In addition to our day-excursion to Portsmouth and Isle of Wight, we also spent a day of our London vacation in nearby Greenwich. It seemed natural for us to take time for this visit, not just because of the name and origins of my blog concept, but because, well after all, Greenwich is where time began.
Our London Holiday, March 31-through-April 9, 2013:
1. British Airways LAX-LHR
2. The Waldorf Hilton, London
3. Covent Garden Neighborhood
4. London Transport Museum
5. Day Out in London – Traditional Landmarks
6. Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens, and Green Park/Buckingham Palace
7. Muggles and Magicians: The Harry Potter Experience
8. Family Remembrance and Celebration: Brookwood Cemetery and The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre
9. Day-Trip Out of London: Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, UK
10. Where Time Began: Greenwich, UK TODAY’S POST
11. Tower of London
12. London’s Shopping Shrines: Hamleys Toys and Harrods
To get to Greenwich from London’s Covent Garden, we took Bus 15 from Aldwych and got off at Limehouse, where we could connect to the Docklands Light Rail (DLR). The DLR is part of Transport for London‘s rail system, yet different from the Underground and Overground. We continued to Greenwich from the Limehouse DLR station, and we concluded our commute at the Greenwich-Cutty Sark DLR station and from there walked easily to the sites mentioned in this post.
While we didn’t get to the tall ships or other boats docked in Portsmouth, we did climb aboard one of the better known of the tall ships in maritime history while in Greenwich: Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark is a beautifully restored clipper ship from the mid-1800s. Yes, the ship docked in Greenwich is the original vessel, copper-and-wood construction hull and all. While she endured a pretty bad fire in 2007, she’s been cleaned up and re-restored, and she recently reopened to the public in April 2012.
It was a gorgeous day out in Greenwich when we visited. Wait, I don’t need to tell you this, you can see it here for yourselves. There’s really no better place to go take in views over the Thames River than from the top deck of the Cutty Sark. There’s also a lot for the kids to do here also, especially if your kids like ropes (plenty of ropes).
Below deck there’s plenty for kids to do as well, and that’s not because the deck is called the “tween” deck; that’s just the name of the deck “in between” top deck and lower deck. But the tween deck is where we found a lot of activities for T (and all children aged toddler-to-tween) to put all hands on deck. There were trivia games, puzzles, crew member role-playing stations, and even some modern video games pitting junior captains against one another to see who could steer and dock the Cutty Sark into London’s first. While the ship is steeped in history (it did carry mainly tea after all… heh, get it, steeped?! OK, sorry) and is a sight to see and tour for anyone who enjoys maritime history, the Cutty Sark does a fantastic job recruiting kids for its crew, too.
After leaving the Cutty Sark, we wandered through a part of the University of Greenwich and over into Greenwich Park, part of London’s Royal Parks and home to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. While we didn’t get inside the Maritime Museum this visit (the largest museum of its genre in the world, by the way), we did get up to the Observatory. And when I say up, I mean up… on a hill. Where else would one find an observatory after all?!
The Royal Observatory’s main draw is that it’s the official home of the Prime Meridian. I know, I know, the Prime Meridian runs north-to-south pole-to-pole so it has many homes along the line, but the “discovery” of the Prime Meridian actually happened at the Royal Observatory. That’s in quotes because unlike the Equator, the Prime Meridian is pretty much an arbitrarily chosen line, or a declaration-it-is-so type of discovery. At any rate, because of its storied connection to the Observatory, this is where many come to visit it… and take many pictures. Fair warning: Do be prepared to pay entrance to the Observatory and to queue for a few (several) minutes to get those photos (you can check out information on entrance fees, including a combo ticket to all the Royal Museums Greenwich, here).
We enjoyed our day in Greenwich very much. This was one of C’s choices as far as sightseeing days, and it was a great pick. There was plenty to keep T and the both of us entertained and educated. And it was gorgeous (those views!). I can only imagine how lovely this park and town is in later spring and summer. But never mind imagining… I think we’ll just have to make the time to return to Greenwich and see it again for ourselves.
RMT’ers, what type of sight have you made time to see while on vacation that you’d planned to be more educational than entertaining, but wound up being both?