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||Contact:|
|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|
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Absolutely blew me into space...I cannot believe I only made my first visit at the start of the year. The Astronomy Photography is magical and the shows are beyond breathtaking, presented by a live astronomer, who guides you through outer space. For well under £15 this deserves to be on every Londoners list of 'Places to visit'.