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A day in Greenwich

Ride the Tube to Greenwich

It only takes a ride on the Jubilee line to get a world away from London to the village of Greenwich, whose Mean Time sets the world's clocks and whose Prime Meridian divides the Earth into East and West hemispheres.

The original clipper ship Cutty Sark sits moored by the ferry dock, unintentionally the world's biggest liquor ad (under wraps for restoration until spring 2012;, while nearby sits the Gipsy Moth IV, the yacht in which Sir Francis Chicester completed the first solo round-the-world in 1966-67.

You do have to fork over admission to get into the Cutty Sark, but admission to the other major sights is free. This includes the Royal Observatory, where they keep the famous clock and the Meridian line—well, the marker for it, which everyone straddles for a photo-op—along with historic scientific devices, including the four clocks made famous by the book Longitude. » more

It's also free to wander the collections in the National Maritime Museum and see the coat in which Nelson was shot, bullet hole and all, along with some fantastically beautiful old astrolabes and an indescribably cool interactive display on the Battle of Trafalgar. » more

Nearby spreads the Royal Naval College, a vast Christopher Wren building of 1696 (Nelson's body lay in state in Thornhill's impressive Painted Hall), which is only open 2:30 to 4:45pm.

Shagged out from sightseeing, you can sun yourself, play frisbee, or just plain nap on the vast sloping park below the observatory, full of grassy lawns and spreading shade trees.

The village of Greenwich itself is fun to wander and filled with some great pubs, though it's a trot down the Thames-side promenade to the best of them, the rambling, 150-year-old Trafalgar Tavern with a small terrace overlooking the wide river and tall seats inside set against the bay windows (Dickens set the wedding feast in Our Mutual Friend here). (020-8858-2909;


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in May 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.