Greenwich Royal Museums # 2

The first post on Greenwich covered the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and Queen’s House, so this one will cover the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Market, taking a stroll under the Thames and a couple of the pubs we visited.

I spent 2 days in Greenwich and still felt rushed, as I could easily have spent more time at some of the attractions, especially the Observatory.

Getting to Greenwich

Located about 6 miles East of the City of Westminster, Greenwich is well connected to the London Underground, which is our preferred mode of transport. From our hotel on Waterloo Road, it was a short walk to Waterloo Station, where we descended to the Jubilee Line for any train heading East, alighting at Canary Wharf (5 stations). At Canary Wharf you cannot connect to DLR underground, so back to ground level, followed by a short walk to the Dockland Light Rail (DLR), either Heron Quay or Canary Wharf, which are an equidistant walk. At Heron Quay they have no barriers, so you must remember to find the tap in point, as we saw an employee checking tickets. From Heron’s Quay it was 5 stations to Greenwich Maritime, which is located in both Zone 2 and 3.

London Tube Map

The DLR can also be accessed at Tower Bridge or Bank stations. In addition to the Tube you can cruise down the Thames from central London to Greenwich.

Cutty Sark

A British clipper ship, she was built on the River Clyde in 1869. She was one of the fastest ships built for carrying tea, but sadly, she was almost the last of her type, as sail gave way to steam.

Cutty Sark (courtesy of Cutty Sark webpage)

Tea Trade Poster

In the tea trade speed meant more cargo revenue, as for a number of years, a premium of 10/-, or 1/2 a UK Pound, was paid for every ton of tea delivered by the first ship to arrive in UK. Cutty Sark loaded about 600 tons of tea, so this was a substantial amount of money in the mid-1800’s.

Extensive Rigging for huge sails, to attain speed

Lower Hold for storage of tea chests

No boxes of tea bags in those days, the loose leaf tea was packed in wooden crates, which were block stowed in the lower hold. You can walk through the length of the lower hold, where they show an informative short film and many of the tea chests provide interesting facts.

Tween Deck, 1 deck above the lower hold

This deck would also have been used for storing more tea chests, or sacks of wool. It is much lower than the lower hold, but I was able to stand upright along most of the deck. It has an interesting interactive game, where you drive a ship from Australia back to UK, comparing the number of days taken, to the ships actual fastest transit. After a couple of tries, I got to within 10 days of the fastest transit.

Steering Wheel

The steering station was located right aft on the Poop Deck, 1 deck above the Main Deck.

Construction of the stern section

The Cutty Sark, while a tea clipper, was actually of a hybrid construction, having iron structural ribs covered by a wooden hull. All the metal painted white, in the above photo, is original construction and the black metal is additional structure added.

Cutty Sark from bottom of the drydock

The tour also includes the bottom of the drydock. You have the option of taking the stairs or using the lifts. The drydock is spotlessly clean and completely covered, so it is protected from the elements. It even has a pleasant tea room/cafe, at the aft end.

Admission – Adult UKP 13.50, Concession (60+) UKP 11.50

A discounted combination ticket is available for Cutty Sark & Royal Observatory

– Adult UKP 18.50

– Concession (60+) UKP 15.50

The Old Royal Navy College

This is open to the public, but even with 2 days at Greenwich, I ran out of time. A perfect excuse to return for another visit.

Greenwich Market

The Greenwich Market is an open air, covered market, which has been around for a few years – about 280 years, as it opened in 1737.

Judi at one of the entrances to Greenwich Market

I’m not usually a fan of visiting markets, but I really enjoyed this one. It is bright, spacious and airy, with lots of room between the stalls. The number of stalls varies daily, but can be as many as 120. I even enjoyed walking around the stalls, as most displayed many old UK style collectibles, which I recalled from my childhood. Little, if any, typical touristy junk, and I suspect very little had the dreaded sticker, “Made in China.” We spent a most enjoyable hour wandering.

Greenwich Pubs/Restaurants

The village and surrounding area has a plethora of cafes, restaurants and pubs to suit almost every taste. Here is a summary of the ones we sampled:

– Costa Coffee, we stopped in here for a cup of tea after wandering through the market and before the hike up to the Royal Observatory. This was probably my first ever visit to a Costa, finding the tea most enjoyable and served in a real cup instead of a paper one.

– Greenwich Tavern, this is directly across from the entrance/exit to Greenwich Park, so we stopped in for dinner. One entering the pub it smelled rather fishy, which we tend to avoid.

Trafalgar Tavern

– Kings Arms, a couple of minutes walk down King William Walk from the Greenwich Tavern, the menu looked decent, so we wandered in to check it out. Classical old pub, with a number of “Real Cask Ales” and a reasonable menu. You order all drinks and food at the bar, providing your table number. When ready, food & drinks are delivered to the table.

Kings Arms – 3 of the hand pulled Cask Ales

I noted one of the Cask Ales is from Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, Scotland. I found the name and graphic on the tap very interesting, although a wee bit cheeky. Wembley 67 references the Scotland v’s England match in 1967, played at Wembley Stadium. England as winners of the World Cup in 1966 were World Champions, but Scotland won 3-2. The game had noticeable incidents when Jim Baxter formerly of Rangers cheekily taunting England by playing keepy up. Oh ! food, yes the meals were excellent, we both enjoyed steak pie & chips.

– Trafalgar Tavern, located on the banks of the River Thames, this is another of the many traditional British pubs. Stopped in for some refreshment, so enjoyed a pint of a Cask Ale. Didn’t bother with lunch, however the meals being delivered to adjacent tables looked good. Sat at a window table enjoying watching traffic steam along the river, while sipping my pint. They also have a patio for sunny days.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Rather than catching the DLR at Greenwich, I elected to walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which crosses below the River Thames.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

While they have lifts available, I elected to use the stairs, both down and up. In late afternoon, I felt perfectly safe, with many other people around. However, not sure I would use this option late at night.

View of Cutty Sark from the North exit from tunnel

The round building with dome roof is the entrance to the tunnel on the Greenwich side of the river.

Old Royal Navy College & Queen’s House from North bank of Thames

This concludes our fist visit to London this holiday; however, we have another few days in September, both before & after the cruise.


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