On our first day staying in London together last year, My Beloved Brit and I decided to explore Greenwich where the Naval College, The Observatory, The National Maritime Museum and the Meridian Line are.
Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, attended a breakfast reception there this morning at the National Maritime Museum to meet a number of people supporting the bid to launch a British team in the America’s Cup. I thought this made it an appropriate time to revisit our visit to this incredible site.
Walking down the street towards the Thames, we saw the masts of the Cutty Sark rising above the shoreline.
We bypassed the ship tour and headed over to The Old Royal Naval College. Very impressive. It is across the Thames from London and Canary Wharf.
We went through the chapel on the grounds of the college, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The chapel is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, both of whom have connections to the sea. The chapel is filled with naval symbols.
Then walked through the portico…
…to the Painted Hall. Incredibly beautiful. It is often described as the finest dining hall in Europe, and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. It was originally intended for the naval veterans who lived here at the Royal Hospital for Seamen, but was later used for the National Gallery of Naval Art. As of 1939, it was used for dining by the officers of the Royal Naval College, and many grand banquets. The paintings by Sir James Thornhill pay tribute to British maritime power.
Lord Nelson was very attached to the College, and you can see references to him everywhere.
We cut back through the edge of Greenwich to head over to the Maritime Museum.
I knew this was something My Beloved Brit would love. The whole complex at Greenwich Park was wonderful.
The entrance just screamed boating, naval tradition, and the sea.
When we saw this information, we knew it was going to be a good morning.
We spent time looking at exhibits on Nelson, arctic convoys during WWII, and all sorts of seafaring memorabilia and displays.
After a time, we went outside and sat down trying to decide whether or not to hike the hill to the Royal Observatory and the Meridian Line.
The views were worth the climb.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World–Longitude 0. On one side is the Eastern Hemisphere, and on the other the West, just as the equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres. Every place on earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from the Greenwich Meridian. The Observatory is also home to London’s only planetarium, the Harrison timekeepers and the UK’s largest refracting telescope.
After a full morning we decided to head back to London on the Thames by boat.
It was about a forty-five minute ride back to the Embankment in London Center.
What a great morning. The weather was gorgeous, the company entertaining…it couldn’t have been a better day. After a trip on The Underground back to our room, we decided it was a full day. And a wonderful one.
Our biggest challenge of the late afternoon was to decide where to eat. I love London.