Greenwich: Where Time Begins

4.8 out of 5 stars


46 mins

2.1 km

By Brian Cookson

Greenwich is where time begins. Since the international conference of 1884, Greenwich Mean Time has been the standard from which all the world's times are worked out. When you reach the Royal Observatory, you can stand astride the meridian line that divides the eastern and western hemispheres. The town is steeped in maritime history. Here you will see the Cutty Sark, champion of the tall clippers that sailed with tea from China and wool from Australia. The Royal Naval Hospital, later the Royal Naval College, was built in the seventeenth century by several of Britain's most distinguished architects and can be visited without charge. Entry to the Queen's House, Royal Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory is also free. In fact, it is best to set aside at least a whole day to do justice to Greenwich, starting with this walk to whet your appetite.

11 stops

46 mins

2.1 km



River Thames

Cutty Sark

Island Gardens

Thames Footpath

Royal Observatory

Royal Museums

Maritime Museum

Royal Naval College

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Greenwich University

  • 1
    Island Gardens
    Island Gardens is a DLR station and public park with a view to Greenwich’s most striking buildings.
  • 2
    Island Gardens View of Greenwich
    A view across the river to the former Greenwich Hospital and the National Maritime Museum.
  • 3
    Cutty Sark
    One of the last tea clippers to be built (1869), before sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion.
  • 4
    Royal Naval Hospital
    A permanent home for retired sailors of the Royal Navy, which operated from 1692 to 1869. 
  • 5
    Painted Hall
    Painted between 1707 and 1726, the Painted Hall is Britain’s largest painted ceiling.
  • 6
    Royal Naval College Chapel
    The "finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles.”
  • 7
    Trafalgar Tavern
    The Trafalgar Tavern is a Grade II listed public house, familiar to novelist Charles Dickens.
  • 8
    Old Anchors and Queen’s House View
    A row of historic anchors with plaques explain the date and type of ship which used each anchor.
  • 9
    Queen’s House
    A former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I.
  • 10
    Royal Observatory
    The Royal Observatory played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation.
  • 11
    General Wolfe Statue
    Built in 1930, the statue commemorates Wolfe's victory against the French at Quebec. Stunning views.


4.8 out of 5 stars
6 reviews
Mara Schusterman
02 Nov 2022
5 out of 5 stars

He was very informative.

Gareth Tucker
5 out of 5 stars

Sari Nastiti
28 Jun 2021
5 out of 5 stars

Joan Harmer
20 Aug 2019
5 out of 5 stars

Useful to be able to use parts of this excellent commentary when starting from different part of Greenwichl

Kieran Douglas
07 Jul 2019
4 out of 5 stars

Chen Segal
5 out of 5 stars

Conor Kelly
09 Oct 2018
5 out of 5 stars

Another amazing tour from Brian. Insightful immersive stories of Greenwich combined with breathtaking views of London!

Veronica Lilevman
14 Sep 2018
5 out of 5 stars

Have visited Greenwich many times before but have discovered so much new information this tome with your tour. Thank you! Especially liked the walk under the Thames and visiting the Greenwich university. Highly recommend!

Shrewsbury Abbey
27 Aug 2018
5 out of 5 stars

Greenwich: Where Time Begins

4.8 out of 5 stars