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It’s your last chance to see the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ up close

By Charley Ross

Want to take a tour of Britain’s very own Sistine Chapel? Yes, that’s a thing. Forget the Vatican City for a minute, and head on down to the Old Royal Naval College’s Painted Hall in Greenwich for a once-in-a‑lifetime ceiling tour.

And we’re not being hyperbolic with that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trope we just threw your way. Thanks to temporary scaffolding that’s being used for conservation work, you can currently climb up 60 feet closer to the ceiling artwork. But the conservation work only happens once every 100 years – with this century’s efforts ending on Sunday September 30.

So unless you have a cryogenic freezer in your basement, this’ll be your last chance to get up close and personal with the many mythological and allegorical figures that make up Sir James Thornhill’s paintings, as well as portraits of monarchs such as William III and Mary II.

When a rare London opportunity like this one comes around, you really should rise to the occasion.

Old Royal Naval College. Cutty Sark DLR. Tours run until Sep 30. £10.

Can’t make it before Sep 30? Find art in London that won’t keep you waiting for a century 

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