Thursday, May 1, 2014

Taking to the water with your family visiting the Old Royal Naval College

Tips for visiting the Discover Greenwich Visitor Center and ORNC

By Mark Fitzgerald
Discover Greenwich Visitor Center by Visit Greenwich on Flickr.  Used through creative commons.
Discover Greenwich Visitor Center
My original thought in visiting Greenwich was solely thinking about the Prime Meridian.  Greenwich is a London Borough and has a collection of wonderful places to visit including the National Maritime Museum, the Greenwich Market and the Old Royal Naval College.

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) looks and feels like a college campus with old buildings and grassy quads.  It was built originally as a royal residence, but never used as one.  These facilities were transformed to house Naval Pensioners or retirees, similar to Chelsea for the army.  The remodel was done by Christopher Wren and in my opinion looks very similar to St. Pauls Cathedral.

Though its main attractions are the Painted Hall and the Chapel, start in the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre.  There are hands on activities for all agents and exhibits to help situation where you are at.  The visitors center is on the west end of the campus and closest to most transportation stops.  From the Discovery Center head east along the water front.

Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) by olebrat on Flickr.  Used through creative commons.
Old Royal Naval College (ORNC)
Of the four buildings on the quad the Painted Hall is the one on the south west.  It was originally the dining room and is a sight to impress visitors.  The ceiling is painted to tell the story of how King William III had liberated Europe from King Louis XIV.  The chapel is across the way in the south east building and depicts the Biblical story of Paul shipwrecked on the Isle of Malta.

Your family can find bathrooms in the Discover Greenwich visitor's center.  As these facilities are also used by the University of Greenwich you may also find bathrooms in other locations, such as the Queen Mary undercroft.  There is no wifi in the public areas.

There are several options in getting your family to Greenwich.  The first option is to talk a boat and arrive at the Greenwich Pier.  This will take you about an hour from Embankment.  Another option is to take the Dockland Light Rail from Tower Hill to Cutty Sark or bus route 188. If you are feeling adventurous you can ride a bike to Cubitt Town and walk under the river through the Greenwich foot tunnel.

A quick overview of the Old Royal Naval College can be seen on YouTube by Greenwich in London:

Map of ORNC and Discover Greenwich

Floor Plan of Old Royal Naval College

Going on a family vacation builds memories, provides life changing experiences and helps teach about the world we live in. Take time to explore, enjoy and have fun. If the Discover Greenwich Visitor Center and ORNC sounded interesting, you may also like the Banqueting House. You can also look at our entire list of London Attractions.

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