A Day in London: Exploring Greenwich & Canary Wharf
Taking a break from revision, my parents decided to whisk me off to London for the day. Instead of a day in the city centre, it was decided that we would head out to North Greenwich, where the O2 (old Millennium Dome) is located and continue on our Thames Path trail a few miles inland towards central London.
The start of walk itself was not particularly scenic as it took us past a number of riverside industrial sites, which blocked any path along the riverside, but it certainly gave the impression of London’s less touristy side, much of which is forgotten by locals and visitors alike.
The walk was not too far and we could soon see the masts of the Cutty Sark getting ever closer. Eventually we arrived in Greenwich, once a town in its own right but now considered to be part of London. We were met by the sight of the imposing, yet beautiful Old Naval College, which now houses the University of Greenwich.
Old Naval College
Entering the site through the grand riverside gates, we made our way to the painted chapel which was free to enter and really beautiful inside with incredibly detailed ceilings and lovely..[what?]. We then continued directly opposite to the painted hall and learnt a little about its use. The Painted Hall, often referred to as the ‘finest dining hall in Europe’, was decorated by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, was originally intended to be used as an eating space for the naval veterans who lived within the College.
Painted Chapel, Old Naval College
Painted Hall, Old Naval College
Leaving the College behind us, we continued through the park, slowly making our way up the hill towards the Observatory, whilst enjoying the views down over the Old Naval College and over to Canary Wharf as we went. The final climb was somewhat steep but we made it to the top and the views were certainly worth it, despite being rather murky and grey. At the top of the hill are two more of the city’s museums – the Peter Harrison Planetarium
and the Royal Observatory
, which sits on the Greenwich Meridian at 0 0 0.
We decided that having made the climb up the hill we would head inside the Royal Observatory and have a look around.
In my opinion the admission fee, which was £8 per person, is a bit expensive for what you get in return but it did provide the opportunity for crossing from East to West over the meridian itself. It was certainly an opportunity for a photo!
East Meets West
Eventually we were ready to make our way back down the hill, primarily because it was approaching lunchtime and we were all getting hungry. Once we made it down the steep hill, it was a short walk through the park and from there, just a few minutes walk to the ‘centre’ of Greenwich where we had a number of restaurants to chose from. We settled on a tasty Italian close to the Cutty Sark and enjoyed the period of rest and recuperation before setting off once again.
Whilst there were still a number of things in Greenwich we hadn’t managed to do this time round, we decided we would make our way across the river with the help of the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to the rather more cosmopolitan area around Canary Wharf. Not exactly a tourist destination in itself, but we were all interested in having a look around and a chance to see the world of the banking elite.
Canary Wharf is located on the site of the old West India Docks on the so-called Isle of Dogs in East London and is home to the headquarters of a number of World and European Banks. The West India Docks were once one of the busiest ports in the world, but in 1980, were closed for redevelopment. London’s second highest building, One Canada Square can also be found among the high rise buildings and much to our surprise, a rather large shopping mall (Jubilee Place) which is sprawled underground beneath the office blocks! I will definitely be returning!!