Old Royal Naval College
Culture & History

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London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

1. London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the Painted Hall is known as the UK's very own Sistine Chapel and reopened in 2019 following a 2-year restoration project. With your guide, discover Old Royal Naval College that houses the Painted Hall, admire the beauty of its magnificent interiors, wander its atmospheric grounds and courtyards, and hear the stories of the people who made this place their home. Explore the newly refurbished Nelson Room and learn more about the glorious life of this national naval hero through a multimedia exhibition. Visits to the Painted Hall include guided tours as well as access to the Sackler Gallery, where you can learn about the many characters, including gods and heroes, that are painted onto the ceiling. Learn about the Old Royal Naval College and how it was built in 1692 as a home for returning seamen. Discover the stunning 18th century chapel of St Peter and St Paul, the famous Water Gates, and the Victorian Skittle Alley. Glimpse the foundations of royal history as you see parts of the former Palace of Placentia, and the birthplace of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

2. Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

Described as 'the loveliest castle in the world' by Lord Conway, Leeds Castle sits on 500 acres of landscaped parkland across two idyllic islands, deep in the heart of the magnificent Kent countryside. Early arrival and visit Leeds Castle, where Henry VIII retreated to escape the plague that was raging in London during his reign. Upon arrival at Leeds Castle you will be greeted by your guide. Discover the history behind this magical castle and experience life how Henry VIII would have! Next up, embark on a visit to Canterbury Cathedral, the scene of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s gruesome murder in 1170. Learn the intriguing history behind this captivating masterpiece of medieval architecture. Marvel at the cathedral’s spectacular stained glass windows, many of which have survived from the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Then, tantalize your taste buds with a traditional two-course meal. Visit the gateway to England and admire the famous White Cliffs of Dover, with a photo stop on the stunning stretch of coastline that faces continental Europe. You'll also see Dover Castle, a commanding medieval fortress rising over the English Channel and a key film location in 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Then, head to Greenwich to see the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, as well as the Royal Observatory and world–famous Cutty Sark, a fascinating 19th–century clipper ship. Get a fresh perspective on London’s attractions with a boat ride on the River Thames, from Greenwich to Embankment Pier. You'll pass Tower Bridge and stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral along the way.

Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

3. Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

Walk through over 60 years of filming on this guided tour of the iconic riverside grounds of the Old Royal Naval College and inside the Painted Hall. Spot locations from Bridgerton, The Crown, Thor, and more. From a starring role as Buckingham Palace in The Crown to 19th century revolutionary Paris in Les Misérables, and more recently as the backdrop for the award-winning TV period drama series Bridgerton, the Old Royal Naval College has provided the setting for some of the most memorable scenes in major film and TV productions. Following alongside your guide, spot the locations used for filming The Crown (2016 – present), including Buckingham Palace, Dartmouth College, and many more. Visit Lower Grand Square, which hosted a crashed spacecraft in a climactic battle scene in Thor: The Dark World (2013). Enter inside the Painted Hall and see where Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman waltzed the night away in Indiscreet (1958). Walk in the footsteps of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011) and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides (2011). View the Painted Hall backdrop for a scene in The Madness of King George (1994) where Nigel Hawthorne’s George III is presented with the painting of his forebearer George I. Later, visit the chapel and marvel at the wedding venue of Rowan Atkinson’s famous performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

4. Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

Starting at the Greenwich Visitor Centre, you'll walk along the River Thames towards the nearby Old Royal Naval College, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. See the famous Painted Hall, with its magnificent murals and painted ceiling, and other important sites of the Old Royal Naval College. From there you will walk up to the world famous Greenwich Royal Observatory, site of the Prime Meridian. Here visitors will see the line that divides the Western and Eastern hemispheres of the globe. Another highlight here are the unique clocks that occupy the Observatory museum, designed by Harrison, which eventually solved the "longitude" problem for seafarers. Following the visit to the Observatory, walk down to the largest maritime museum in the world: the National Maritime Museum. Britain's seafaring past and history as a naval power is on showcase here. You'll have the opportunity to rest your feet and enjoy a tea or coffee here. From here, your guide will take you aboard the world-famous clipper ship Cutty Sark. In her time, at the very end of the Age of Sail, she was the fastest ship on water. Newly restored for a staggering price tag of 50 million pounds, she was reopened to the public on May 1st, 2012. The tour ends at the historic Greenwich Market, home to art galleries, antiques and amazing street food.

The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

5. The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

The 'Best of Greenwich' day tour is both informative and fun. It's an entertaining and eco-friendly way to experience the magic of maritime Greenwich. See the amazing Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College, where movies such as Johnny Depp's 'On Stranger Tides' were filmed. Marvel at the elegance of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture, the same architect who also designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Straddle the Prime Meridian - the very center of world time and space - at the Greenwich Royal Observatory. See the amazing clocks of John Harrison, the man who would eventually solve the " longitudinal problem " for mankind. Climb aboard the magnificent tea clipper Cutty Sark, now fully restored to her original splendor. Appreciate the naval and maritime paintings at Queen's House. You'll also get to enjoy a lovely pub lunch by the River Thames. Put on your favorite walking shoes and let your entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide show you all the historic sights.

From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

6. From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

Start your day with a guided walking tour of Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover breathtaking views from Greenwich Park, stand on the Prime Meridian of the World, where eastern and western hemispheres meet, and learn why Greenwich became the home of time (GMT). Learn why Greenwich is also a hugely popular TV and film location. Netflix filmed scenes from "The Crown" and "Bridgerton" here. Greenwich is also featured in the films "Les Miserables," "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Thor: The Dark World." Finish your guided walk at the Cutty Sark. Enjoy free time to discover the many culinary options at Greenwich Market, also famous for its arts and crafts. Set off to Cambridge, home to the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. Take a guided tour and discover why people like Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking have made Cambridge famous for its contributions to mathematics and science. Select the additional option to enjoy a 45-minute Punting boat tour on the River Cam.

London: Royal Greenwich Private Full-Day Tour

7. London: Royal Greenwich Private Full-Day Tour

Discover one of London’s most beautiful neighborhoods on a private tour of Greenwich. Home to the Cutty Sark, Prime Meridian time line, and antiques and craft market, it’s the perfect day out in an area of London that is often overlooked by tourists. Your guide will collect you from your hotel and accompany you on the short journey by tube and DLR (Docklands Light Railway). Upon arrival in central Greenwich, you are faced with a host of options. Though village-like in atmosphere, Greenwich boasts a wealth of historic attractions. Go to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park, and stand on the Prime Meridian line. Put one foot in the eastern hemisphere, and one foot in the west. Follow in the footsteps of Sir Isaac Newton, who once worked in the Observatory, or just admire the views from the top of the hill. Go to the Royal Naval College, built as a hospital for disabled sailors, and later used as a Royal Navy training college from 1873-1998. The sumptuous buildings by Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and Sir John Vanbrugh have featured in countless movies. Hardcore naval fans can visit the Naval Museum, but everyone should see the Chapel and Painted Hall. One of the highlights of Greenwich is the newly restored Cutty Sark, one of the last - and fastest - tea-clippers to serve the tea trade between China and England. Reopened to the public in 2012 after a devastating fire, the new museum allows you to walk beneath her hulls, and to climb aboard and put yourself in the shoes of the crew! Then, find some delicious street food in Greenwich Market.

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What people are saying about Old Royal Naval College

Overall rating

3.8 / 5

based on 78 reviews

The audio visual guide is excellent. You can lie back on the seats in the hall so that you can properly study the details of the paintings. If you have booked a 10am tour, don't arrive too early as there is no sign of life until a couple of minutes before that.

Jim, the volunteer at the Naval College was my guide. An absolutely fantastic experience and the architecture of the buildings was stunning. I highly recommend this experience.

well worth a vist if you in to architecture and art its a must see was worth paying for the tour ( and it helps pay for the upkeep of the art work )

It was very interesting I’m pleased I went on the Tour she had so much information

Much information about our past from Tudor Palace to our Naval history.