London – Maritime Greenwich

Maritime Greenwich
1. The National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum decribes the story of seagoing passengers, the ships they traveled in and the hazardous or luxurious journeys they made; the huge influence of British naval power and seafaring trade on the establishment and growth of the British Empire; and individuals and the parts they played in the overall story of exploration, conflict and adventure. You can see the uniform worn by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, and kids can get interactive in “Hands On,” firing canons, loading cargo, and operating radio transmitters.

2. Greenwich Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory was established by King Charles II in 1675. who granted the task of finding an astronomical method of calculating the longitude of a ship at sea to the first Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed. As a result, the world now sets its clocks to Greenwich Meant Time (GMT). The Chronometer Gallery displays a selection of timepieces, and describes some of the struggles their inventors underwent. The Prime Meridian, or zero degrees longitude, is marked in the ground by a brass strip running through the observatory’s cobbled courtyard.

3. The Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College has been a place much enjoyed and admired since it was established by Royal Charter in 1694 for the relief and support of seamen and their dependents. Sir Christopher Wren planned the site and during the first half of the eighteenth century various illustrious architects, such as Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart completed the design. The painted Hall is decorated with stunning ceiling paintings by James Thornhill and is probably the finest dining room in the western world!

4. Ranger’s House
Ranger’s House stands on the borders of Greenwich Park, and the Meridian Line passes through its grounds. Today it houses the Wernher Collection – an astounding display of medieval and Renaissance works of art. Built in 1723 the house became the official residence of the ‘Ranger of Greenwich Park’ after 1815, when the post was held by Princess Sophia Matilda, niece of George III. Nearly 700 works of art are on display, including early religious paintings and Dutch Old Masters, minute carved Gothic ivories, fine Renaissance bronzes and silver treasures.

5. The Fan Museum
The Fan Museum is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to every aspect of fans and fan making. and is home to a collection of more than 3,500 predominantly antique fans from around the world dating from the 11th century to the present day. Its collection and fans on loan from other collections are displayed in changing themed exhibitions in which fans are presented in their historical, sociological and economic contexts.

6. The Queen’s House
The Queen’s House, Greenwich, was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I who reigned from 1603–25. Traditionally he is said to have given the manor of Greenwich to Anne in apology for having sworn at her in public, after she accidentally shot one of his favourite dogs while hunting in 1614. Learn about Britain’s largest school of seamanship and navigation, which was based here from 1821 to 1933, and see over 200 of the museums finest paintings.

7. Thames river taxi
What better way to celebrate London’s trading and naval links with the world than by taking a journey along it’s main artery – the River Thames. There are a variety of boat companies offering a shuttle service between Greenwich and Westminster. Perhaps the best ones are those offering a laconic verbal commentary on famous sights and landmarks, such as the wharf where Judge Jeffries used to chain pirates to the wall, and then watch them drown from a pub on the opposite bank of the river as the tide came in.

8. Walk under the the Thames via the Pedestrian Walkway
Take a leisurely walk under the river Thames via the Victorian pedestrian walkway. Started in 1825, the world’s first underwater tunnel was opened to the public in 1843, and is still in use today. It was originally designed to provide for carriages to be driven through its length and to house a walkway for pedestrians, including shops and exhibitions. The small dome like entrance is near the site of The Cutty Sark in front of the Old Naval College.

9. Greenwich Market
Greenwich Market is probably London’s best source for arts and crafts, hand crafted items, different art work, unique gifts, crafting trends, fashion designs, and rare antiques and collectibles, with a wide range of over 120 stalls. Products include jewelery, tableware, sculpture and photography.

10. The Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark is the last of the great Tea Clippers that broke world record journey times between China and Australia in the 1880’s, grabbing the imagination of the world’s media and fuelling competition with other ships. Due to a major fire in 2007, the Cutty Sark unfortunately suffered severe damage. Fortunately however, the structure remained intact, and a previous restoration project which began in 2006 has been able to continue, although now scheduled for completion in 2011.

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