Old Royal Naval College

Attractions, Sightseeing Greenwich Free
5 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
Nick Ballon Old Royal Naval College

The buildings of Greenwich Hospital, designed by John Webb, Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor and for more than 100 years home to the Royal Naval College, are being restored to house Greenwich University, Trinity College of Music and a new Maritime Institute. Following the restoration of the seventeenth-century Painted Hall, a tribute to William and Mary that took Sir James Thornhill 19 years to complete, and the rococo Chapel, where free organ recitals are held, both are open to the public. The Discover Greenwich visitor Centre is also on the site of the Old Royal Naval College (open daily 10am-5pm; adm free).


Venue name: Old Royal Naval College
Address: King William Walk
SE10 9NN
Transport: Rail: Greenwich rail/Cutty Sark DLR
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Royal Naval College after being partially closed for a long period, is eventually open to the public with free admission. Great architecture building that houses the Greenwich University but at the same time, the public can visit the grand hall with an excibition regarding the history of the building and Greenwich area as well as visit the 17th century Painted Hall. If you visit the area, a nice stop to spend an hour here.


Right by the Thames, just underneath Greenwich Park and the observatory, this magnificent building is something not to be missed. Admission is free, so don’t hesitate to come and have a look around, especially as the views on the river and the park are breath taking. Beautifully designed, it hides two outstanding rooms: the chapel and the painted hall – still for free. One displaying a stunningly carved ceiling, the other filled with intricate paintings (Look for the peculiar two-tailed mermaids and mermen at the end of the hall, strange!).


I recently visited towards the end of the Summer, and managed to catch a free 30 min walking tour. It was so informative, so I would definitely recommend planning a visit around this if possible. The highlights of the tour were learning fun and interesting facts about the previous uses of the college and the architectures, and visiting the 'painted hall' at the end. It was so grand and although it will be partially closed to the public over the coming months for a huge restoration project - we were told it will soon be open so visitors can actually see how the restoration takes place, which is certainly a unique opportunity!

I come here every year around 10 November for the Early Music Festival. The 'painted hall' is taken over by exhibitors displaying (and playing) everything from shawms to harpsichords. Amazing atmosphere, and beautiful buildings, all overlooking the Thames. And Greenwich itself is so vibrant and colourful, with so much to interest. Not to be missed.

I love walking through here - when it a Naval College it was closed to the public, but now the building is shared by Trinity/Laban Music College and Greenwich University. Great to hear the students practising as you walk by. Wonderful architecture (Sir Christoher Wren) and river views.

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