Royal Observatory

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© National Maritime Museum, London
© National Maritime Museum
© Rob Greig

Royal Observatory

Planetarium © National Maritime Museum
© NASA/JPL-Caltech
© National Maritime Museum London

Overlooking the rest of the Royal Museums Greenwich from the top of the hill, the northern section of this two-halved attraction looks at Greenwich’s connections with time. Few visitors get much past a photo-op straddling the Prime Meridian in the courtyard of Flamsteed House, the observatory built in 1675 on the orders of Charles II. But the building contains the apartments of Sir John Flamsteed and other Astronomers Royal, as well as instruments used in timekeeping since the 14th century. John Harrison’s four timekeepers, used to crack the problem of longitude, are here, while the onion dome houses the country’s largest (28-inch) refracting telescope – it was completed in 1893. The south site houses the Astronomy Centre, home to the Weller Astronomy Galleries (free entry), where you'll find a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, and the Peter Harrison Planetarium, which screens daily and weekend star shows. The 120-seater planetarium’s architecture cleverly reflects its astrological position: the semi-submerged cone tilts at 51.5 degrees, the latitude of Greenwich, pointing to the north star, and its reflective disc is aligned with the celestial equator.

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Venue name: Royal Observatory
Address: Blackheath Avenue
SE10 8XJ
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Transport: Rail: Cutty Sark/Greenwich DLR
Price: Astronomy Centre free. Flamsteed House & Meridian Courtyard: £7, £5.50 concs, £2.50 under-16s, free under-fives, £9.50-£16 family. Planetarium: £6.50, £5.50 concs, £4.50 under-16s, free under-threes, £14.50-£20 family

Pick a date

  • Tue April 21st 2015 - Sun July 19th 2015 Free
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  • Sun May 3rd 2015 - Sun June 7th 2015
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  • Sat May 23rd 2015 - Sun May 31st 2015
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