The Royal Observatory Greenwich London is the home of the Prime Meridian, the Greenwich Mean Time and the very foundation of British astronomy. This was also the place where the concept of Universal Time was first put together. The initial purpose for the foundation of the Royal Observatory was to bring about an accurate calculation for Maritime sailors. Before this time there were a lot of shipwrecks happening which led to the loss of lots of sailor lives as well as loss of cargo. This led King Charles II to Commission the Royal Observatory of Greenwich.
Today the Observatory has some of the most fascinating collection of objects such as the great equatorial telescope which is the largest, one of its kind, in the United Kingdom. Then there is the Shepherd Gate clock which was the first ever to show the Greenwich Mean Time to the public.
Another fascinating object found at the Royal Observatory is the Harrison timekeepers that helped to solve the longitudinal problem. One more attraction of the Royal Observatory is the Octagon Room which is the oldest part of the Royal Observatory Greenwich the room holds astronomical instruments, clocks and several other objects that assists in time keeping.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich London was commissioned by King Charles II in 1675 and laid the foundation for this iconic establishment on the 10th of August 1675. The speed of its construction and the budget with which it was done was truly notable. John Flamsteed was appointed the first Astronomer Royal in the same year. He lived within these premises for 40 years and during this time made over 50,000 observations. The main purpose of the Royal Observatory was to reduce the number of shipwrecks and make accurate calculations to improve naval navigation. With the help of the Observatory, accurate recording of the position of the stars were made which then allowed for the accurate calculations of the movements of the moon.
By 1770, the longitude problem was solved and ship captains were given a reliable clock to maintain Greenwich Time. Early in the 19th century the Royal Observatory Greenwich was moved to Herstmonceux because observation conditions were deteriorating in the city. The Greenwich site became a Maritime Museum but the Prime Meridian, the reason the Royal Observatory Greenwich was started, is still at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets are available at the observatory itself but due to the popularity of this attraction there may be limited entry on the day you choose to visit. Booking your tickets online and in advance will guarantee you an entry and you can also avail fantastic discounts and deals on the prices of your tickets.
Cutty Sark is the last surviving tea clipper ship in the world. It was built in 1869 to transport tea from China and along the way visited almost all the major ports in the world. Today Cutty Sark is a major attraction included in your Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets and it is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich which also includes the Royal Observatory. Visitors can explore inside the ship and meet the captain as well as learn about the conservation projects that have managed to save the Cutty Sark for future generations. Inside this ship there is the Cutty Sark Cafe which offers relaxed ambience and an excellent selection of afternoon tea.
The National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich and it holds over 2 million objects and items that narrates the history of Britain at sea. The exhibits here include Maritime art, manuscripts, ship models and blueprints, navigation instruments, timekeeping instruments and astronomy instruments. The highlights of the Museum are the Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, the Baltic Exchange Memorial Glass Gallery, Cannonball Nelson's Jacket, the union flag from the Trafalgar battle and a set of 24 venetian views painted by Canaletto "Venice Revisited".
The children's gallery has several simulated and interactive games such as the interactive boatyard where they get to stroke the boiler of a steamship, pretend to buy and sell fish.
The Queen's house in Greenwich was a former Royal Residence and was commissioned in 1616 by Anne of Denmark, King James I's wife. This is one of the most fascinating structures in the country due to its vast collection of artworks and unique interiors that was designed by Inigi Jones. The Queen's House was the first ever classical Villa built in England which was very different from the classical Gothic and Tudor styles that were built before.Today the Queen's House has one of the most incredible collections of artworks featuring renowned artists such as Rembrant, Gainsborough and Canaletto.The iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I is one of the exhibits here.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is home of the Prime Meridian, the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the foundation of British astronomy. The Observatory has some of the most fascinating collection of objects such as the great equatorial telescope which is the largest one of its kind in the United Kingdom; the Shepherd clock which was the first ever clock to show the Greenwich Mean Time to the public.
Another fascinating object found in your Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets is the Epic Harrison timekeepers that helped to solve the longitudinal problem. Other attractions of the Royal Observatory are the Octagon Room which is the oldest part of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. The room holds astronomical instruments, clocks and various other objects.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is a fascinating place to visit with a whole plethora of things to do. Here you will be able to see and observe instruments that have made Maritime history. Right from the Prime Meridian to the telescope that determined its position, there are a whole lot of astronomical instruments that would fascinate any kind of visitor.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich has been home to the Prime Meridian since the late 19th century. Just as the Equator divides the Earth in the northern and southern hemisphere, the Prime Meridian divides the earth into the Western and Eastern hemisphere. Visit the Royal Observatory Greenwich to experience a unique feeling of being right at the center of the earth. Stand astride the Prime Meridian and let your one foot be on the Western hemisphere and the other foot be on the eastern hemisphere. This is one of the most unique experiences that is included in your Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets.
With your Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets you can Marvel at one of the United Kingdom's largest telescopes which is the Great Equatorial Telescope. The equatorial telescope is a 28 inch refracting telescope built by Grab telescope company in Dublin and it was installed in the Royal Observatory Greenwich in the year 1893. The telescope's iconic 'onion Dome' roof has been a Landmark since the time it was installed but to truly appreciate its value you will need to step inside and learn more about it. The equatorial telescope will be getting new lighting, new displays and new astronomy footage which will be taken by the telescope itself once refurbished it will be reinstalled in its place of honor.
Use your Royal Observatory Greenwich tickets to begin a fascinating journey into space with a visit to the Peter Harrison Planetarium. The planetarium has interesting lessons for kids and in depth astronomy courses and community events for all science enthusiasts. There are several planetary shows that feature the various heavenly bodies that are in space. The planetarium also has quite a number of shows such as The Sky Tonight, which is a guide to the night sky. There is also a touch space adventure which is a child friendly space activity. There are shows that features the solar system and beyond and you also get to learn about the birth, life and death of a star at the planetarium
The Octagon Room is the oldest part of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. It was first commissioned by King Charles II and designed by Sir Christopher Warren who was a famous architect during that time. The Observatory was completed in 1676 and the Octagon Room came into existence. The room holds several astronomical instruments, time keepers and various other objects that carry out observations for the Observatory. The octagon room has high windows and several south facing views giving a panoramic view of the night sky.
Maritime Greenwich is a World Heritage site and once you climb to the top of the hill in the park just outside the Royal Observatory you can enjoy a serene view of the River Thames backed with the beautiful London Skyline. This is especially true if you take in the view at dusk when the shimmering lights of the city take the panoramic view to a whole new level.
The Shepherd Gate clock was the first clock ever to show Greenwich Mean Time to the public. This extraordinary clock has several unique features and the first thing that anyone would notice is that it has 24 hours on its display rather than the usual 12 hours. That means that at 12 noon the hour hand is pointing straight down instead of straight up. The Shepherd Gate Clock is also known as the motor clock as it depends on another clock for its accuracy. The clock inside the observatory which is highly accurate is known as the motor clock. What makes this clock revolutionary is that before its introduction each individual town or village kept local time using a sundial which means that every town or village had a different time. The Greenwich time synchronized the Nation's time.
The John Harrison timekeepers are an incredible technological invention that has made naval navigation so much more accurate and drastically reduced the number of shipwrecks. These clocks were able to keep the ships from being lost at sea and allow sailors to determine their longitude. It took John Harrison most of his lifetime to design the H4 which is his most successful watch. The speciality of these clocks are their extensive anti friction abilities that helps them run without any lubrication. The John Harrison clocks are one of the greatest milestones in the clock making industry.
Transit Circle is the telescope that gave us the Greenwich Mean Time and helped define the Prime Meridian. The Circle Telescope was designed by an English mathematician and astronomer George Biddle Airy. This was the telescope that was used to precisely define longitude zero degree at the conference held in Washington DC in 1884. This iconic telescope established the international time zone system and led to the start of the universal day. Even more fascinating is the way this telescope is used, first the roof of the Royal Observatory is opened to allow the telescope to observe the sky. Next the star was chosen for measurement then the telescope is tilted to an angle to ensure accuracy.
When the Royal Observatory was commissioned by King Charles II in 1675 he appointed John flamesteed as the first Astronomer Royal. The house got its name from the first astronomer Royal, and was the original building of the Royal Observatory. The Flamsteed house has the time ball on top of it which is the world's earliest public time announcement device. Camera Obscura is another device that you can use to enjoy a panoramic view of Greenwich and its surrounding areas from the Flamsteed house. While here, you can visit the Astronomers Royal Apartments and also learn the story of the longitude and marvel at the Harrison clocks.
Location: Blackheath Avenue, London SE10 8XJ, United Kingdom
Opening hours : 10am to 5pm
Best time to visit: The Royal Observatory Greenwich is quite popular hence it can get crowded at times. The best time to visit is in the early hours of the morning between 10 am to 11 am to avoid the crowd. Arriving early will provide you more time to experience every activity that the observatory has to offer.
Set aside at least 1.5 hours to 2 hours to visit and explore the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Each object in this Museum has created history.
It is best to arrive early, as Royal Observatory Greenwich can get quite busy. The observatory opens at 10:00 a.m. and it is a 20 to 30 minutes walk from the DLR stop. You can also enjoy the quiet views from the hill if you come early.
Although tickets are available at the Observatory but booking in advance is recommended to guarantee entry. There may be limited entry if you turn up on the same day. Booking in advance will also give you excellent discounts and also get an excellent package deal.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is 347 years old and was founded by King Charles II, back in 1675.