Greenwich is on the outskirts of the city and from my view on the bank of the Thames I can see Canary Wharf to my left, to the right I can see the Shard and the Gherkin. The difference here is that I can also sit in peace and quiet and reflect on the day. Sitting on the grass surrounded by the naval college you can hear a pin drop and the only noise coming from the river is the occasional sound of the Woolwich ferry passing by. From this vantage point you can see why so many people choose to live in this vibrant yet tranquil part of town.
Whenever you come to this wonderful side of the river there is one object that clearly stands out from the crowd. Standing at 152 feet the mast of the Cutty Sark is an impressive addition to the sky line.
But Why is the Cutty Sark in Greenwich so Famous?
Built in 1869 this was one of the last tea clippers to be constructed before giving way to the Steam ships that could use the Suez Canal to transport goods at a quicker pace. Used on trips to China initially for the tea and later to Australia for wool the Cutty Sark was famously sold off to the Portuguese in 1895 and renamed ‘Ferreira’. Selling the clipper in 1922 saw the return of this ship to the UK where it was used in Naval training programmes and Cadet training until 1954 where it was dry docked in Greenwich and still holds pride of place in the centre of the town today.
However, this is just one reason to visit. You can spend your day walking around the Naval Museums, gleaning more about the history of the British fleets, lose yourself in Greenwich park which seems to go on forever or people watch in one of the many traditional pubs or cafes that line the streets.
A must is a visit to the Meantime Brewery, The Old Brewery, housed within the grounds of the Naval College. Brewing its own ales (12 in total) as well as opening your eyes to other unique beers, you could easily spend your afternoon here. Offering tours and samples why would you not add this to your plans. If you are like me you will walk in and have no idea what you would like to try – they offer samples and are happy to recommend depending on your tastes. If there are a few you would like larger samples of you can purchase a paddle where you choose 4 beers to try.
I was tempted into trying the Pacific Pale Ale but for the more adventurous you can always try a Raspberry beer or a Chocolate beer – which may be too sickly for some. The unique concept here is that this brewery is only the second to be located in a UNESCO World Heritage site. Throughout the day food is also served, and where you would normally see a menu matching good quality wines to the food, here each dish has a recommended beer attached.
Greenwich, the birth place of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, holds the charm that you would expect from a day long pasted. With the winding streets leading off the indoor market and the traditional facades that do not seem to have changed for over 100 years this area is definitely worth some of your time.
What other areas in London would you recommend to people who are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas?