Address: College Way, London SE10, UK


Time: 10.00 to 5.00pm, grounds from 8.00am

Time Information:

Phone: 0208 269 4799

Entry Price: Free

500m from Maze Hill

300m from Cutty Sark

Known as the Old Naval College, this grand estate was built by Sir Christopher Wren as Greenwich Hospital and is now part of a World Heritage Site that includes the nearby Royal Observatory (on the hill above), Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum and Greenwich Park.

It was built between 1694-1712 and was the idea of Queen Anne as a facility for injured sailors in the way that Chelsea Hospital was for soldiers. The hospital closed in 1869 and it became a naval college from 1873-1998. It’s run by the Greenwich Foundation.

Whilst it is architecturally spectacular and has been used in wonderful ways, the glory years of the site go back a lot further. This was the site of Greenwich Palace or the Palace of Placentia as it was known. It was originally built by the Duke of Gloucester in 1427 and extended by Henry VII. It was the birthplace of future monarchs Henry VIII (1491), Mary I (1516) and Elizabeth I (1533) and was a favourite residence of Henry VIII. The palace eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1694.

Wren’s building was to have been a continuous three sided structure but, as it would have impaired the view of the Thames from the Queen’s House, it was split into two parts.

The site is famous for the body of Lord Nelson lying in state, in 1806, before being taken up the Thames to St Paul’s. The room is now called the Nelson Room. In 1967, after sailing around the world, Sir Francis Chichester was knighted on the steps by the Queen. It is now used by the University of Greenwich, whilst Trinity College of Music have the King Charles wing.

As expected, it’s a Grade I listed building and has a Visitor Centre. It gives free entry to the public and is one of the most easterly landmarks in central London.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.