Greenwich in South East London is a lovely place to spend a day or a few hours. I won’t lie to you and tell you that there are loads of things to do in Greenwich because in my experience and in my opinion there are not, however I think the point of going to Greenwich for the day is to slow down a bit rather than tick off lots of sites. Greenwich is only across the water from the busy, high-stressed area of Canary Wharf but it feels a million miles away, like a leafy village where everything is nicely compact, and up on the hill the air is fresh.
If you fancy popping to Greenwich for the day or a few hours I would really recommend it and this is how you can have the perfect day in Greenwich London.
More of my Perfect Day in London Guides:
Getting to Greenwich can feel like a bit of a mission as its main stations are on the DLR line of the tube and unless you’re going to Greenwich or the O2 there’s not that much need to use the DLR. Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich is the best station to go to as it is right in the centre.
If you want a bit of adventure on the way though I would recommend getting the Emirates Air Line which is a cable car going across the River Thames. I went on it at night a few years ago and really enjoyed it, it’s a pretty unique thing to do in London that not many people know or think about! You could take it from Royal Victoria station on the DLR to North Greenwich which is where the O2 is, walk to Canary Wharf or get on the Jubilee line, and the change onto the DLR at Canary Wharf. It is a bit out-of-the-way I admit, but it’s also pretty cool!
Getting to Greenwich by boat is another popular thing to do and is a great way to make a day trip out of visiting Greenwich. Hop on a boat further up the River Thames by the London Eye or even Tower Bridge and sail all the way down the river to Greenwich.
If you want to book a boat trip and/or the Emirates Air Line in advance, have a look into the below options:
If you’re not in London already and need to book train tickets to London, be sure to check out The Train Line. I use them all the time to compare the best train times, journey lengths and prices!
I would make your first stop in Greenwich, Greenwich Market. It’s an indoor market so it’s perfect for the unpredictable British weather, it’s surrounded by independent shops, cafes and pubs, and inside the market hall is an array of stalls selling clothes, homeware, jewellery and best of all, lots of food so it’s the perfect spot for some lunch.
The market definitely has more stalls on the weekend but during the week there are still plenty of food stalls selling all sorts of international cuisine. When I went recently I was really pleased to see how many food stalls were either totally Vegan or selling at least one Vegan option, I was spoiled for choice! I ended up getting a Vegan Burger made with Jackfruit and homemade crisp chips which were amazing from Veganauti and I fully recommend their burgers, Vegan or not.
If it’s a nice day don’t stay in the market hall, head outside towards the Cutty Sark ship as there is lots of seating around there, if possible try to sit on the ledge close to the river over looking Canary Wharf in the distance.
If you read any of the ‘things to do in Greenwich’ posts online they are generally full of museum and building recommendations – Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, the Queens House, Old Royal Navel Collage etc etc, and if you are into these things then they are great places to visit and worth going into however my idea of a fun day out is not going into these kind of places which is why I put off returning to Greenwich for so long.
If you are looking for one slightly cultural thing to do and one place to enter I would recommend Cutty Sark, aka the big ship that you can’t miss. It is actually really interesting to go inside the ship and learn about where this ship has been all around the world as it was once the fastest ship of its time!
It is nice to walk around these buildings though and after eating lunch I would recommend walking around the grounds of the University of Greenwich and taking the buildings in from the outside as they are pretty impressive buildings, before crossing over the main road and heading towards the Queens House. From Queens House you can enter into Greenwich Park.
Greenwich Park is the oldest enclosed Royal Park and the largest single green space in South East London (however I went in the middle of a heat wave we were having in the UK which is why the grass in my photos is dead and not green!).
Your first stop in Greenwich Park should be Royal Observatory viewpoint which is up the hill and although the hill may seem steep towards the end the view is well worth it! Not only can you see the beautiful buildings in Greenwich including the stunning symmetry of the Old Royal Naval College but across the river and in the distance it’s possible to see St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, the O2 arena, the Walkie-Talkie building, The Shard, the Cheese Grater and the Gherkin! Wow, who says you need to pay to see a view of London!?
From here I would head up Blackheath Avenue and before the main road at the end, turn left in search of the deer park. Follow the signs to the deer park to see what you can see and after this you can continue to wander the pathways though Greenwich Park and see the pristine flower gardens that fill the park!
Greenwich Park is also home to Roman Ruins, a boating lake, a cricket pitch, a tea house and so much more. If it’s a nice day remember to pack a picnic blanket so you can relax in one of the many areas and take in the view of the city below. You could easily spend a good few hours in Greenwich Park if you explore it at a chilled pace.
After you’ve explored the park head to one of Greenwich’s many good pubs, they’re especially good if you want a real English pub experience. The Gipsy Moth is in a great location opposite Cutty Sark.
If you need another reason to head to a pub, the very popular Meantime Beer is brewed and made in Greenwich so you really should have a taste of its home brew before you leave.
If you’re really interested in Beer and Meantime Beer you can even book a brewery tour in Greenwich, check out their website here.
Before you leave Greenwich, why not pre-arrange to head back via the O2 and pre-book a climb up the O2, whilst you’re this side of London, you might as well. It looks really fun and is a pretty unique thing to do in Greenwich and in London!
You will need to book this advance and you can look at prices and availability here:
And that should give you a good day out in Greenwich. Remember that this part of London is to be enjoyed at a slow pace, it’s not full of tourist attractions and instead gives a really good local feel which should be appreciated.
If you’re going to visit Greenwich now I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
For More of my Perfect Day in London Guides See: