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Greenwich London guide

13 April 2014 Caspar Read time: 6 min
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Located in the South-East of London, this lovely leafy area is one of only four Royal Boroughs in the city. Despite the market-town feel with a close community and plenty of pubs, Greenwich is actually only 5 miles from central London, giving you the best of both worlds.

Along with rich links to the past and a fascinating history, this area is also home to some of the most fantastic modern attractions that London has to offer.

However, I spent two glorious years living in Greenwich and month after month I'd see tourists marching towards the Royal Observatory (usually asking directions because it's hidden up a huge hill) and completely ignoring all the other attractions. What about The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Market and the beautiful Cutty Sark ship?

Not forgetting all the great places to eat, drink and shop! If that's not enough, you can also head a little further out of the centre to discover the more modern attractions of the O2 (formerly The Millennium Dome) and Britain’s first urban cable car at the Emirates Air Line.

Don't worry if this is all news to you though - with our guide, you'll be acting like a local before you know it.


History of Greenwich

Old map of Greenwich

Photo credit: www.en.wikipedia.org

Evidence of life in Greenwich dates all the way back to the Bronze age, when it was was used as a burial site. It was named ' Grenewic' by Viking settlers during the 11th century, and remained a small fishing village until the 15th century when Henry V's half-brother built Greenwich Palace. It was renamed the Palace of Placentia and extended by further monarchs, until it became the main residence of  Tudor kings Henry VII and Henry VIII.

Famous monarchs such as Mary I and Elizabeth I were born here, but during the Civil War the palace fell into decay and it was pulled down during the 17th century. The royal connection continued however throughout the centuries, with the creation of the Royal Dockyards and Royal Naval Hospital, and Greenwich was granted Royal Borough status in 2010.

The location of Greenwich means it also has a rich naval history which you can delve into at the National Maritime Museum, or if you want to take it even further you can actually study Maritime History at the University of Greenwich!

Finally, no history of Greenwich would be complete without mentioning its most famous export - Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT, which has been set as the national time standard at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich since 1847.


Cost of renting in Greenwich

pretty terrace house in greenwich

Photo credit: www.zoopla.co.uk

Despite the popularity and good location of this lovely area, the rent here isn't as expensive as you might expect. While neighbouring areas of Deptford and Lewisham are definitely more budget-friendly, it is possible to find a nice place within walking distance of the town centre without breaking the bank. Plus, the council tax is some of the cheapest in London!

Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1,100 pcm

Most expensive rent for a two-bed flat: £2,708 pcm

Average council tax: £981 per year


Transport from Greenwich

DLR station in Greenwich

Photo credit: www.thetrams.co.uk

Although the peace and quiet of Greenwich might feel hundreds of miles away from busy central London, this area is actually located in Zone 2 and is only 5 miles from the centre. There's no tube station, but Greenwich is well served by buses and the Docklands Light Railway, which every true Londoner knows is the best way to travel - if you sit at the front, it feels like you're driving! Greenwich to Bank takes just 22 minutes on the DLR, making it an ideal place to live for those commuting to the City.


Attractions in Greenwich


The Royal Observatory

C3productionscouk Mar Mus

Photo credit: www.c3productions.co.uk

Ok, ok. If you're wondering what the obsession with the Royal Observatory is, it's because Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian of the world, at 0° Longitude, meaning the rest of the world is measured from here, in navigational terms at least.  There’s not too many people who can say they’ve stood with one foot in each hemisphere but you can add that claim to your repertoire with a trip here. Real Astronomers host guided tours of outer space and you can discover astrology’s history in London’s only planetarium. Open daily 10am till 5pm.

Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
Phone: 020 8858 4422

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

The tunnel connects Greenwich on the south of the Thames with the Isle of Dogs at the north of the Thames and is considered a public highway, opened 24 hours a day! It’s also part of the UK’s National Cycle Route 1.

The Cutty Sark

Seabreezescoim Cutty

Image credit: www.seabreezes.co.im

Us Brits salute you Cutty Sark for bringing us tea! The Cutty Sark is the world’s only surviving tea clipper (although one other is being sent for restoration), and is docked in Greenwich after a history of voyages across the world. The Cutty Sark was designed to sail across the world and beat the times set by the previous glorious tea clippers. Which reminds me, mine’s milky with one sugar, please! Open 10am till 5pm.

Address: King William Walk, London SE10 9HT
Phone:020 8858 4422

National Maritime Museum

This is the world’s largest maritime museum and holds some amazing information about Britain’s maritime history with stories and accounts that will fascinate even the most thalassophobic visitors. It’s open daily from 10am to 5pm, and is free entry.

Address: Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Phone: 020 8858 4422

Emirates Air Line

The nation’s first inner-city cable car supplies some of the best panoramic views of the city you’re likely to see -  unless you can fly that is. Take in the views of the London sky line between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks anytime between 9am and 6.30pm. It’s just a five minute walk from the North Greenwich tube station and the O2.

Address: 27 Western Gateway, London E16 1BW
Phone: +44 0342221234

The O2

Londonvenueguidecom O2

Image credit: www.londonvenueguide.com

Originally The Millennium Dome, the O2 offers a breathtaking ninety minute expedition to the top of the stadium where you can enjoy 360° views of London on top of one of the city’s best entertainment venues. Inside you’ll find all sorts of entertainment on offer, from Bryans Adams concerts to WWE Wrestling!

Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Phone: 020 8463 2000

Free Yoga

Shake off those hangovers and shed your PJ's, the sun is shining! What better way to wake up than to  yoga on beautiful Greenwich Park?  There's a donation-based yoga session (run by Dulce, the instructor) at 10am - usually around the bandstand. After you're done, walk into town and go grab a coffee and a pastry at one of the pretty coffee shops, then eat it outside the Trinity College of Music to listen to the students inside doing weekend practice!

Address: Greenwich Park, London, SE10
Phone: 0300 061 2380

Restaurants in Greenwich


Black Vanilla

Allthingsgreenwichcouk Black Van

Image credit: www.allthingsgreenwich.co.uk

The second branch of this brilliant ice cream parlour recently opened in the epicentre of  Greenwich, next to all the main tourist attractions. As as well as offering frozen goodness, they also sell afternoon tea (champagne optional!) and hot food.

Address: 5 College Approach, London SE10 9HY
Phone: 020 8858 3283

The Brasserie at the National Maritime Museum

If you’re taking in the attractions of part of one of Greenwich’s World Heritage sites and need to break for lunch but don’t want to venture too far, The Brasserie offers British cuisine with an influence of the area's heritage.

Address: National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF
Phone: 020 8312 8516


Tucked away down Trafalgar Road is this little gem of a deli. Run by a French chef and open from breakfast, the restaurant offers top quality deli food with take-away available. The prices are very reasonable and the quiches, sandwiches and salads all have a touch of French finesse and elegance to them!

Address: 93 Trafalgar Rd, Greenwich SE10 9TS
Phone: 020 8858 0918


Goddards Tripadvisorcouk

Photo credit: www.tripadvisor.co.uk

How could we write a restaurant guide based in London without a good old-fashioned pie mash and liquor shop?! The family run business has been serving pie and mash since 1890. The restaurant seats one hundred, and take-away is also available.

Address: 22 King William Walk SE10 9HU
Phone: 020 8305 9612


Hailed as the best restaurant in Greenwich by many, Inside features in 2014’s Michelin guide and offers European food for fantastic, affordable prices. All the reviews about  how warm, friendly and welcoming the place is can't be wrong!

Address: 19 Greenwich South Street,Greenwich, London SE10 8NW
Phone: 020 825 5060 

Shopping in Greenwich

Shopping in Greenwich is dominated by two markets; Greenwich Market and Clocktower Market. This are also offers some interesting of independent shops and emporiums, with great bric-a-brac shops and antique boutiques in particular.

Greenwich Market

Wonderfulwanderingscom Market

Image credit: www.wonderfulwanderings.com

This market is much-adored by London and Greenwich’s residents and the busy atmosphere along with it’s array of stalls and independent shops run by artsy and talented people make this market quite unique! Stalls include plenty of vintage clothing and antiques with world foods, delis and delicatessens all offering a variety of wonderful foods!

Address: Greenwich Market, 5b Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ
Phone: 020 8269 5096

Clocktower Market

Open every weekend and Bank Holiday Mondays, the Clocktower offers individual, quirky stalls selling all sorts, from crafts to antiques, bric-a-brac and jewellery. As well as these, all the local attractions have their own gift shops to pick up little memoirs and reminders of your trip to Greenwich!

Address: 166 Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, London SE10 8NN
Phone: 020 7237 2001
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