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?
I’ve never been to London and yet today I felt I was right there, exploring Greenwich with you. I could feel your euphoria through your words and pictures. To stand at the Prime meridian, take in the sights and sounds, my mind was busily filing tips for the ‘someday I will be there trip’. Superb post once again!
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a lovely trip, gave me back a bit of sparkle and hunger for travel after a very strange 18 months, I’m glad you enjoyed reading.
I’m with you in a love of Greenwich, but next visit make time for the village itself which is charming, and if there is a bit of extra time, pop into the Fan Museum there – it’s gorgeous. I love everything about Greenwich not forgetting the trip down-river which I how I always approach it. My favourite place for wandering though, is Southwark, old, medieval, full of literary associations not least with Dickens and Shakespeare, and near Borough Market for good food. If you’ve never had a pint of ale in The George and thought of Falstaff, well, now’s your chance. Check out this last of the old galleried pubs from the 16th century and just go there! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/george-inn
I’m definitely keen to get back and find all the hidden corners. We did actually travel from Embankment by boat, which was lovely. But has also added at least five more places I want to check out. I read about the Fan Museum, I quite fancy that one. Thanks for the link, I do love a good pub with character. Plenty of them in London!
Greenwich is great to visit and to step,on board the Cutty Sark I do but I like so many other parts of the capital for different reasons. So pleased you had an enjoyable trip. Marion
Thank you Marion, after a strange start to the year it has been really nice to do something a bit different!
My son and family live in Hither Green, so Greenwich is a favourite stamping ground, whatever your age. You’ve given it a great introduction!
Thanks, Margaret. It was just a flying visit as the teenagers lost track of time on Oxford St. Be lovely to get back and explore properly. It must be nice to get the inside view on an area when you visit family.
Greenwich earns the longest post title ever! So many reasons it’s a great place to visit, and your photos are wonderful… it’s been too long since I was there 🙂
Thanks, it made a really good first impression. Looking forward to making a return visit soon.
I agree; Greenwich is special. If you’ve not tried to foot tunnel to the north back and connect to the DLR there to head back citywards through Canary Wharf you’ve a treat; try sitting at the front – they are driverless and imagine you are driving. Big kids all inclusive!
Fav parts of London? Tricky. Lord’s probably!
I heard about the tunnel and spotted the entrances but we just timed out. There is a foot tunnel under the river in Hamburg that they reminded me of so I’ll definitely put that on the list for next time.
There’s another down river on Woolwich. They’re victorian curios for sure!