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Old Royal Naval College

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Location: Greenwich
Region: London

Postcode: SE10 9NN

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Visit Old Royal Naval College

Step back in time and experience Britain's naval history at the Old Royal Naval College - where heritage meets beauty.

Visitor Information: Old Royal Naval College

  • Old Royal Naval College
    Description

    The Old Royal Naval College is a stunning architectural masterpiece located in Greenwich, London, UK. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was once the home of the Royal Naval College, which trained sailors for the British Navy. Today, the Old Royal Naval College is open to the public and offers a range of attractions, including beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and museums.

    The centrepiece of the Old Royal Naval College is the magnificent Painted Hall. The hall is decorated with stunning paintings that depict Britain’s naval victories, and it is considered one of the most significant baroque interiors in Europe. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Painted Hall and learn about the history behind the paintings and the Royal Navy’s role in British history.

    The Old Royal Naval College is also home to the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, which is one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in London. The chapel was completed in 1752 and features stunning Baroque architecture, a stunning painted ceiling, and beautiful stained glass windows. Visitors can attend daily services in the chapel, and it is also available for weddings and other events.

    Another highlight of the Old Royal Naval College is the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre. The centre tells the story of Greenwich, from its maritime history to its role in timekeeping and astronomy. The centre also features a range of interactive exhibits, including a virtual tour of the Painted Hall and an interactive exhibit on the history of timekeeping.

    The Old Royal Naval College also boasts beautiful gardens that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. The gardens were originally designed by André Le Nôtre, who also designed the gardens at Versailles. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the Thames River and the Cutty Sark, a restored 19th-century sailing ship that is docked nearby.

  • Highlights
    Not to be missed when visiting

    The Painted Hall: Often referred to as the UK’s ‘Sistine Chapel’, the Painted Hall is an absolute must-see. This grand dining hall is covered from floor to ceiling in stunning baroque art, painted by Sir James Thornhill over 19 years in the early 18th century.

    The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul: This beautiful chapel is a neoclassical masterpiece by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart and William Newton. Its interior contrasts with the ornate Painted Hall, offering a serene and quiet space.

    Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre: The visitor centre offers a free exhibition where you can learn about the history of Greenwich and the Royal Navy. It’s the perfect starting point for your visit.

    The Admiral’s House: Although not always open to the public, this historic building forms an important part of the Old Royal Naval College. From its windows, you get great views over the Thames and the college grounds.

    The Grounds: The Old Royal Naval College sits within extensive, beautifully maintained grounds. You can relax, picnic, and watch the world go by in the heart of Maritime Greenwich. The site offers some of the best views of the River Thames and the London skyline.

    Guided Tours: The Old Royal Naval College offers expert guided tours, providing fascinating insights into the site’s 500-year history. Check the visitor centre or website for tour times and availability.

    The King William Undercroft: Recently restored, the Undercroft is a large vaulted space beneath the Painted Hall. Today it houses a café and a shop for visitors to enjoy.

    Victorian Skittle Alley: Hidden beneath the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, this historic skittle alley offers a unique glimpse into the pastimes of Victorian sailors.

FAQs

  • What are the opening hours of the Old Royal Naval College?

    The Old Royal Naval College is generally open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. However, these times may vary, especially for specific buildings within the site, so do check the official website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Is there an admission fee?

    Entry to the Old Royal Naval College grounds and the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is free. There is a charge for entry to the Painted Hall, with discounts available for concessions. Please check our website for detailed pricing information, availability and bookings.

  • Is the site wheelchair accessible?

    Yes, the Old Royal Naval College is wheelchair accessible with step-free access to most areas. However, please check with the site for detailed accessibility information.

  • Are there dining facilities on site?

    Yes, the Old Royal Naval College has an on-site café located in the King William Undercroft, beneath the Painted Hall. There are also numerous dining options in the surrounding area of Greenwich.

  • Are guided tours available?

    Yes, guided tours are available and are an excellent way to learn more about the site’s history and architecture. Check the official website or contact the site for the most current tour schedules.

  • What other attractions are nearby?

    There are several other attractions near the Old Royal Naval College that you may want to consider visiting:

    Royal Observatory Greenwich: Located in Greenwich Park, it is home to the Prime Meridian Line and the UK’s largest historic telescope. Here you can learn about the history of astronomy and navigation.

    National Maritime Museum: This is the largest museum of its kind in the world, filled with inspirational stories of exploration and endeavour at sea.

    Cutty Sark: You can visit this historic ship and last surviving tea clipper, which was the fastest and greatest of her time.

    Greenwich Market: A bustling market with up to 120 stalls selling antiques, collectibles, crafts, and delicious food from around the world.

    Queen’s House: Known for its stunning architecture and housing a world-class art collection, the Queen’s House is a former royal residence located in the heart of Maritime Greenwich.

    Greenwich Park: One of London’s royal parks, offering stunning views over the city, and a perfect place for a leisurely walk.

    Thames River Cruise: Take a boat trip along the River Thames and enjoy the scenic views of London’s landmarks. The cruises depart from several points in Greenwich.

    Island Gardens: Located directly across the river from the Old Royal Naval College, this park offers one of the best views of the college’s grand architecture.

    The O2 Arena: Just a short journey from Greenwich, you’ll find The O2 Arena, which hosts numerous concerts, exhibitions, and entertainment events.

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