Greenwich


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The famed Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the location of the Prime Meridian and the origin of “Greenwich Mean Time”. The observatory has an excellent museum detailing the search for an accurate means of calculating longitude at sea, plus sweeping views from its hilltop perch. Other Greenwich attractions include the old Royal Naval College grounds, the National Maritime Museum, and the Cutty Sark, the last of the great 19th-century tea clippers that sailed between England and China.

Below are trip highlights from February 17th in Greenwich, UK. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Tower Gateway

At Tower Gateway DLR (overground train) station to take a train for the first leg of our trip to Greenwich.
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En Route

We got a seat right at the front of the train with a great view. This was taken just past East India station.
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Cable Car

The next leg of our Greenwich trip was on the Air Emirates Cable Car across the River Thames that we’d passed under when arriving in London. This is the fabulous view looking upstream toward the O2 Pavilion on Greenwich Peninsula with the towers of Canard Wharf beyond. The St. Katharine Docks area where we are moored is not visible, but is directly beyond the Canary Wharf buildings.
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Tidal Barrier

The Thames Tidal Control Barrier viewed from the cable car as we cross the Thames.
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The O2

The huge O2 Arena is a prominent landmark on the tip of Greenwich Peninsula.
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Amplifiers

We spent some time walking around the O2 Arena. The complex is massive, with dozens of restaurants and stores and plenty of O2 advertisements. This display full of retro guitar amplifiers caught our attention.
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On the Bus

Riding in the top level of a bus from the tip of the Greenwich Peninsula into Greenwich. This is our third form of transportation today, and we’re not done yet.
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Royal Naval College

We saw the beautiful Old Royal Naval College buildings as we first arrived into London and now get a chance to see them in more detail. The campus was designed by acclaimed British architect Christopher Wren and constructed in the late 1600s. The buildings on the right now are part of the University of Greenwich.
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Lunch

We had an excellent lunch at The Old Brewery in Greenwich, home to Meantime Brewing. This is a new brewery built on the site of an old one that dated to 1717. In mid-February it was warm enough to eat outside on the patio.
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Royal Observatory Greenwich

At the famed Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the location of the Prime Meridian and where the term Greenwich Mean Time derives. The building is another Christopher Wren design, built in 1675.
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Prime Meridian

Getting a picture taking with one foot on either side of the Prime Meridian is exceedingly popular here. Here’s Jennifer with one foot on the eastern hemisphere and the other in the west.
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View

The amazing view from the Royal Observatory across Greenwich, the Thames and to London. The Old Royal Naval College buildings are slightly left of center, with the Canary Wharf towers beyond. St. Katharine’s Wharf is in the distance at the far left. You can just make out the buildings nearby, such as the Walkie Talkie. (Click the image for a larger view.)
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Time Ball

The Time Ball atop the Royal Observatory drops at 1pm every day. Historically this was to allow people to synchronize their clocks to GMT.
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Harrison Clock

The Royal Observatory has an excellent museum detailing the search for an accurate means of calculating longitude at sea, which depends upon accurate time. The problem was so important to solve for safety at sea that the 1714 Longitude Act offered a prize of up to £20,000 (nearly £3M today) to anyone who could solve it. This is one of several timepieces on display designed and built by Thomas Harrison who invented the first marine chronometer and eventually won the prize.
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Miss Britain III

The Miss Britain III, the first boat to top 100mph in open water, at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
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Land Rover BAR

A great picture at the National Maritime Museum of the Land Rover BAR team as part of an exhibition about their bid for the 2017 America’s Cup.
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Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark was the last of the great 19th-century tea clippers that sailed between England and China. The ship has been suspended such that you can walk above decks, below decks and even beneath the keel.
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Chapel

From the Cutty Sark, we walked back through the Old Royal Naval College campus. This is the striking Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul in Queen Mary Court.
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Trafalgar Tavern

We had hoped to stop in for a pint at the Trafalgar Tavern, but it was jam packed with not a seat available.
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Water Gate

Looking to the Old Royal Navel College campus through Water Gate, with the River Thames behind us.
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Boat Ride

We were planning to take a Thames Clipper back before dinner, but it was lined up with a 45-minute wait. So we opted for dinner in Greenwich and tried again later. By 7pm there were no lines so we could hop right on. The boats can reach speeds of at least 25 knots and really move through the water. After travelling up the Thames at 7 knots in Dirona, it was a real eye-opener.
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Tower Bridge

Looking back to Tower Bridge after disembarking the Thames Clipper at Tower Pier.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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5 comments on “Greenwich
  1. John Schieffelin says:

    You are amazingly thorough and knowledgeable tourists! I enjoy reading about your travels very much. Hoping to make it to England next year.

  2. Craig Morgan says:

    BTW, the grounds/buildings of Greenwich are now one of the most popular used filming locations, standing in for myriad Victorian/Edwardian locations in modern films due to their flexibility and easy access for crews …

  3. Craig Morgan says:

    The book “Longitude” by Dava Sobel is a great read into the history and challenges of maritime transit and the development of the chronological devices it triggered. It was also very successfully dramatised into a TV mini-series in the early 2000s. Both are well-worth looking into for anyone with a penchant for seafaring, maritime history and technology … highly recommended!

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