Longest post title ever. Doesn’t exactly glide off the tongue, does it? Never mind, moving on…
Top tip for visiting London: don’t be over ambitious about how much you’ll fit in. I’ve just learned that one the hard way. It meant our final day in the capital needed a bit of rescheduling. We postponed a few things for our next visit and had to shorten the time spent in our final destination: Greenwich.
Despite Greenwich being known as the ‘Home of Time’, we didn’t have much to spare on the day of our visit. I’d made the mistake, with hindsight, of booking a train specific ticket going home and didn’t really want to fork out on a new set of tickets . But that left us working to a deadline. Undeterred, we decided we’d still head up the river, it would just be a whistle stop tour rather than a full days exploring.
If we liked it we’d pencil in a return. If we didn’t, no harm done. We didn’t spend much time or money to find that out. Spoiler alert: we did really, really like it and will definitely be returning. Why so sure? Well …
The Home of Time
Home to London’s only public Planetarium and the place where you can stand on the Prime Meridian of the world – the line of 0º Longitude. This is exactly where the eastern and western hemispheres come together. Also the home of Greenwich Mean Time. I find it fascinating despite being rubbish with time. My time keeping is questionable and I’ve never grasped why clocks get moved back and forward. I’m the grumpy one on those days, repeatedly asking about the real time and muttering things about the day still having 24 hours so what’s the point?
Actually, if I could find a Greenwich Time Expert I’d like to ask them where all my time goes. Honestly, the days just fly away. All of that to say, Greenwich is a bit of a unique place. Keeper of time, keeper of history which brings me on to the next thing I loved…
Beautiful, Historic Buildings
As soon as we arrived, I said the place looks like a film set. And indeed, many movies and TV shows have filmed here including The Crown. Greenwich is one of London’s four UNESCO world heritage sites blessed with miles of Victorian landscaping and awe inspiring architecture. The Old Naval College is full of quadrants and courtyards and classical columns designed to frame the views. Queens House is the oldest neoclassical building in Britain.
And not just buildings, Greenwich is also home to a historic ship in the form of the Cutty Sark. The last remaining tea clipper, I won’t say too much about her now. She’s a beauty that deserves a post of her own. Fun fact though: the Cutty Sark takes her name from the Burns poem Tam O’ Shanter . It refers to a short nighty worn by young witch. Saucy stuff, pub quiz knowledge gold.
Out of the dry dock and back under bricks and mortar the next thing on my list is…
There has been a market in Greenwich since the 1700’s. Originally a food market, it’s fortunes and offerings have changed over the centuries but the market has weathered every storm. In the 1980’s , encouraged by the successes of other London markets, Greenwich was given a new lease of life with lower rents and and a new generation of stall holders.
The result is eclectic and colourful. Historical meets contemporary in an explosion of food, antiques, crafts and fashion. It’s the kind of place you’ll definitely find something you never knew you needed. It is a market in motion; different days welcome different traders. This is not a static place. Visit over and again and find something new each time.
The usual lament- there was so much to see, but too little time. We didn’t see nearly enough of the place, but enough to get a good feel for it. Greenwich Market has stood since 1737. I’m sure it’ll be around a bit longer so I can go back and
buy all the things explore.
Coffee & Cookies
Refuelling stops are very, very important. You won’t go without in Greenwich, even in our short visit we could see the place is teeming with coffee shops and bakeries. Spoilt for choice but short on time, we went for the crowd pleaser. Coffee & Cookies. Not just any old cookie, a cookie with compliments from Crosstown.
Crosstown is a London based, scratch bakery that specialises in handcrafted bakes, small batch ice creams and speciality coffees. Launched on Leather Lane Market in 2014 Crosstown has since opened branches across London including a friendly and cosy store in Greenwich Market. Highly recommended.
If you’d like to see a bit more of Crosstown, find them online here.
And that was Greenwich. Short and sweet, can’t wait to return. Where is your favourite London spot?