In the first of a new series looking at some of the favorite historical places of Londoners, Lynne Connell, a host at the Museum of London, nominates Greenwich…
“When I was a child my grandparents took me to Greenwich for the day. I remember being very impressed with Admiral Nelson’s uniform (complete with blood stains) and the haunted tulip staircase in the Queen’s house. While we sat and ate cheese and onion crisps in front of the Cutty Sark, my Grandmother (who was a little eccentric) told me ‘there is so much history here you can feel it’.
“So what can you see in Greenwich today?
“You can visit the Greenwich Observatory, stand on the Meridian line and know you are in the centre of the world! Admission is free there, as well as the National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House. You can also see the magnificent Wernher collection at Ranger’s House (free to members of English Heritage) and don’t forget the tiny Fan Museum.
“A favourite lazy Sunday morning, includes a stroll in the Royal Park to visit the deer enclosure, a leisurely coffee in one of the two cafes and a visit to the craft market.
“The remains of a Roman villa can be seen in the park and you can visit Princess Caroline’s bath. Don’t miss Queen Elizabeth’s oak, Henry VIII is reputed to have courted Anne Boleyn under the boughs of his ancient hollow tree. It fell during high winds in the 1990’s and is now slowly rotting away.
“Look down from the Observatory Gardens upon the magnificent Royal Naval College and go to visit the beautiful painted hall. Remember, beneath the college lie the remains of the Royal Palace of Placentia, birth place of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
“It is easy to get to Greenwich by over ground train, DLR or (to really pick up the atmosphere) by river boat.
“It is more than 40 years since my introduction to the history of Greenwich, and perhaps I am becoming a little eccentric myself, but my grandmother was right, you really can ‘feel the history’.”
PICTURE: Greenwich Park, © Anne Marie Briscombe (Royal Parks)