On the second day of mine and the Beards Staycation we headed to Greenwich. Have you ever been? It’s a gorgeous part of London that is famous for the Maritime Museum and the Docklands. I had a pretty spectacular day there last year when I went to the Docklands International Festival but this time I was keen to check out the Royal Observatory for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition.
We decided to jump off the tube several stops earlier at Canary Wharf and walk to Greenwich, partly because it was a gorgeous sunny day and partly because it was my old walk to work so I knew the shortcuts off by heart. We walked through the hustle and bustle of the Banking district, before venturing into the quieter area of Cross harbour; it was beautiful walking along the river and seeing a much more silent side to the ‘City Life’.
After about a twenty minute walk (and a stroll under the river via the tunnel) we arrived in Greenwich. The tunnel actually brings you out right by Cutty Shark Clipper Ship; she is one of the last tea clippers of the 19th century and is one hell of a magnificent site. You can actually venture on deck and take a look around, but personally we thought £13.50 a ticket is far too steep, we could happily appreciate Cutty Sarks history and beauty from the other side of the sails. Instead we wandered up to the Maritime Museum, which by the way, I had no idea was so stunning. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered onto the set of Downtown Abbey! We wandered the beautiful grounds of the Museum, which are free for everyone and anyone to roam around in, in fact there was plenty of people having picnics there. It really is a stunning spot.
Eventually it was time to head up to the Royal Observatory, and I mean literally UP, the Observatory is right at the top of a hill. It’s definitely a calorie burner and it may seem like a lot of effort, but the end result is worth it. At the top of the hill is not only the Royal Observatory, but a look-out point from which you can see all of Canary Wharf and even the O2. We spent a few minutes taking it in and getting snaps, but I was eager to get into the Exhibition; I love all things Space-related, it fascinates me.
The Exhibition itself is free, and so in we walked, on the way meeting and touching the oldest rock on the Earth, which apparently came from another Galaxy (seriously, it blows my mind!). The Exhibition is only small, it literally is just a room of all the winning photographs, but if you get the chance, GO! The images are spectacular. The overall winner was a magnificent photo of the Northern Lights (which we are hoping to see ourselves later in the year) but my absolute favourite was the winner of the Deep Space category: Horsehead Nebula. I thought it was breathe taking.
After spending a good fifteen minutes staring at the amazing astronomy images, and a further ten minutes enjoying coke and eating cake (nom nom nom) the Beard wanted to check out the world famous Meridian Line. As people who love to travel and backpack, we always joke about being Time Travellers because we cross through so many time zones, so standing on the Meridian Line – which divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth – was something we HAD to do. Unfortunately spending £9.50 was something we did NOT want to. Is it me getting old and grumpy, or is paying £9.50 to go stand on a line for 30 seconds, just completely crazy?? Why do they charge so much? It’s ludicrous! Anyways, we said no to the tickets and made our way out of the Observatory so see that a gate was open to a part of the Meridian Line. We aren’t quite sure if it had been left accidentally open, or if this tiny part of the Meridian line is meant for the cheapo’s like us, but either way we snuck past the gate and got a quick shot on the Meridian Line, saving ourselves a good £19!
It was another wonderful day of our Staycation, and I would definitely recommend the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition, it is free after all, and you’ll get to see some wonderful views of London. If that’s not really your thing, Greenwich is definitely still worth a day out. It’s full of beautiful cafes and pubs and even has an old fashioned sweet shop! Check it out.
- For the Museums get off at the DLR stop Cutty Sark
- If you’re on a budget pack a picnic and enjoy in the Museum gardens
- Just a heads up, tea, coffee cake and snacks at the Royal Observatory is mega expensive, so a pre-Obsevatory trip to the ATM may be needed
- Look for online discounts or vouchers for some of the entrance fees i.e. Cutty Sark Ship