Greenwich is a great place to take a day trip where you’ll feel like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. A great place to visit with kids, start the morning of a 1-day itinerary with a visit to Cutty Sark, a walk through Greenwich Park and entrance to the Royal Observatory. After having lunch in Greenwich market, spend the rest of the day exploring one of the outstanding UNESCO museums and end a visit with a ride along the Emirates Cable Car.
Getting to and from Greenwich:
There are a few really interesting ways to travel to Greenwich on a day trip from Central London. We suggest starting the day by taking the Thames Clipper Service to Greenwich. Thames Clipper is London’s river bus service (there are 16 ports including from Westminster, Embankment, Waterloo tube station). You can pay using your London oyster card and can see more about routes and prices here.
On arrival at Greenwich Pier, head straight to Cutty Sark which was once the fastest ship in the world and a legendary sailing vessel. This is a great attraction for all ages and a lot of effort has been made to make it engaging for kids. You’ll start the visit on Cutty Sark’s lower deck and get a taste for what life was like onboard. There are lots of interactive displays telling you the history of the cargo, its crew members and stories about famous voyages. From here, climb up to the upper deck, where there are beautiful views over the River Thames from the front of the ship, and you can also view the living quarters and impressive masts.
Top tip: There’s normally a queue at the entrance to Cutty Sark to buy tickets. To save time and avoid the queues, you can actually buy entrance tickets in the tourist information centre which is located opposite Cutty Sark.
Greenwich Park, overlooking City of London
From Cutty Sark, head along William Walk and into Greenwich Park. This is a popular place for Londoners to go and chill out on the weekend and is perfect to walk through along the footpath to the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
After quite a steep climb to reach the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn around and admire the incredible sweeping views over the City of London. This is probably the best view you’ll find overlooking the City and on a clear day, you can see for miles into the distance. The Royal Observatory is the location of the Prime Meridian where East meets West. Enter inside the Royal Observatory, where a multilanguage audio guide explains the development and history of timekeeping. On display are some beautiful instruments that mark the earliest experiments of timekeeping. In Flamsteed House, you’ll find the Octogan room designed by Sir Christopher Wren and outside is the official point marking the Meridian Line.
Greenwich market is the perfect place to have lunch and is situated a 10-minute walk back down the hill from the Royal Observatory. This is a very multicultural market, and you’ll find stalls serving food from all over the world, along with stalls selling artwork, jewelry and more. It’s one of the most diverse and interesting markets you’ll find in London and definitely worth including in your Greenwich day trip itinerary.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Plan the afternoon part of a Greenwich day trip itinerary at one of its two great museums, which both offer free entrance:
- The National Maritime Museum is great if you want to learn more about Britain’s rich naval history.
- The Queen’s House houses an excellent art gallery inside an architecturally significant building
Emirates cable car:
A great way to end a day trip to Greenwich is to take the cable car from Greenwich peninsula (by the 02 center), which will transport you over to the other side of the river. You’ll need to take a bus (10 minutes) to reach the starting point, and you can use your Oyster card to pay for the journey. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the London skyline as you ride high above the River Thames.
You’ll disembark on the other side of the river just a 5-minute walk to Royal Victoria tube station which goes to Bank tube station.