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“Simply breathtaking”

Old Royal Naval College
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Greenwich Highlights Half Day Walking Tour in London
Ranked #61 of 1,591 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) is Sir Christopher Wren's twin-domed riverside masterpiece and one of London's most popular attractions. The iconic buildings stand on the site of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII's favourite royal residence, and were originally designed as a refuge for old and injured sailors. The buildings and grounds are open daily and include the Painted Hall, Chapel and Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre. Admission is free.
Level Contributor
544 reviews
152 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 410 helpful votes
“Simply breathtaking”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2013

Old Royal Naval College is a group of classical-style buildings by the Thames. They look more like a country's seat of government or the parliament more than a school. The grounds and lawns are immaculately maintained. The Painted Hall must be one of the most beautiful halls in all of England. Its murals are colorful and tell interesting stories. The gleaming candelabras on oak tables add to the grandeur. I love how the hall opened all the windows to let sunlight shine on the lovely marble floor. Overall, you could spend a really nice day just taking photos of the exterior of this lovely part of Greenwich. Movie fans will love the fact that it has been the location for both the Golden Compass and Thor: The Dark World.
Forget wasting time standing in a long line for the Greenwich Meridian and spend more of your day touring this remarkable educational/cultural pocket by the river.

Visited November 2013
3 Thank Chattan_k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A spectacular hidden gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 November 2013

We go to Greenwich at least once a year but quite by accident came across the Painted Hall, a most marvellous gem, breathtaking in fact, a place full of history, I stood on the spot Nelson lay in state after the battle of Trafalgar & you get a real sense of history, next time you visit Greenwich you must make this a must see attraction, everyone goes to the Observatory but your find the Painted Hall a much quieter & hidden gem.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Tony P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol UK
Level Contributor
59 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Nothing Short of Magnificent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 November 2013

The biggest problem Greenwich has is that there is too much to see in a single visit. You need two days or more. So, many people will flock to the Cutty Sark, briskly head off for the Maritime Museum then trek up the hill to the Old Royal Observatory. So many parts of the World Heritage site only get viewed en passant or from a distance. The Old Royal Naval College is one of these. It's two domed building are almost the trademark of Greenwich and frame the view from both the north - along the Thames - and the south, from Observatory Hill. Younger visitors will be familiar with them from their appearance (with a little CGI embelishment) in 'The Golden Compass' where the Hospital was the home of the Magisterium.
Next time you visit, give the place some time to explore. As well as the extensive grounds and wonderful exteriors there's also the Chapel and The Painted Hall. In my opinion the latter is the gem of the whole of Greenwich; something that, without hyperbole, must rank alongside the Sistine Chapel in magnificence. The buildings are now held in trust but many are used by the University of Greenwich. The Chapel and The Painted Hall are, in particular, used for graduation and post-graduation drinks respectively. There can hardly be a more grand location for either event.
Don't miss either the fantastic and extensive visitors centre at the entrance - perfect for getting your bearings, picking up a free map or loading up on souvenir guides.
Access to the grounds, the Chapel and the Painted Hall are all free, but donations are requested. Not known for my generosity, even I was moved to make such a donation for the chance to explore these places!
TIP: There's no photo restrictions on the site so get some great panoramic shots in the Painted Hall

Visited October 2013
3 Thank PCBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
100 reviews
92 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A Greenwich Gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2013

Highly recommend this attraction which asks for donations. Pay a visit to the info centre first for some background on the whole place and then appreciate the amazing painted ceilings. My eyes popped out and my mouth was wide open. I was just exploring Greenwich when I discovered this spectacular feature. The painted ceilings are a hard act to follow, but pop into the Chapel tomread the bible which explains their painting behind the altar.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank DdKiw2013i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
160 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“graduated with class”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2013

Amazing building for a graduation ceremony from the University of Greenwich. Oozes tradition and splendour.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank 395Andy_R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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