From palaces and cathedrals to ships and prisons, historic buildings and tours offer a great way to learn about the city’s past.
Enter St. Paul’s and see the cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior. You can use a touch-screen multimedia guide or join a guided tour to discover the tombs and memorials of some of the nation’s greatest heroes, such as Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. There’s also an award-winning 270° immersive film experience. Check out the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery and continue the climb to the Golden Gallery for panoramic views across London.
Walking distance: 15 minutes
The Golden Hinde is a historically accurate replica of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake completed the second ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-1580. The ship is open to the public for guided tours with costumed actors and it is even possible to join Drake and his crew on an overnight voyage of adventure.
Visit Bankside, the Soho of Elizabethan London and experience today’s working theatre. Shakespeare’s Globe is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599 where many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed. Shakespeare’s Globe is open year-round, with an exhibition, theatre tour, educational workshops and an outdoor and indoor theatre. It also has a shop, bar and brasserie.
Watch this video to find out more about the Exhibition and Tour.
Greenwich was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997. Major venues include: Cutty Sark, Greenwich Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Queen's House and the Old Royal Naval College. Greenwich Royal Tours do guided walking tours with all admissions included, with full-day, half-day and evening pub tours available.
Southwark Cathedral is London’s oldest Gothic church. It has connections with William Shakespeare, US university benefactor John Harvard and the first English poet, John Gower. Drop by on Monday lunchtimes for an organ recital or Tuesday afternoons at 3:30pm for a short music recital.
The Rose, built in 1587, was the first Elizabethan theatre on Bankside and was where Shakespeare learnt his craft. Shakespeare’s Globe exhibition offers tours of the nearby Rose Theatre site to pre-booked groups. The Rose Theatre also hosts a series of theatrical performances.
From Roman settlement to modern regeneration, the Museum of London Docklands reveals the long history of London as a port through stories of trade, migration and commerce. With archaeological finds, fascinating tours, films and events, this is one of the capital’s real hidden gems.
Following an ambitious six-year conservation project Cutty Sark reopened in April 2012. The ship has been raised over three metres allowing visitors the unique and jaw-dropping experience of walking underneath a nineteenth century sailing ship, the last surviving tea clipper, and the fastest and greatest of her time.
The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) is Sir Christopher Wren’s twin-domed riverside masterpiece and one of London’s most famous landmarks.
The iconic buildings stand on the site of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence, and include the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, Painted Hall and Chapel. You can find out more about the ORNC’s intriguing past by joining one of their daily guided tours.
Visit Churchill War Rooms, part of Imperial War Museums, to discover the original Cabinet War Rooms, the wartime bunker which sheltered Churchill and his staff during the Blitz. Explore the historic rooms to experience the secret history that lives on underground. Look through the lens of history into the Map Room where the books and charts have remained exactly where they were left when the door was locked in 1945. Discover the stories of those who worked underground as London was being bombed above them, and explore the life and legacy of Winston Churchill in the interactive Churchill Museum.