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Autumn Days Out at Old Royal Naval College

Looking ahead to the autumn and being able to explore London once again, the Old Royal Naval College will have plenty of things to do. There’s something for everyone, with tours and itineraries for all visitors, family fun at October half-term, and must-see spots if you only have 30 minutes.

There are plenty of sights to explore on your way to Greenwich. Start your day with a stroll along the spectacular Greenwich riverside, taking in the best views of Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stand in front of the Water Gates and snap a picture at one of the most Instagrammed locations in London, getting in the twin domes of the Painted Hall and Chapel, as famously painted by Canaletto. Kids can burn off some energy in the expansive riverside grounds, and take a family snap on the spot commemorating Henry VIII and his famous Tudor relatives.


At the Visitor Centre, learn about the 500-year-old history of Greenwich, try on a jousting helmet and design your own Baroque masterpiece. No visit is complete without hearing the stories of ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’, so join one of the hourly tours included with the Painted Hall ticket, delivered by expert tour guides who lead you through the grounds and bring to life tales from the site’s history as Greenwich Palace, the Royal Hospital for Seamen and the Royal Naval College.


Before heading to the magnificent Painted Hall, pick up a free activity pack included in the Painted Hall ticket to follow the trail to find the hidden details in the paintings, and illustrated activities by Nick Ellwood. Have your camera ready for your first glimpse of the Baroque masterpiece and lie down on the benches to really look at the infinite detail of the ceiling. You’ll also want your camera for the treasure chests which hold props and costumes from the paintings for kids – and parents – to try on.
 

When you have had your art fill, pay a visit to the Painted Hall shop to pick up something to take home to remember your visit, from notebooks and pencils to silk scarves to a wide range of art, architecture and history books including the ultimate guide to the Painted Hall and a recreation of Thornhill’s explanations of his magnificent paintings.


Head downstairs to the Skittle Alley to try your hand at an authentic version of Victorian bowling just like the sailors who used to live here. Then take a break in the Painted Hall café before heading to the Chapel to spend a few minutes enjoying the spectacular interiors. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a recital from the students of Trinity Laban. Have a look in and you might recognise it from some of the biggest films – can you guess which wedding was filmed here in Four Weddings and a Funeral? Art lovers can admire the neo-classic interiors, the stunning Benjamin West painting and naval-inspired floor designs. By now you will be ready to unwind, so head to the Old Brewery for fresh, seasonal British food and London-brewed craft beers.

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