Visit London Blog » greenwich Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 Instagram Photos For April Fri, 23 May 2014 09:00:49 +0000 Here is our pick of your best Instagram pictures from the past month. To be in with a chance of being featured follow us @visitlondonofficial and be sure to use the #visitlondon hashtag when you’re snapping around the capital.





















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Spotlight On: Greenwich Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:00:11 +0000 Mercedes tall ship. Photo credit: Royal Borough of Greenwich

You’ve probably heard of Greenwich for its rich maritime history, World Heritage status and great time-keeping (this is the home of Greenwich Mean Time, no less). But there’s plenty more to discover across this Royal Borough, from sky-high cable cars to an Art Deco mansion. Here are just five things to do while you’re staying in the area:

1. See Tall Ships and Nelson’s Uniform

Nelson's Trafalgar Uniform. © National Maritime Museum

If you’re visiting London this September, don’t miss the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. Over five days (from 5 to 9 September), some 50 majestic tall ships will be arriving from the coast of Cornwall. But don’t worry if you miss out, one ship that’s not going anywhere is Cutty Sark – the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of its time – now permanently docked in Greenwich. Don’t forget to pop into the nearby National Maritime Museum too to hear more fantastic sea tales – and see the coat Admiral Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar (complete with bullet hole).
While you’re there… Eat lunch at The Trafalgar Tavern, a historic 19th century pub overlooking the River Thames.

2. See Time and Space at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium

Royal Observatory. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Sitting high above Greenwich town centre is the Royal Observatory, home of not only Greenwich Mean Time, but also the Prime Meridian of the world (the zero point of longitude), London’s only planetarium and the UK’s largest refracting telescope. Take in a show at the planetarium, marvel at Harrison’s timekeepers and stand astride the Prime Meridian line – with one foot in the east, the other in the west. Look out for new exhibitions too, such as Longitude Punk’d – featuring modern-day versions of the weird, wonderful and somewhat wacky inventions submitted during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
While you’re there… Go on a ramble around Greenwich Park. This rolling green space is popular with locals and tourists alike for picnics, team games, strolls, boating-lake rides and squirrel spotting.

3. Soak up the view from a cable car or on top of The O2

Emirates Air Line

Get a bird’s eye view of Greenwich and across London from on top of The O2. How do you get up there? You climb of course. It’s all part of the Up At The O2 experience, a 90-minute journey to a 360-degree viewing platform atop the famous domed venue. Alternatively head to the nearby south terminal of the Emirates Air Line and take a cable car across the river to the north stop, Emirates Royal Docks. Or if you prefer to have your head in the clouds but your feet firmly on the ground, don’t miss the new Emirates Aviation Experience, where you can get a feel for life in the skies with the help of flight simulators and interactive aviation displays.
While you’re there… Experience another unusual form of London transport and travel back to Central London by boat with City Cruises or Thames Clippers.

4. Visit A Royal Residence

Queen's House. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Picturesquely located along the river, Queen’s House has ironically not housed many queens. Queen Anne (wife of James I) died before the building she commissioned was completed, and Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) spent little time there before the Civil War forced her to exile to France. It’s since fared better as an orphanage and then fine-art gallery – which it remains today. For something more off the beaten track, jump on the train to Eltham and visit the childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace – and the 1930s Art Deco mansion built next to the remains of this medieval royal palace.
While you’re there… Sample one of the homegrown, limited-edition beers at The Old Brewery, a working brewery with a restaurant/cafe and bar on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.

5.  Browse Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market stall

You don’t need to leave Greenwich to find great treasures, like maritime explorers of past, there are plenty of gems to uncover at Greenwich Market. Here, artists and craftspeople from the local area and beyond gather to sell their creations – from fashion to gifts, homemade candles and jewellery. There’s also a food section that’s always packed full of stalls selling street snacks from around the world. Head down on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for antiques and collectibles, and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends for arts and crafts.

While you’re there… If it’s the weekend (or a bank holiday) don’t forget to pay a visit to Greenwich’s other market, the Greenwich Clocktower Market, where you’ll find quirky antique and vintage pieces.

See the Visit Greenwich website for more things to do in Greenwich.

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Top 5 Pie Restaurants in London Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:00:05 +0000 The Windmill

Pies have been served across the capital for centuries, whether in the East End by bakers on carts or in the west at Twickenham, where there’s even an island named after the eel pies that were served to passing boatmen.

To celebrate the start of British Pie Week, we look into one of London’s age-old but often underrated dishes with our pick of London’s best places for pies.

The Windmill – Mayfair

The Windmill's game pieAlthough many pubs claim to be ‘pie specialists’, The Windmill is one such establishment that can safely stand by its love for the pastry-cased delicacy. Boasting its own pie club with thousands of members, not one but two dedicated pie rooms, and even a pie-focused YouTube channel sharing their talents in pie making, this is definitely a place for pie enthusiasts. Try the award-winning steak and kidney version for a warming, meaty hug.

Old Bank of England – The City of London

It’s no surprise this spacious City pub serves demon pies considering the Victorian legend of its Fleet Street site – it was allegedly flanked by Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and the house of his mistress, Mrs. Lovett. As

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the fictional story goes, Todd murdered his clients below in the tunnels and vaults and used their bodies as pie fillings with help from his lover. Today, the Old Bank of England has less barbaric neighbours, and serves far more appetising pies with revived classic British fillings.

The Newman Arms – Marylebone

The Newman ArmsThis pie-focused pub in Marylebone is another with a special pie room upstairs, where you can tuck into one of the pies or suet puddings featuring the likes of chicken, gammon and leek or stilton and mushroom; each lovingly crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Once a regular haunt of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, The Newman Arms has a long history in serving fine beer; this continues to this day with a number of ales on tap.

M. Manze – Southwark

The Manze family pie dynasty – at one point the family owned 14 pie and mash shops in London – started here at 87 Tower Bridge Road in 1902, when Michele Manze set up his self-titled shop, M. Manze. Now run by Michele’s grandsons, London’s longest continuously opened pie and mash shop serves homemade pies, mash and the classic green liquor; as well as cockney classic, jellied eels.

Goddard’s at Greenwich – Greenwich

Get your pie fix every day at this restaurant that also serves eels, mash and liquor as were traditionally plated up in the Victorian era – the original family shop in Deptford opened in 1890 and has since closed, but the family name lives on in its location just a few steps away from the Royal Museums Greenwich. ForFamily-run Goddard's at Greenwich those not so keen on river-dwelling delicacy, try Goddard’s at Greenwich‘s pies with fillings such as steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom or the veggie Banks pie.

Pie Week Events 2014

Make sure to look out for British Pie Week events, such as a charity pork pie-off at Princess Victoria and a pie-filling competition and pie-eating rewards at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. The Windmill, unsurprisingly, is not skipping the fun, with a special quiz night and dinner featuring a new Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Pie.

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To celebrate the release of our latest London Story video featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson, we asked Boris to be our guest editor on’s homepage from 23 to 25 January 2014, populating it with some of his favourite London experiences.

While making his London Story video for us – which was filmed in a pod on The EDF Energy London Eye – Boris waxed lyrical about some of his top things to see and do in London.

British Museum

“As I kid, because I was a bit of a nerd, I used to love going to the British museum where I would spend hours loitering in  the Duveen galleries,  looking at the Elgin Marbles – the ‘ta Elgíneia Mármara’, as they are called in Greece.”

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction, welcoming millions of people each year. Entry is free and provides access to an enormous wealth of historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures and scriptures from across the world (8 million in total) that make up the museum’s stores. These include the Rosetta Stone, The Elgin Marbles, the Easter Island Statue of Hoa Hakananai’a, and The Vindolanda tablets. As well as permanent exhibits, the museum curates temporary displays, and the Great Court and Reading Room are particularly popular with visitors due to their impressive architecture.

Regent’s Canal

“I cycle a lot but I also particularly like walking down the canal. There’s a fantastic walk just near us along the Regent’s Canal where you see these ancient bits of industrial architecture with new dwellings springing up among them.
“The buildings have got all this glass and steel and it’s the combination that’s so attractive. It’s 18th and 19th century industrial architecture that’s been brilliantly renovated with 21st century technology. It’s a fantastically vibrant area and so unlike any other city.
“We walk down the canal for a purpose – not just because it’s romantic and beautiful but because there is a pub, called The Narrow Boat, that sells fantastic sausage and mash.”

The 8.6-mile (14km) Regent’s Canal links the River Thames in the Limehouse Basin with Little Venice in north-west London. Along its route the canal bisects ZSL London Zoo, curves along the edge of Regent’s Park, passes through the busy shopping district of Camden, and then on to Islington and on to East London’s developing landscape, such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When it was built in the early 19th century, the canal’s primary function was for carrying goods; today it mainly provides a conduit for relaxation and leisure time.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

“I love getting on my bicycle and riding all the way through Hackney. It is an area changing very, very fast with all these bars being opened and new startup businesses. I then go through Victoria Park, right the way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is connected up in the most extraordinary way. I recommend that for a day out and particularly when we reopen the whole park this year.”

Once London secured the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, work began on this piece of land in East London to turn what was previously wasteland into a hub for Londoners and visitors alike. The initial phase saw the creation of Europe’s largest shopping mall, Westfield Stratford City, next door, followed soon after by the Olympic Stadium and its sister sporting arenas. When the London 2012 Games finished, the park closed for refurbishment but the north section has since reopened for sporting events and festivals. Incremental new openings will occur throughout 2014 including parklands featuring new plant life, affordable homes, plus a variety of public-use sports and event venues.

Riverbus / Boat to Greenwich

“[My family and I] go to Greenwich and hang out there because it has such a beautiful park. You can have a wonderful afternoon having a picnic, feeding the ducks, hiring a boat – which you can also do at the Serpentine – and all that kind of stuff.”

London’s River Thames has a number of river bus services available. To get to Greenwich you can board one at Embankment, head east past the London Eye, Tower of London, Canary Wharf, and onto Greenwich where you disembark to enjoy The Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Greenwich Park. As well as hosting the Prime Meridian Line, this 183 acre (74 hectare) Royal Park dates back to 1427 and offers a stunning vantage point from which you can look across London at landmarks such as The O2 Arena, Canary Wharf and The Gherkin. There is also an enclosure for wildlife including deer and foxes.

24 Hours in London: Food & World-Class Attractions  

“London has a superb range of places to eat and you are spoilt for choice for Michelin starred restaurants – not that I go to Michelin Star restaurants! I love this café called Frank’s in Southwark Street, where you can get one of the best fry-ups in the world or I can recommend a Turkish joint in Islington, called Pasha.
“It is very, very important to see the British Museum and the Tower of London. The Tower was built in Norman times and is the most interesting example of how London thrives on alien imports because every stone of that initial structure came from Caen in France.  Visitors should also go and see the crown jewels.
“There are so many unbelievable hidden jewels in London, like the Wallace Collection for instance.
“Then you’ve got the Tate Modern – which is not only the biggest but has the most number of visitors of any modern art museum in the world.”

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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London Challenge: Family Day Out For £50 Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:00:40 +0000 "Driving" the driverless trains on the DLR Saying hello to the animals at Mudchute City Farm The Greenwich Foot Tunnel Outside Discover Greenwich, the visitor centre Learning through play in Discover Greenwich Standing on the Greenwich Prime Meridian Line Pirate Alice Leghorn at the National Maritime Museum Playing in Mudlarks at the Museum of London Docklands A well-deserved sit down at Poppies restaurant in Spitalfields

Can a family enjoy a day out in London for £50? I accepted this challenge and set out with a friend and our daughters for a day out. We only spent money on travel and food, as all the attractions we visited were free.

Morning: Mudchute Farm and Discover Greenwich
Mudchute Farm is one of London’s largest city farms and easy to reach on the DLR. From Crossharbour station, it’s a short walk to the farm where we said hello to the animals, watched horse-riding lessons and then exited at Millwall Park for the playground.

From here it’s a five-minute walk to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under The Thames to reach Greenwich. (Do note, if you have younger children the lifts don’t always work, so be prepared for stairs.) It was a scorching day, so we all appreciated how cool it was in the tunnel. Within minutes, we were in Greenwich. Discover Greenwich, the visitor centre, has lots for children to do. We enjoyed dressing up, building towers and playing games. You can pick up a free map from the Tourist Information Office here and we grabbed ours and then went to the park.

Lunch: Greenwich Park
We were spoilt for choice for great picnic locations at Greenwich Park but we chose to climb the hill to the Royal Observatory, and eat our packed lunches admiring those magnificent views. We then watched the 1pm ball drop at Flamsteed House.

It’s possible to get photos of the Prime Meridian Line outside the Observatory courtyard as the line continues across the path outside. Just look for the “kissing gate” to the right of the courtyard to see it. We walked down the hill and found the Prime Meridian is also marked on Park Vista – a road near the boating lake. This called for more photo opportunities and, again, there was no-one else there.

Afternoon: Free Museums
The National Maritime Museum is a fabulous family-friendly museum and we played on the large floor map for some time before heading up to the All Hands! children’s gallery. On the hour, there are free family events to meet historic characters and we met Alice Leghorn – a female pirate who is well worth seeing.

We all wanted an ice-cream as it was such a hot day but ice-creams from a van in the park were £2.50 each; instead, we nipped to the supermarket nearby and bought a pack of four ice-creams for less than £3.

A short ride on the DLR and we got to Museum of London Docklands with another excellent children’s play/learning area. The girls had an hour in Mudlarks damming a stream, loading cargo on a ship, weighing and building before we visited the galleries.

We played in the sunshine in Canary Wharf before heading to Spitalfields for dinner. The area is well-known for excellent street art so we made sure we had time to explore and take photos.

Dinner: Fish and Chips
Poppies of Spitalfields has 1950s style decor with the friendliest service. There are kids’ meals on the menu and we all perked up when dinner arrived. We all enjoyed our day and I’m glad we proved that a family day out does not have to be expensive in London.


  • Two adult one-day travelcards (top-up on Oyster cards): 2 x £7.30 = £14.60
  • Pack of 4 ice-creams from supermarket: £2.69
  • Dinner at Poppies, including drinks: £31.80
  • Total: £49.09

Laura Porter writes the London Travel site and is also a VisitBritain Super Blogger. She’s @AboutLondon on twitter and fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s.

More ideas for enjoying London on a budget

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Where to Watch the Olympic Closing Ceremony in London Sat, 11 Aug 2012 09:00:23 +0000
Make sure you celebrate the London 2012 Games in style with the official Closing Ceremony on Sunday night. It’s been a fantastic fortnight of sport for London, with Team GB making us all very proud, so here are some place to party as we hand the baton over to Rio!

Royal Greenwich
Enjoy the closing ceremony at one of Royal Greenwich’s big screens. There’ll also be some local Olympic fireworks on the night. The Screens can be found at the Old Royal Navy College, General Gordon Square and the Tudor Barn.

BT London Live, Victoria Park
We’ve loved the atmosphere everytime we’ve been to Victoria Park during the Games. Make sure you’re there for one last hurrah as the big screens show the Olympic Closing Ceremony from 7pm. There’ll be performances from Cuttashine Hoedown and Kidnap Alice; if there are fireworks in the Olympic Stadium, you might well be able to spot them from Victoria Park in person as well as on screen. Entry is free.

London’s National Olympic Houses
There’ll be parties aplenty at the various National Olympic Houses set up by visiting nations across the city. You can see a list of the houses here, and read our reviews of the venues here.

Haggerston Park screening; Hackney
You can watch all the action of big screens from 9 til 11.30pm in Haggerston Park in Hackney, not far from the Olympic Park: again, if there are fireworks, you’ll be well-placed to perhaps catch a glimpse over the East London rooftops.

Lewisham Big Screen in Blackheath
Starting from 7pm, you can enter the Blackheath Closing Ceremony for free. The South London site also offers a mirrored Spiegeltent with food, a bar and lives entertainment.

The Water Poet, Spitalfields
Multiple big screens will be available throughout the Spitalfields pub, capturing all the live action throughout the evening. The best seats will be in The Water Poet’s basement cinema. Arrive early and enjoy their barbecue in the garden from 4pm. No tickets or booking required.

Forman’s Fish Island, Hackney Wick
Located just 100m outside the Olympic Park, Forman’s Fish Island has been taken over by the Maddox Club during the Olympics. As well as a big outdoor screen showing all the Closing Ceremony antics, there’s beach volleyball, and super tasty treats courtesy of the Maddox Club chefs. Entry on the night of the Closing Ceremony is £25.

BBC Big Screens
The BBC’s BigScreens@LiveSites in Walthamstow Town Square and General Gordon Square, Woolwich will also be showing the Closing Ceremony.

Where will you be watching? Let us know in the comments below.

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London Shopping News: Carnaby Street, Greenwich Market and Westfield London Tue, 07 Aug 2012 13:00:47 +0000 Here’s this week’s top London shopping news stories:

Carnaby Street Summer 2012

Carnaby Street’s Record Breaking Games
From today, Guinness World Records is challenging the public to become Totally Bonkers Sporting Champions live in Carnaby Street. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, Guinness World Records will unveil an exclusive sporting challenge and offer you the chance to claim a world record title. Forget about the athletes breaking records in the Olympic Park for the moment: here’s your chance to become a world champion at the fastest tying of shoelaces wearing boxing gloves, for example, or the most bounces on a spacehopper. The Carnaby Street Games take place between 12.30 and 1.30pm on Carnaby Street. Every participant will receive a Carnaby canvas shopping bag, so even if you don’t break the record you won’t go away empty handed.

Greenwich Market’s Special Summer
If you’re visiting Greenwich during the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games, don’t miss your chance to visit Greenwich Market too. As well as the usual brilliant shops and stalls, there are new heart-shaped art installations and a number of pop-up shops just for the summer. Look out for Pop Up@SE10, a new designer-maker venture on Nelson road, featuring local and London-based designers, makers and artists’ fashion, furniture, jewellery, glass and ceramics. It’s open from 12-8pm during the Games. RN@Greenwich is another pop-up. PO CIS Gunton and I CIS Reffell run and manage the shop on board HMS Ocean for their welfare fund, which is spent on morale-building events for the crew such as barbecues or film nights. The shop will be open daily from midday ’til late, until they sail after the Games.

Get Into the Games at Westfield London
There are even more reasons to visit Westfield London this summer. Every Monday and Thursday, there’s live music in the centre; visit with the kids on Tuesdays and you can meet Fireman Sam, Fifi and Bumble, Postman Pat, Angelina Ballerina and more. There are also arts and crafts activities at the Disney Store for little shoppers with big imaginations. If you hit the shopping centre on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can have a go at various sports in and around the centre, including table tennis, gymnastics and even free running. Shopping hours have been extended until 10pm, Monday to Saturday and til 9pm on Sundays. If you can’t bear to be away from the Olympic Games action, you’ll be pleased to hear there are big screens set up inside the centre too, so you won’t miss a thing!

Read more about shopping in London here:

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London Photo of the Week: Emirates Air Line Sat, 04 Aug 2012 08:00:03 +0000

Tom Weightman got a stunning view of London from the Emirates Air Line. The Emirates Air Line is one of London’s most exciting new attractions. You can also climb the new walkway on top of the O2 arena, Up At The O2.

Have you taken any beautiful photos in London this week? There’s so much to see in London this summer! Add your photos to the Visit London Flickr group.

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Inside Olympic Greenwich Mon, 30 Jul 2012 09:59:38 +0000 London 2012 Olympic Equestrian arena, Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park was resplendent yesterday for a day of equestrian competition. As a local, I was very keen to see how this beautiful Royal Park was adapted for the Olympic Games and the results are amazing.

The main grandstand and arena are set against a spectacular backdrop: the world heritage site of Maritime Greenwich. The Queen’s House is perfectly framed and beyond that are the Wren domes of the Old Royal Naval College. Also visible are the National Maritime Museum and 3 masts of the recently reopened Cutty Sark, along with the impressive modern architecture of Canary Wharf - simply breathtaking.

After the Dressage event was over, the crowd was invited to inspect the Cross Country course. It is laid out across the park, overlooked by the home of Greenwich Mean Time: the Royal Observatory.

The course uses the surroundings to brilliant effect for example going through the flower garden, which is in full bloom. There are beautiful and humorous elements such as the jump near the bandstand featuring musical notes and instruments. The water section has a Wind in the Willows theme and uses the boating lake where you can usually hire pedaloes in the summer months.  

Great care has been taken to preserve the park and it will be returned to its former state once the excitement of the Games is over. 

Which is your favourite venue of the London 2012 Games? Will you be visiting Greenwich next time you’re in London?

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Stonehenge Bounces into Town Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:00:16 +0000

Tourists often ask if they can go on a day trip to Stonehenge from London (the answer is yes). But now this English icon has come to the capital. Well, sort of…

Sacrilege is effectively a massive bouncy castle, the creation of Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller. Unlike the real Stonehenge, visitors are encouraged to interact with the structure and wow, is it fun! Adults and children alike jump and run with expressions of pure joy (and ultimately exhaustion) on their faces. My young family and I loved the experience so much, we went back to North Greenwich the next day for more. It’s free and no ticket is required.

Part of the London 2012 Festival, Sacrilege is touring the UK and is in London between now and the end of the Olympic Games on 12 August. The remaining London stops are:

For full details see London 2012 Festival. So, will you be making a date to get in touch with your bouncy inner child? Now the school holidays are here, what’s your favourite London destination for family-friendly fun?

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