoveries, trade routes, battles and incredible adventures including extreme expeditions done by brave people. You can also find temporary exhibitions that are quite interesting if you are in this field, the ticket cost might vary and is good to check the website.
The entrance to the museum is free and it is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. This is another great thing to do in Greenwich for free.
Admire the gorgeous staircase inside the Queen’s House
From free things to do on a day out in Greenwich to another. The Queen’s House is often skipped by visitors, but we insist that is one of the best attractions of Greenwich. The beautiful whitewashed 17th-century house has been open recently after a major restoration. Inigo Jones’s masterpiece features some of the most incredible architectural features.
One of the best things to visit is the Tulip Staircase, a mind-blowing place for photographers or architecture addicts. At the time it was built the staircase was the only of its kind self-supported in Britain.
This is not the only story we can tell about Queen’s House, this staircase is said to be haunted by a ghost, which was caught on camera in 1966. Read the story.
INFO: The Queen’s House is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (last admission at 4.30 pm) and entry is free.
Greenwich Painted Hall
You will be amazed by the numerous things to do around the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The Painted Hall is a masterpiece by James Thornhill, a unique ceiling painting featuring Queen Mary II and King William III.
The painting was the celebration of the centralism of British Maritime power during the 18th century. The country during that epoque was powerful and advanced on Naval discoveries, the ceiling celebrates it. On the weekend the Painted Hall tends to be busy.
Things to do Greenwich
Wander around Greenwich Park
Definitely, the core point of Greenwich is the beautiful Royal Park. This is one of the eight Parks protected in London, in this list includes Richmond Park, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, however, Greenwich Parks is one of the oldest in this group, dating back to the 15th century.
The park we are focusing on has got many interesting places to visit. Greenwich Park is hosting the Prime Meridian Line, or also known as Meridian Zero, attached to it there is the Royal Observatory and is completely enclosed in the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site.
The Royal Park of Greenwich extends from the River Thames to the area of Blackheath. There are many things to explore just in the park, from the Rose Garden to the Ranger House, the Wilderness park where to spot deers in their nature to Greenwich’s beautiful cherry blossom walk.
Visit Greenwich Observatory
We have mentioned how important the Greenwich Observatory is for the entire area. It’s good to share with you some insights about this place. The Royal Observatory is the Prime Meridian of the World. It’s safe to say that is the middle point of the world, where East and West meet to give the correct time to all the rest. You can walk in the Royal Observatory and walk or jump from the east to the west side of the world, just crossing a line.
The Royal Observatory is fun, not only if you are in astrology or similar. Here you can visit the Planetarium, the only remaining in London. You can learn a lot about the sky, stars, sun and planets. To get access to the entire site of the Royal Observatory of Greenwich you have to purchase a ticket, which costs £9.50. Alternatively, you can grab a London Pass to access over 80 attractions with just one ticket.
LONDON PASS | ACCESS TO OVER 80 ATTRACTIONS
Greenwich Cherry blossom walk
We have announced this place a couple of paragraphs before, but it is time to give it glory. Everyone is in love with London Cherry Blossom, however away from the city centre, there are many places worth a visit.
If you are into photography you will love walking under cherry trees and magnolias. The flowers keep losing petals creating a beautiful rough pink and white since early April. Springtime is obviously the only time to fully enjoy this spot, which you should avoid on the weekend.
If you are looking for more spots about Greenwich Cherry Blossom check this post.
Deer watching in Greenwich
You don’t have to go far away in Richmond park, walk a lot around the green meadow to spot deers in their natural environment.
This is another hidden spot in London, a secret that not many knows. Greenwich has its own deers park. In a remote spot of the Royal Park, there is an area completely dedicated to these beautiful animals. They are protected by humans from going too close to them by barriers. Be mindful and respect this area.
LOCATION | Best Deer Viewing Spot
Wander around the Ranger’s House
Ranger’s House is another incredible place to check out in Greenwich Park. The beautiful residence is awesome especially in Spring when all the flowers are in full bloom. The Building will be completely surrounded by light green leaves and beautiful colourful roses. All around there is an incredible garden, full of benches or ideal for a picnic in Greenwich Park.
To reach the Ranger’s House you should walk toward the end of the park at Blackheath. The Georgian Villa is often open for visits, showing the beautiful art collection hosted inside, the Wernher Collection. This is made of over 700 works, sculptures, jewels, paintings, French tapestries and more. The collection is not always open to the public, so it is worth checking their website.
Cable Car at North Greenwich
Away from the glamorous Greenwich Royal Park, there is another part of the borough. This is completely different from the main core, but not less suggestive. In North Greenwich you can experience a unique experience in London, taking a cable car toward the other side of the Thames.
The Emirates Air Line, lets you travel in both ways to the Royal Docks. Even if it is included in the TFL circuit, you have to pay a little extra hop on the cable car. However, the bird-eye view is incredible and is definitely an experience to include in your London Bucket List.
Thames Clippers River Roamer & Emirates Airline
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Experience the fastest and most frequent way to travel on London’s river aboard the boats of the Thames Clippers.
O2 Climbing Experience
Not so far from the entrance to the Emirates AirLines cable car in North Greenwich, there is the O2 Arena. This beautiful structure welcomes many locals during the week thanks to the shopping centre, restaurants and events arena. The O2 of Greenwich is so big that at its intern there is also a hotel with SPA. Another incredible activity to do at the O2 is to climb the top of the Dome.
Up to the O2 experience is a breathless, intense activity to plan while exploring Greenwich. Doesn’t matter how long you are staying in London, but this can be a life-changing experience.
You can climb safely to the top of the O2, 90-minutes using the walkway till the top. The breathtaking view from the top is worth the whole ticket. It is easy to climb and doesn’t need any particular preparation, it’s suitable also for kids over 9 years old. Definitely, climbing the O2 is one of the best things to do in Greenwich.
London: Climb The Roof of The O2 Arena
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90-minute experience climbing over the iconic roof of the world’s most popular entertainment venue.
How to get to Greenwich
Greenwich is well served by local public transport. It’s so easy to reach Greenwich from central London, just by taking the tube. It’s good to know that the closest station to the Royal Park of Greenwich is “Greenwich Cutty Sark” served by the light railway DLR. You can take it from the Bank in the city centre, or Tower Gateway changing at Westferry. From the city centre, it takes about 20/25 minutes to reach Greenwich. Check the DLR Train Map.
However, there is also the chance to arrive in North Greenwich and walk toward the Royal Park. This station is reachable with the Jubilee Line, the Grey line. Walking to the Greenwich Royal Park from North Greenwich takes about 20 minutes. If you are looking for a bus to reach Greenwich Park, you can consider the 188 – 202 – 386 -53.
How can I spend a day in Greenwich?
- The Painted Hall
- Queen’s House
- Old Royal Naval College
- National Maritime Museum.
- Greenwich Park
- Royal Observatory
- Cutty Sark Museum
- Greenwich Foot Tunnel
- Greenwich Market
- Deer Wildness Park
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Q&A Greenwich Day Out
What can you do in Greenwich for Free?
Visit the National Maritime Museum
PicNic at the Greenwich Royal Park
Enjoy the landscape from the Royal Observatory
Deers watching at the wildness park
Queen’s House Collection
Roam around Greenwich Market
Is it worth visiting Greenwich?
Yes. Greenwich is often underestimated by tourists but very appreciated by locals. Enjoy the Naval College, Museum and walk along the River Thames. Get a pint and a Sunday Roast at the local pub to live like a Londoner.
Is Greenwich Observatory free entry?
No. The entrance to the Greenwich observatory is subject to a fee. However, it is worth a visit.
What days are the Greenwich market open?
Greenwich Market is open from Monday to Sunday and Bank Holidays, from 10 am to 5:30 pm. The Cutty Sark Market is open on the weekend.