Royal Museums Greenwich History
You should spend at least one day at Royal Museums Greenwich to explore all the interesting collections that are kept there. You should spend at least several hours at tea clipper, called “Cutty Sark”, to feel like a real sailor at National Maritime Museum, to make a wish at Royal Observatory, standing at the zero meridian and to have a snack in the open air at Greenwich Park.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to visit Queen’s House, as it is closed for reconstruction till July, 2016.
In 2012, it became possible to realize it. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the new name of the complex «Royal Museums Greenwich». The new group name reflects the deep historical connection between the British kings and these institutions in Greenwich. The area, where the museums are situated was called the Royal Borough in February, 2012.
Four museums and the park around them are so similar and very different at the same time. Every institution has its history, its problematic fate and has its own message for the tourists.
Try to visit any of these museums separately to feel the spirit of old England and to honor its noble kings.
Royal Museums Greenwich Exhibitions
Let’s start our tour from the underground station, called “Cutty Sark”. We will look about any of these places of interest to create the holistic view of the complex.
The funny name of this clipper is legendary to some extent. In 1869 the captain John Willis decided to give to the new, very fast clipper, an interesting and unusual name. But his variant – “Sea Witch” – seemed too pretentious to the sailors. Some of them thought that this name will be unlucky and the fate of the clipper and its sailor will be sad. So the cap changed its name for “cutty sark” – the small attractive shirt that one of the witches used to wear in the poem of Robert Burns. You can admire this witch, as it is mounted at the bow of the ship.
“Cutty Sark” used to be one of the fastest ships in Great Britain. Its aim was to carry fresh tea leaves from China to London. Queens and kings used to drink hot strong tea that was brought exactly from Chinese plantations.
In 1922 the clipper stopped to carry tea to England. It was used as a training ship for young sailors. Since 2007 it became a museum and now you can visit it, stay for a while on board and imagine, how a beautiful young witch was dancing in a short cutty sark.
- National Maritime Museum
After spending several hours on the board of the clipper, come here, to National Maritime Museum. Great Britain used to be a solid maritime state and being a seafarer was prestigious there. This museum is devoted to the seamanship, to great navigators and national heroes, who took part in sea battles.
More than 2, 5 million of exhibits, connected with seamanship, are located there. They are divided into different galleries, to make your exploration of the museum easier. You will see here the equipment that sailors used during their trips over the sea, their weapons and mascots. The great gallery of portraits of famous sailors and admirals is one of the largest in the world.
This place is not accessible till July, 2016. Queen’s House is the part of the National Maritime Museum. A great collection of seascapes and portraits of famous artists of 18-20th centuries is situated here. It is even possible to have famous English cup of tea with soft sandwiches on the balcony of the house. This service is paid.
Greenwich Observatory is probably the most interesting museum of the complex. The count of world time is performed from here. The count of world time is noted by Prime Meridian. Earlier the time was counted separately in every country. But the development of world trade demanded time counting, common for all the countries. As Great Britain used to be the powerful state, it was used as the starting point of world time counting. The Prime Meridian is marked with a brass band. It divides the world into two hemispheres – western and eastern. Many tourists like to make the photo of themselves, standing with one foot in the western hemisphere and the second one – in the eastern.
- Greenwich Park
If you have looked about the museums, palaces and mansions, it is the time to come outside! Greenwich Park is one of the most beautiful places in London. Now Greenwich Park is a part of the National Maritime Museum. It is the place of interest that has deep historical meaning. There are incredibly ancient trees in the park. For example, old chestnut trees grow from the 17th century here and the legendary Queen Oak is also standing at one of the alleys. In its shadow Elizabeth I liked to stay – the legend says so.
Royal Museums Greenwich Opening Hours
Visiting Royal Museums Greenwich is not just interesting and informative. It is a real pleasure, as anyone can feel like a hero of old English novels. Queens, kings, sailors and pirates – you will spend a very pleasant day among them. To visit this complex, you should come from 10:00 till 17:00. The opening hours are defined in average, as the museums of the complex are different and sometimes they are closed for some repairing work, so it is better to check in advance, if all the buildings are accessible and when exactly they work.
The admission is free here. Any state museum in London invites guests and tourists for free. Some of the exhibitions and events are paid here, so it is better to have some extra pounds in your pockets, to be sure, you are able to visit any event you like.
How to Get to Royal Museums Greenwich
Although the complex is situated not in the midst of the city, it is very easy to get here. You can come by bus, by car or by underground. To reach the area, you can take the metro to such stations as “Greenwich”, “North Greenwich”, and “Cutty Sark”. If you plan to go by bus, take the numbers 53, 54, 177, 202, 188B, 380, and others. To get to the Royal Museum is possible by water, using the boat.
The address of Royal Museums Greenwich is Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF.
Royal Museums Greenwich Shop and Restaurants
It is impossible to leave Royal Museums Greenwich and not to get a souvenir in its shop. Here you can get everything – clothes, books, cups and illustrated guides. The souvenir, that you will get here, will remind you about the beautiful museum complex that you have visited once.
Of course, there’s café that works on the territory of the museum. It is situated in the Observatory. Courses of British cuisine are served here. English tea, sandwiches, extremely soft creamy cakes and hot dishes – everything is made for children and adults here. While having your lunch, you can admire the picturesque view of Greenwich Park. It works from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 till 16:30.
If you want to save some money and enjoy the meal in the open air, you can take a packed lunch and have it just there, in the park.
Visiting Royal Museums Greenwich is a great experience to anyone. It is interesting, informative and will cost you a nuisance!