One in all my favorite elements of London, it’s straightforward to spend a day exploring Greenwich with children – in truth, with some improbable family-friendly points of interest and its pretty setting on the Thames, you possibly can very simply spend loads longer.
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Until you’re based mostly in Greenwich itself or the Greenwich Peninsula, one of the best ways to reach is by boat – in any other case Cutty Sark DLR station is the closest – and method from the water, as so many individuals have finished over the centuries.
And together with exploring the museums and different points of interest, it’s a beautiful place to wander, whether or not that’s alongside the riverside or in Greenwich’s inexperienced areas. To start out you off, listed here are my 13 high issues to do in Greenwich with children.
Go to the Cutty Sark
One of many first stuff you see as you step off the boat at Greenwich pier or out of Cutty Sark DLR, a go to to the historic clipper ship is among the finest issues to do in Greenwich for teenagers.
There are kids’s trails to observe however even with out these, you possibly can wander by means of the ship peeking inside cabins, discovering the cargo she carried, plus numerous interactive shows together with an opportunity to strive your individual hand at crusing a digital ship (tougher than it seems to be!)
Better of all, you possibly can discover proper from the copper-bottomed hull of the Cutty Sark ship to the deck (be careful for the carved monkey). Maintain an eye fixed out and also you usually can meet vibrant characters who would have as soon as frolicked aboard, particularly at weekends and through faculty holidays.
Learn what we considered visiting the Cutty Sark with a preschooler.
Jump over the meridian line
One factor everybody is aware of about Greenwich is its affiliation with time – it’s right here you discover the prime meridian line used to calculate GMT.
However there’s much more to it than that: the prime meridian is the start line to measure each place on earth by its angle east or west from this level.
For older children, it’s a good way to convey among the science to life, and nonetheless outdated you’re, there’s one thing enjoyable about standing with one foot both facet.
The meridian line runs throughout the courtyard of the Royal Observatory however you may as well see a part of it outdoors the principle constructing at no cost.
Head to the massive Shepherd clock with indicators about measures and the time ball (all value studying in themselves), then by means of the black gate across the nook, the road stretches throughout a small alleyway.
The Royal Observatory
Set on high of the hill, the Royal Observatory comprises London’s solely planetarium in addition to the Astronomy Centre, Flamsteed Home (named after the primary Astronomer Royal) and the Meridian Courtyard.
It’s additionally dwelling to the time ball: the crimson ball on the jap turret drops day-after-day at 1pm as a sign to boats on the Thames of the exact time.
That is someplace for older children, who’ll be extra within the tales of the clocks that modified the world – John Harrison’s clocks, which enabled sailors to find out longitude – in addition to the telescopes and tales of the calculating the meridian.
The Planetarium has some nice reveals aimed toward completely different ages too (together with digital reveals on-line and Q&As with the astronomers throughout lockdown). Tickets for the Peter Harrison Planetarium reveals are restricted should be prebooked, or you possibly can ebook entry to the Observatory individually, in addition to mixed Royal Museums Greenwich tickets for the Cutty Sark and Queen’s Home as nicely.
Greenwich Park stretches for 183 acres so there’s loads of room to run round and let off steam, plus it’s straightforward to mix with a go to to a museum – it’s solely round 5 minutes stroll from the Cutty Sark alongside King William Stroll, proper subsequent to the Nationwide Maritime Museum and homes the Royal Observatory.
The oldest enclosed royal park can also be dwelling to top-of-the-line views in London. Head to the hill the place the Royal Observatory is about and you may gaze down throughout the Royal Naval school and the Thames, and out to the London Docklands.
Or you possibly can merely wander spherical and benefit from the flowers: London’s longest herbaceous border, a rose backyard, herb backyard and the Queen’s orchard are all inside the park.
Head to the south-east of the park and you may even spot deer within the Wilderness as nicely, or from Easter to October, there’s boating on the lake close to the Queen’s Home.
When you’re searching for playgrounds in Greenwich, there’s one within the north-east nook too, with sandpits, swings, slides and climbing frames – or learn on for extra details about The Cove play space.
This new play space by the Nationwide Maritime Museum places different playgrounds within the shade. The Cove is designed to convey kids’s imaginations to life in addition to letting them climb, clamber and play to their coronary heart’s content material.
On the centre is a ship, the Shanty, the place you possibly can take the wheel, hearth the cannon, discover the barrels in addition to climbing as much as the crow’s nest earlier than heading again down the enormous tentacle slide.
Or head contained in the Cutty Shark, climbing its fin and exploring by means of a maze of nets to find a secret den – then slide out by means of its fearsome jaws.
Be careful for the Kraken too, as you slide, leap and climb by means of the creatures seaweed tangles, nets and bridges – one of many enjoyable elements of the playground for youthful guests. There’s no have to ebook and it’s utterly free: there’s additionally a restaurant and bogs contained in the Nationwide Maritime Museum subsequent door.
Nationwide Maritime Museum
The free Nationwide Maritime museum traces Britain’s maritime historical past, with an enchanting assortment that ranges from artworks and maps to mannequin ships and even the coat Nelson was carrying when he died.
Whereas toddlers are more likely to be much less enthralled, there are household trails together with ones for mini mariners and the enormous map proper on the coronary heart of the museum is ideal for any age, in addition to loads of household enjoyable actions aimed toward youthful guests.
And the Ahoy Gallery, is right for beneath sevens; the immersive play area permits you to do all the pieces from stoking the boiler of a steamship to promoting fish within the market, in addition to discovering extra about pirates, polar tales and adventures galore – this does have a small cost at weekends and college holidays and must be prebooked (whereas it’s free on weekdays, it’s unsurprisingly standard so nonetheless value prebooking).
There’s a lot extra to maintain major age kids (and up) entertained too, from tales of journey and piracy in Tudor instances, the challenges of the Polar adventures, and tales of exploring the Pacific.
As there’s free entry, there’s no have to prebook (though you possibly can ebook free tickets on-line to get updates earlier than your go to).
Even in case you don’t go in, it’s value heading down to identify the large ship in a bottle outdoors – Yinka Shonibare’s recreation of Nelson’s Victory – one other of the enjoyable free issues to do in Greenwich with children.
Observe a Treasure Path
I’m a giant fan of those self-guided Treasure Trails to discover with children, and the Greenwich path is not any exception. With American associates visiting, we determined to observe the route by means of Greenwich as a strategy to see all the realm’s highlights whereas nonetheless entertaining our children.
You don’t have to go inside any of the Greenwich museums to search out the clues (though it’s straightforward so as to add visits in alongside the best way), and the path helps you notice among the little particulars on buildings as you wander, strolling from the Cutty Sark down a few of Greenwich’s little alleyways, by means of the park and previous the Royal Observatory, and right down to the river.
One of many longer trails, it lasts round two and a half hours.
There’s at all times one thing enjoyable to find at Greenwich market – together with some nice meals, which makes it a enjoyable and simple place to cease for lunch in Greenwich with children.
You’ll additionally discover quirky souvenirs, together with collectables, jewelry and classic garments, to not point out some good espresso and ice cream to assist gas a stroll round Greenwich.
Reopened in 2019 after intensive restoration, the Painted Corridor on the Outdated Royal Naval School has been referred to as Britain’s reply to the Sistine Chapel – one of many jewels in Greenwich’s crown, serving to make the borough a Unesco World Heritage website.
For adults, you possibly can uncover how the work inform tales of politics, in addition to scientific, cultural and industrial achievements – however for any age, it’s a powerful art work to sit down and stare at.
Or quite, to lie and stare at. There are mirrors dotted strategically round but additionally cushioned benches so you possibly can lie again and soak up the main points.
In any other case you possibly can wander by means of the buildings of the Outdated Royal Naval School, which stands on the location of the outdated Greenwich Palace the place Henry VIII and Elizabeth I had been born, recognizing cannon alongside the best way.
The Painted Corridor is free for youngsters to enter, though they nonetheless want a ticket, which have to be prebooked.
For extra royal locations in London to go to with children, take a look at my choose of the perfect, from palaces to castles and extra
Boat journey to Greenwich
My favorite strategy to arrive in Greenwich, you possibly can cruise on the Thames from central London or select a sightseeing boat for a bit extra background.
Uber Boat (previously Thames Clippers) sails alongside the river from Battersea, with stops at Westminster, Waterloo, Embankment, the South Financial institution and Tower Hill alongside the best way, earlier than heading out through the Docklands to Greenwich.
You should use Oyster playing cards/contactless or purchase tickets utilizing the Uber boat app, and the principle RB1 service travels round each half hour to Greenwich.
Or take a look at the sightseeing cruises from Metropolis Cruises, which have a commentary (stay or recorded) about what you’re seeing alongside the best way.
IFS Cloud cable automobile
When you fancy one other, quite completely different view of London, head over to North Greenwich – you possibly can hop on a ship or bus, in addition to taking a stroll alongside the riverfront (admittedly not probably the most scenic stroll alongside the Thames).
The cable automobile hyperlinks to the Docklands so it’s finest to think about it as an expertise quite than a way of getting from A to B as likelihood is you received’t be exploring the realm round Excel!
However there are some nice views alongside the river, because it rises 90m as much as journey the kilometre throughout to the opposite facet.
When you time your journey for sundown, it’s much more memorable – plus because it’s a part of the Tfl community, fares received’t break the bank. Kids aged 5-15 additionally must pay, however you should use contactless or your Oyster card in addition to reserving household tickets.
The journey lasts round 5 minutes at peak instances, round double that at different instances together with night journeys and cabins arrive round each 30 seconds.
When you ebook a spherical journey, you don’t must get off and stroll spherical to queue for the journey again, though it’ll value barely extra.
Go to the O2
House to a string of eating places, there are additionally common exhibitions on the 02, together with stay performances – to not point out Disney on Ice – on the 02 enviornment.
However one of the uncommon issues to strive on this a part of Greenwich with children, is climbing onto the highest of the constructing at Up on the O2.
Children should be at the very least eight and over 1.2 metres tall (with one grownup to each two children, in the event that they’re aged between eight and 11).
After a security briefing, you get a go well with, boots and harness, and set off to climb up the walkway which leads you 52m above floor – it takes round an hour, and when you begin, there’s no turning again.
With superb views out throughout London – as a lot as 15 miles on a transparent day – it’s improbable for extra adventurous children.
For youthful children, there are some simpler thrills at Oxygen freejumping trampolines, together with toddler periods, in addition to comfortable play, plus TOCA Social immersive soccer expertise and a cinema all inside the O2.
Museum of London Docklands
I’m dishonest barely by together with this in a listing of issues to do in Greenwich with children however when you’re over in south-east London, it’s really easy to go to that it’s value holding in thoughts.
In actual fact, in case you hop on the DLR from Cutty Sark to West India Quay, it takes across the identical time to get to the Museum of London Docklands because it does to get to North Greenwich.
And a go to here’s a enjoyable one to mix with a go to to the Nationwide Maritime Museum – whereas that follows Britain’s historical past on the water worldwide, the Museum of London Docklands traces the story of London’s river and the commerce which constructed up round it.
Beginning in Tudor instances proper by means of to the post-war interval and the constructing of town’s monetary district, the galleries cowl all the pieces from slavery and strikes to interactive shows, corresponding to an opportunity to wander by means of sailortown.
It’s free to enter and there’s no have to prebook tickets, until you’re planning to go to one of many common non permanent exhibitions as nicely. There’s additionally the good Mudlarks kids’s gallery for teenagers aged as much as 8, with 45-minute periods introducing youthful children to among the museum’s tales by means of play and hands-on enjoyable – this does have a £3 value and wishes prebooking although.
Take a look at our go to to the Museum of London Docklands with children, together with the Havering Hoard exhibition
Ice rink on the Queen’s Home
When you’re visiting Greenwich within the run-up to Christmas, this London festive ice rink has been a fantastic addition outdoors the Queen’s Home since 2019.
The one outside ice rink in south London, you possibly can look out to the Thames as you skate, with scorching chocolate and mulled wine to heat up once more afterwards.
For extra particulars of London’s Christmas ice rinks, together with the close by Canary Wharf rink, take a look at this submit.
Locations to remain in Greenwich with children
If you wish to make Greenwich your base for a household vacation in London, there are many family-friendly locations to remain together with inns and self-catering properties.
Take a look at among the family-friendly inns in Greenwich on reserving.com, or for self-catering lodging, I’m a giant fan of the flats from PlumGuide. Every has been individually vetted, you possibly can filter for baby-friendly and family-friendly properties, plus the professionals and cons are laid out clearly.
*First revealed 2020, final up to date 2024*
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Photos: Painted Corridor picture courtesy VisitBritain, Nationwide Maritime Museum facade/Emirates cable automobile/scorching chocolate courtesy Depositphotos, all others copyright MummyTravels