In this guide, you’ll discover the top things to do in Greenwich from a local. This royal borough in London is filled to the brim with rich history and culture to explore. Take a day trip to Greenwich to catch a glimpse of the past and tuck into delicious delights at the popular street food market.
Most people that visit London focus on the big-ticket tourist attractions such as the London Eye, Big Ben, Notting Hill and Buckingham Palace, which is in central London, forgetting anything outside of zone 1.
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Never looking further, a field to places like Greenwich in the South East of London. There are so many things to do in the area for solo travellers, couples, and families alike.
Suppose you visit London and don’t spend a day in Greenwich and see what things you can do in this royal borough. You’ll be missing out on some fantastic things like local history, food markets and the best views London has to offer. These are just a few options for what to do in Greenwich.
Tip: If you’re planning a trip to the Big Smoke, then read my London travel tips.
If you’re looking for a guide on everything you want to see in Greenwich from the perspective of someone who knows all the best spots, you’re in the right place.
A day exploring Greenwich should be on everyone’s must-see list whether you’re spending a weekend or 5 days in London.
Greenwich became a Royal Borough in February 2012 and is one of the eight royal boroughs in London.
If you are spending a weekend in Greenwich, you can use this free Airbnb coupon to get £25 off your accommodation if you book using the coupon.
Regardless of the duration of your trip, there are plenty of wonderful places to explore. Greenwich is home to many grand buildings overlooking the Thames River, such as the works of celebrated architects Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren.
Read on to discover what to do in Greenwich, London.
There’s no shortage of Greenwich activities, sightseeing and tourist attractions.
Whether you’re in the mood to indulge in some local food, explore the area on foot or observe some historic attractions on your day out in Greenwich.
If you’re short on time, you can discover some of the top sights in the area on a guided half-day tour.
The first place you’ll probably visit in Greenwich is the Cutty Sark, as it is the closest to the DLR station in Greenwich. You’ll find this famous sailing ship on King William Walk.
Visiting the Cutty Sark offers a delightful experience, and you’ll be within walking distance of other top attractions in the area. These include the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Market, and Greenwich Park.
The Cutty Sark was one of the last and fastest British tea clippers built. The ship is now one of three remaining clippers from the 19th century and one of the main things to see in Greenwich.
The construction of the ship took place in 1869, and it was first launched in Dumbarton, Scotland. The ship was damaged by fire twice, first on the 21st of May 2007, while undergoing conservation, and on 19th of October 2014.
Today, this maritime treasure is restored and opened for visitors to learn more about the rich history and life at sea. Here you can admire the stunning views from the main deck or traverse below and discover a few hidden gems.
Visitors can interact with the original planks and iron frameworks of the ship. You’ll also learn about the ship’s impressive record-breaking journeys across the world.
You can even treat yourself and your friends to afternoon tea under the Cutty Sark. There is also a gift shop for souvenirs, including books, prints, games, and toys.
If you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in Greenwich, a trip to this historic sailing ship is an excellent option. There are several events to keep the little ones and adults entertained.
The events include meeting the characters of Cutty Sark, listening to fascinating sea stories, rig climbs, family-friendly workshops, live comedy, and more. Cutty Sark ticket prices are around £16 for adults and £8 for children. Tickets to specific events vary, and most include discounts for students and members.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00 (including bank holidays).
Address | King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HT
If you’re not a local of Greenwich, you might miss the dome-shaped entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
The Greenwich Foot Tunnel runs under the River Thames to East London. It connects the Royal Borough of Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs in the north. You’ll find an entrance located in front of the Cutty Sark.
The 370-metre tunnel was completed in 1902 and replaced the existing ferry service. When visiting, don’t be alarmed if kids on skateboards, runners, and people on bikes whiz past you going down into the foot tunnel.
The tunnel is accessible by spiral staircases and two large lifts at either end. These were refurbished between 2010 and 2012 and are also part of the UK’s National Cycle Route 1 linking Inverness and Dover. Visiting the fun tunnel is one of those unique things to do in Greenwich.
It will take you around 8 – 10 minutes to walk to the full length of the tunnel. Even though cyclists are not meant to cycle in the tunnel, many do. So be alert when walking in the tunnel for oncoming cyclists and runners. Apart from that, the tunnel is safe to walk along.
Greenwich Foot Tunnel Opening Times | The tunnel is open 24 hours a day.
The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s certainly worth visiting.
The building was designed by the famed Christopher Wren and built between 1696 and 1712. It boasts striking English Baroque architecture, as well as scenic grounds and courtyards to wander around.
The buildings were initially constructed to serve as the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, now generally known as Greenwich Hospital.
The hospital closed in 1869. Between 1873 and 1998, it was the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. The grounds and some of its buildings are open to visitors every day of the week.
If you’d like to learn more about this beautiful, historic building and the many gems inside, you can book a guided tour. You’ll explore the site in a small group and see mesmerising masterpieces, including the breathtaking Painted Hall and the Nelson Room.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00.
Address | King William Walk, London SE10 9NN
Wondering what to see in Greenwich? The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is said to be one of the most spectacular and critical baroque interiors in Europe. It’s also the largest painted ceiling in Britain.
The ceiling was painted between 1707 and 1726 by British artist Sir James Thornhill. The artist drew on around 200 figures to tell a story of political change, scientific and cultural achievements in Britain.
This piece of British history uses William III and Mary II in 1688 and George I in 1714 to form the central narrative of the painting.
Almost all of the Old Royal Naval College tours highlight this awe-inspiring hall, and when you enter the space, you’ll definitely understand why. In addition to the beautiful artwork, you’ll also discover some of the painting’s age-old mysteries.
Discover the Painted Hall up close on a Painted Hall Ceiling Tour when you visit Greenwich.
The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is a stunning Neoclassical piece of work by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart and William Newton.
Here you’ll come across an organ in the west end, which showcases the work of an English organ builder, Samuel Green. There is also an altarpiece painted by Benjamin West, and it is said to be one of Britain’s finest 18th-century interiors.
The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is still an active place of worship, holding regular services throughout the week, as well as frequent events and performances.
Services and events often feature the Chapel Choir, which students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00.
Address | College Row, London SE10 9LW
The National Maritime Museum has the most important holdings in the world on the history of Britain at sea, comprising more than two million items, including maritime art.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is the world’s largest maritime museum. Here you’ll find over 10 free galleries and a vast collection that covers artworks, maps and charts, armoury and portraits.
At the museum, you can learn about famous battles, see ancient artefacts, listen to stories about life at sea, admire space photography, and more. There are also several events and special exhibits, which may require a fee.
Visiting the National Maritime Museum is a fun and free thing to do in Greenwich. Although the museum offers free entry, you’ll need a timed ticket. It’s best to book in advance as tickets might be limited at the site.
You can also opt for a Royal Museums Greenwich Day Pass, which provides access to the National Maritime Museum, The Queen’s House, Cutty Sark, and the Royal Observatory.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00.
Address | Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF
The Royal Observatory is one of the places to visit in Greenwich. You’ll find it located on a hill in Greenwich Park.
The observatory is a compound dedicated to astronomy and the symbolic location of the Prime Meridian Line, which marks the 0 Longitude Line.
The true Prime Meridian line (the imaginary line which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole) is 334 feet to the east, cutting through a footpath.
Enter the planetarium and courtyard and straddle the East and West Hemispheres (as nerdy as this sounds, it’s fun to do). You might have to wait for your time to straddle the line.
With an entrance ticket, you also get a free audio guide of the history of the building to listen to as you explore the grounds. Take your time when going through the different rooms and listening to the audio. This could take up to 2 hours.
The Astronomy building is free to enter and has lots of telescopes and information that will keep you engaged, looking towards the stars.
There is also a short film about the Big Bang and what is currently known about far-reaching outer space. I found that this small room got packed as people stopped to watch the movie.
The Royal Observatory tickets are around £16 for adults and £8 for children between four and 15 years old. There are special discounts for students, and children younger than four years old can enjoy free entry.
Tickets: Be sure to check their website for further information.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00
Address | Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
Greenwich Royal Observatory to view the sunset over the Canary Wharf skyline.
The view from Greenwich hill is one of the best views over London. With a sweeping view of landmarks such as the River Thames to Canary Wharf, all the way to the O2 to the east and St Paul’s Cathedral to the west.
Greenwich Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks, and your Greenwich sightseeing would be incomplete without it. It’s famous for hosting the Prime Meridian Line and the Royal Observatory.
The park is part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site. The park is one of the most historic amongst the Royal Parks dating back to the 15th century.
You might even remember Greenwich park from the 2012 Olympics!
It is where the equestrian games took place.
There is also a deer park, and if you want to see the infamous cherry blossoms that bloom in London during spring. Then you’ll need to visit Greenwich Park.
It’s a prime spot for cherry blossom viewing, and the grounds lining the pathway in the park are covered in pale pink cherry blossom petals in spring.
Tip: Visiting Greenwich park during spring is one of the top Greenwich London things to do.
Address | London SE10 8EJ
The Greenwich Market is a relatively unknown London food market to tourists. With food stalls selling Thai, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Mexican food, sushi and vegan treats, you’re sure to find something that suits your palate.
You won’t go hungry or thirsty at Greenwich Market, and there are various quirky items and handmade gifts to buy as well. Don’t leave the market without picking up a unique antique find or a good vintage jacket.
But these won’t be at your usual rocket bottom market prices as Greenwich market is a more upscale and expensive flea market. There are also a few beauty-related stalls if you’d like to pick up a few self-care products or enjoy a manicure or massage.
Do yourself a favour and eat from the market stalls inside the market rather than the chain restaurants which line the main road outside. You can also explore more of some of the best markets in London on foot.
Getting to Greenwich Market is pretty easy due to the convenient public transport connections. As it’s situated in Greenwich town centre, you can choose to travel via bus, train, tube, or DLR. The London Bridge train station is just 8 minutes away. Or opt for a leisurely walk or cycle to the market.
Tip: The market is open seven days a week. However, if you’re hoping to escape the crowds, visiting on a weekday would be best as the market is busiest on weekends.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:30.
Address | Greenwich Market, London, SE10 9HZ
This is something everyone should do if they are visiting London and is perfect if you’re looking for things to do in North Greenwich.
The Emirates Air Line cable car is a 5 minutes walk from the North Greenwich station. Yes, it’s further away from the main things to do in Greenwich but trust me, at only around £6 (one way) or £12 (round trip), it’s an inexpensive way to see London and explore Greenwich from above.
Far cheaper than the Shard. On the 15 minute ride, you’ll see Canary Wharf, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, The O2, the Thames Barrier, Maritime Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Riding the Emirates Air Line cable car is one of the activities to try on a Greenwich trip.
You can book a private cabin, but honestly, if you’re visiting during the weekday or non-peak travel times, then you’ll probably have a cabin car to yourself. This is what happened to me when I visited at 11:00 on a weekday.
Beware that if you have an Oyster card, this will not work on the Emirates Air Line as it is not run by London Transport.
I didn’t realise this and tried to take the cable car using my monthly travel Oyster card.
A one-way trip ticket costs around £6 for adults, while a round trip is £12 if you book at the ticket offices. The prices are reduced by about £1 to £2 for online bookings. Ticket prices for children between 5 and 15 years old are around £3 (one-way) and £6 (round trip), and children younger than 5 years can enjoy a free ride.
Tip: Opt for a bundle ticket if you want to experience spectacular views from above and cruise across the River Thames. This includes a ride in the Emirates Air Line cable car and aboard a Thames Clipper boat.
Opening Times | Monday to Friday: 08:00 to 20:00.
If you’re searching for fun Greenwich things to do, you’ll find an array of activities at this entertainment hub. The O2 offers a number of events and experiences for solo travellers, couples, families, and groups of friends.
There are several restaurants and bars to refuel after shopping at the Icon Outlet. If you’re visiting with kids or consider yourself young at heart, the trampoline park and bowling alley await.
The O2 hosts notable sporting events, attracting thousands of fans to the arena. The venue is also used for some of the most famous stars’ concerts. Artists and groups that will be performing in this iconic venue or have done so in the past include Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and plenty more.
Whether you’re visiting to sing along to your favourite star, attend a UFC Fight Night, or treat the kids to a Disney on Ice show, the O2 has something for everyone.
If you’re an adventure enthusiast, you can book a ticket to climb over the iconic O2 roof and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.
Opening Times | Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 23:00.
Address | Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Calling all history buffs and art enthusiasts, the Queen’s House is a regal Greenwich attraction that’s worth a visit.
This former royal residence is nestled behind Old Royal Naval College and is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich. From the building, you’ll have stunning views of the River Thames and college grounds.
The Queen’s House was constructed between 1616 and 1635. The house was built for King James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark. However, she passed away before it was completed. It was then given to King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria.
Celebrated architect Inigo Jones designed the Queen’s House, and the red-brick Tudor style building boasts elegant furnishings and designs. Today, you can immerse yourself in stunning artwork and learn about what royal life was like in the past.
You’ll come across a remarkable art collection, including works by Reynolds, Turner, and Gainsborough, to name a few. There are both historical treasures and contemporary art. Some of the artwork dates back to around 1673.
After admiring the beautiful paintings, make your way to the Tulip Stairs. This picturesque staircase is a sight to behold, and you’ll definitely want to snap a shot for your Instagram feed.
If you want to take in your surroundings from a different perspective, a cruise along the glistening River Thames is a superb option. You can take a one-way or return sightseeing cruise from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier (or vice versa).
On the cruise, you’ll see some of London’s top landmarks, including the famous Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, The Shard, and Tate Modern. For the best viewing spot, head to the open deck.
A one-way journey lasts around one hour, so you’ll have enough time to soak in the stunning sights and learn more about the iconic monuments. There is a live English-speaking tour guide and an audio guide available in Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Italian.
If you choose to travel from Greenwich, you’ll have plenty of exciting things to do in Westminster for a fun day out.
Delight your senses with a yummy plate of sushi at this Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Market. The restaurant highlights both local history and Japanese and Scandinavian traditions in their designs and cooking methods.
Sticks’n’Sushi Greenwich serves a delicious selection of dishes, including sushi platters, salads, grilled yakitori sticks, vegetarian meals, sweet treats, and more. So if you’re craving a creative meal, dine at this charming spot or pop in to collect your takeaway to enjoy at home.
Sticks’n’Sushi has several branches around London. You’ll also find them in Covent Garden, Soho, King’s Garden, Canary Wharf, Wimbledon, and Victoria Road.
Opening Times | Sunday to Thursday: 12:00 to 22:00; Friday and Saturday: 12:00 to 23:00.
Address | 1 Nelson Rd, London SE10 9JB
Goddards at Greenwich serves delicious, comforting food that’s perfect for those chilly days in London. This family-run pie shop was established in 1890 and continues to provide mouthwatering pies, mash, and liquor.
Goddard’s pies are handmade, and the trusted family recipes have been used for generations. The freshly baked pies are made with locally sourced ingredients and served with a smile.
Choose from a variety of traditional beef, British steak, or chicken pies. And you can add a generous serving of mashed potato and gravy for an extra filling meal.
There are also vegetarian and vegan pies available. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, tuck into a handmade fruit pie, bread and butter pudding, or a sticky toffee pudding.
Opening Times | Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 to 19:30; Friday and Saturday: 10:00 to 20:00.
Address | 22 King William Walk, London SE10 9HU
Greenwich is filled to the brim with places to experience its rich history and beautiful artwork. If you’re an art lover, be sure to visit the NOW Gallery to see some of the best contemporary exhibitions.
The NOW Gallery is a free public exhibition space that features changing exhibits of art, design, photography, and fashion. The gallery showcases the creativity and diverse art in a modern setting. Although the gallery is a bit small, it doesn’t feel too crowded.
You’ll come across a number of unique pieces, some highlighting the past while others focus on the present or future. You can wander around and admire the artwork or channel your artistic side in a fun workshop.
The gallery hosts several events, including live music, talks, workshops, and performances. While you can enjoy free entry to the gallery, some of the special events may require a fee.
Opening Times | Tuesday to Friday: 10:00 to 19:00; Saturday: 10:00 to 17:00; Sunday: 11:00 to 16:00. The gallery is closed on Mondays.
Address | The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Soames Walk, London SE10 0SQ
When it comes to enjoyable things to do, Greenwich Theatre has several performances to enjoy. It provides a year-round programme of delightful performances that are perfect for a solo trip, afternoon date, or a family outing.
Here you can enjoy music, drama, pantomime, and family shows. After stopping by, there are several restaurants and shops in close proximity, and Greenwich Park is just a short stroll away.
Tip: If you have a Greenwich one card, you can enjoy discounts and perks at several businesses, including the Greenwich Theatre and The O2.
Opening Times | Monday to Saturday: 13:00 to 18:00. The theatre is closed on Sundays.
Address | Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES
How To Travel to Greenwich London
Before we jump into the fun activities for your Greenwich day out, you’ll want to know the best ways to get there.
The easiest way to get to Greenwich from central London is via the DLR from Canary Wharf to the Cutty Sark. Or the overground train from London Bridge to Greenwich station, taking around 15 minutes.
Note: If you’re travelling from Canary Wharf to Greenwich, the 9 minute train ride would cost around £1 to £6, while a 7 minute bus ride offers a cheaper journey at around £2.
However, if you want to travel in style and get to see some of London’s most iconic sights like the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern. Then I’d recommend taking the Thames Clippers, where you’ll enjoy a 35-minute cruise from London Eye down the Thames to Greenwich Pier.
You can use your Oyster card or London day pass on the Thames Clippers.
Tip: If you are visiting Central London, then you should also visit Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, one of London’s most beautiful and hidden gems.
A weekend getaway or Greenwich tour from London would be incomplete without visiting at least one of the above destinations. So I would suggest choosing the sights and activities that pique your interest the most.
However, if you only have 24 hours in London, be sure to visit the Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, and the Royal Observatory. And as you might have gathered from this guide, these are just a few of the top attractions that are worth exploring.
I would also recommend that you visit Greenwich early in the day to avoid the major Chinese tour bus that descends upon the area by 11:00.
I hope this guide on the best things to do in Greenwich helps you explore south-east London. After you’ve enjoyed delightful experiences in this royal borough, why not take a trip from Greenwich to Canary Wharf, located just a short drive away.
For more travel inspiration, you may also like this article about my day trip to Oxford.