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Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College: Our most recommended tours and activities

Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

1. Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

Walk in the footsteps of the “Sun King”, Louis XIV, on a guided tour of his opulent residence, the Palace of Versailles. You will also visit the château of Petit Trianon, located on the grounds of the Palace, which was once the private retreat of Marie Antoinette. Skip the long lines with your priority access ticket and discover the opulence, beauty, and history of the Palace of Versailles on a guided tour. During the 90-minute tour of the main palace, see King and Queen's State Apartments, the King's Bedroom, and the emblematic Hall of Mirrors. Learn about the main figures of the French monarchy throughout the centuries. Hear about the fascinating historical events that took place in many of the palace’s rooms. Then, step out into the lush gardens surrounding the palace. Enjoy a guided tour through the beautiful grounds and feel like a member of past royalty as you marvel at the gardens' grandeur, bronze statues, and ornamental basins accompanied by rows of large trees. Afterward, meet up with your guide and visit Marie Antoinette’s private estate of the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Queen's Hamlet. Explore the building which was designed for her to escape from her royal duties. Learn about her private life away from the pomp and ceremony of the Palace.

London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

2. London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the Painted Hall is known as the UK's very own Sistine Chapel and reopened in 2019 following a 2-year restoration project. With your guide, discover Old Royal Naval College that houses the Painted Hall, admire the beauty of its magnificent interiors, wander its atmospheric grounds and courtyards, and hear the stories of the people who made this place their home. Explore the newly refurbished Nelson Room and learn more about the glorious life of this national naval hero through a multimedia exhibition. Visits to the Painted Hall include guided tours as well as access to the Sackler Gallery, where you can learn about the many characters, including gods and heroes, that are painted onto the ceiling. Learn about the Old Royal Naval College and how it was built in 1692 as a home for returning seamen. Discover the stunning 18th century chapel of St Peter and St Paul, the famous Water Gates, and the Victorian Skittle Alley. Glimpse the foundations of royal history as you see parts of the former Palace of Placentia, and the birthplace of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

3. Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

Starting at the Greenwich Visitor Centre, you'll walk along the River Thames towards the nearby Old Royal Naval College, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. See the famous Painted Hall, with its magnificent murals and painted ceiling, and other important sites of the Old Royal Naval College. From there you will walk up to the world famous Greenwich Royal Observatory, site of the Prime Meridian. Here visitors will see the line that divides the Western and Eastern hemispheres of the globe. Another highlight here are the unique clocks that occupy the Observatory museum, designed by Harrison, which eventually solved the "longitude" problem for seafarers. Following the visit to the Observatory, walk down to the largest maritime museum in the world: the National Maritime Museum. Britain's seafaring past and history as a naval power is on showcase here. You'll have the opportunity to rest your feet and enjoy a tea or coffee here. From here, your guide will take you aboard the world-famous clipper ship Cutty Sark. In her time, at the very end of the Age of Sail, she was the fastest ship on water. Newly restored for a staggering price tag of 50 million pounds, she was reopened to the public on May 1st, 2012. The tour ends at the historic Greenwich Market, home to art galleries, antiques and amazing street food.

Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

4. Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

Walk through over 60 years of filming on this guided tour of the iconic riverside grounds of the Old Royal Naval College and inside the Painted Hall. Spot locations from Bridgerton, The Crown, Thor, and more. From a starring role as Buckingham Palace in The Crown to 19th century revolutionary Paris in Les Misérables, and more recently as the backdrop for the award-winning TV period drama series Bridgerton, the Old Royal Naval College has provided the setting for some of the most memorable scenes in major film and TV productions. Following alongside your guide, spot the locations used for filming The Crown (2016 – present), including Buckingham Palace, Dartmouth College, and many more. Visit Lower Grand Square, which hosted a crashed spacecraft in a climactic battle scene in Thor: The Dark World (2013). Enter inside the Painted Hall and see where Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman waltzed the night away in Indiscreet (1958). Walk in the footsteps of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011) and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides (2011). View the Painted Hall backdrop for a scene in The Madness of King George (1994) where Nigel Hawthorne’s George III is presented with the painting of his forebearer George I. Later, visit the chapel and marvel at the wedding venue of Rowan Atkinson’s famous performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

London: Greenwich & Thames Bike Tour

5. London: Greenwich & Thames Bike Tour

The meeting point of the tour is at the Sir Walter Raleigh statue, which is located just outside of the Greenwich Tourism Information Centre - about a 2 minute walk from the teaclipper Cutty Sark. Your tour guide will make sure your seat height is just right and your bike helmet is adjusted. To begin, we head up through beautiful Greenwich Park (originally established by King Henry VIII) in order to reach the world famous Greenwich Observatory. The view is amazing, taking in all of maritime Greenwich, Canary Wharf and the City including St. Paul's Cathedral. From here we cycle down through the park, towards the River Thames. We skirt the elegant Queen's House on our way to the Thames bike pathway. We pass the old Greenwich power station, built by the Edwardians in 1903. We are now heading east along the river, towards the O2. Along the way, there is much to see including the busy and ever - changing Thames River itself. The bike path hugs the river and there are lots of scenic pullovers. We reach the famous O2, now in the top 5 globally for entertainment events and concerts. Also, we can stand directly under the Emirates gondola that crosses the Thames, built just in time for the London Olympics of 2012. As we head back along the river towards Greenwich, we will take a much deserved coffee/tea break beside the river. On our way towards Greenwich, we are able to cycle through the historic Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. We see the teaclipper Cutty Sark up close, the only surviving teaclipper in the world. Which brings us back to our starting point - all within about 3 hours.

From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

6. From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

Start your day with a guided walking tour of Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover breathtaking views from Greenwich Park, stand on the Prime Meridian of the World, where eastern and western hemispheres meet, and learn why Greenwich became the home of time (GMT). Learn why Greenwich is also a hugely popular TV and film location. Netflix filmed scenes from "The Crown" and "Bridgerton" here. Greenwich is also featured in the films "Les Miserables," "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Thor: The Dark World." Finish your guided walk at the Cutty Sark. Enjoy free time to discover the many culinary options at Greenwich Market, also famous for its arts and crafts. Set off to Cambridge, home to the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. Take a guided tour and discover why people like Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking have made Cambridge famous for its contributions to mathematics and science. Select the additional option to enjoy a 45-minute Punting boat tour on the River Cam.

The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

7. The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

The 'Best of Greenwich' day tour is both informative and fun. It's an entertaining and eco-friendly way to experience the magic of maritime Greenwich. See the amazing Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College, where movies such as Johnny Depp's 'On Stranger Tides' were filmed. Marvel at the elegance of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture, the same architect who also designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Straddle the Prime Meridian - the very center of world time and space - at the Greenwich Royal Observatory. See the amazing clocks of John Harrison, the man who would eventually solve the " longitudinal problem " for mankind. Climb aboard the magnificent tea clipper Cutty Sark, now fully restored to her original splendor. Appreciate the naval and maritime paintings at Queen's House. You'll also get to enjoy a lovely pub lunch by the River Thames. Put on your favorite walking shoes and let your entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide show you all the historic sights.

London: Royal Greenwich Private Full-Day Tour

8. London: Royal Greenwich Private Full-Day Tour

Discover one of London’s most beautiful neighborhoods on a private tour of Greenwich. Home to the Cutty Sark, Prime Meridian time line, and antiques and craft market, it’s the perfect day out in an area of London that is often overlooked by tourists. Your guide will collect you from your hotel and accompany you on the short journey by tube and DLR (Docklands Light Railway). Upon arrival in central Greenwich, you are faced with a host of options. Though village-like in atmosphere, Greenwich boasts a wealth of historic attractions. Go to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park, and stand on the Prime Meridian line. Put one foot in the eastern hemisphere, and one foot in the west. Follow in the footsteps of Sir Isaac Newton, who once worked in the Observatory, or just admire the views from the top of the hill. Go to the Royal Naval College, built as a hospital for disabled sailors, and later used as a Royal Navy training college from 1873-1998. The sumptuous buildings by Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and Sir John Vanbrugh have featured in countless movies. Hardcore naval fans can visit the Naval Museum, but everyone should see the Chapel and Painted Hall. One of the highlights of Greenwich is the newly restored Cutty Sark, one of the last - and fastest - tea-clippers to serve the tea trade between China and England. Reopened to the public in 2012 after a devastating fire, the new museum allows you to walk beneath her hulls, and to climb aboard and put yourself in the shoes of the crew! Then, find some delicious street food in Greenwich Market.

Other Sightseeing Options in Old Royal Naval College

Want to discover all there is to do in Old Royal Naval College? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Old Royal Naval College

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 341 reviews

Laura was an amazing tour guide for our trip to Greenwich and Cambridge! I’m a student at the University of Sussex and my mom, and a family friend, had travelled from Canada to visit for my graduation. Despite the trip including 25 international summer school students, Laura kept everyone on track and engaged. She was incredibly informative with personal stories and about life in Greenwich! She knew a lot about Cambridge and directed us around the city. Her walking tours were a fantastic pace and not to difficult for my adult travellers! The punting was an amazing experience and I’m glad Laura encouraged us to take the trip. It was another mini tour and super relaxing! We will definitely be signing up to another Discovery Tour if we’re back in the UK one day.

Jim, the volunteer at the Naval College was my guide. An absolutely fantastic experience and the architecture of the buildings was stunning. I highly recommend this experience.

well worth a vist if you in to architecture and art its a must see was worth paying for the tour ( and it helps pay for the upkeep of the art work )

It was very interesting I’m pleased I went on the Tour she had so much information

Much information about our past from Tudor Palace to our Naval history.