Naval College

Painted Hall

Painted Hall


This is the starting point for the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site. During the reign of Ethelred the Unready, the Danish fleet anchored in the River Thames off Greenwich for over three years, with the army being encamped on the hill above. From here they attacked Kent and, in the year 1012, took the city of Canterbury, making Archbishop Alphege their prisoner for seven months in their camp at Greenwich. They stoned him to death for his refusal to allow his ransom (3,000 pieces of silver) to be paid; and kept his body, until the blossoming of a stick that had been immersed in his blood. For this miracle his body was released to his followers, he achieved sainthood for his martyrdom and, in the 12th century, the parish church was dedicated to him. The Domesday Book records the manor of Greenwich as held by Bishop Odo of Bayeux; his lands were seized by the crown in 1082. A royal palace, or hunting lodge, has existed here since before 1300, when Edward I is known to have made offerings at the chapel of the Virgin Mary. Subsequent monarchs were regular visitors, with Henry IV making his will here, and Henry V granting the manor (for life) to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died at Greenwich in 1426. The palace was created by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Henry V's half-brother and the regent to Henry VI in 1447; enclosing the park and erecting a tower on the spot of the Royal Observatory. It was renamed the Palace of Placentia or Pleasaunce by Henry VI's consort Margaret of Anjou after Humphrey's death. The palace was completed and further enlarged by Edward IV, and in 1466 it was granted to his queen, Elizabeth.


The Site encompasses a number of remarkable buildings offering a host of things to do. Greenwich Palace - The remains of one of Henry’s VIII favourite palaces lie just a few feet below the ORNC site. More than 30 objects excavated on site allow us to picture the splendour of the Tudor palace. The Royal Hospital for Seamen - It was a refuge for old and injured sailors. At its peak in 1814, 2,710 Pensioners were cared for here. Find out about life at Greenwich from the highlights, like the beer allowance of four pints a day, to the boredom and punishments for breaking the rules. Royal Naval College - In 1874 the site became a prestigious naval training establishment for officers. Get an insight into life at the College by listening to reminiscences from inhabitants, and uncover the secret of Greenwich’s own nuclear reactor. Architecture - The list of those who shaped the world-famous buildings and landscape of the ORNC and Greenwich reads like a roll call of the greatest architects of their time, including Inigo Jones, Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Discover who built what and who influenced who. Craftsmanship - The ORNC features building and decorative crafts of the highest quality, from stone carving and decorative painting to gilding. Explore the skills required to create these magnificent buildings and how we preserve them for future generations. Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and Greenwich Views - In 1997 Maritime Greenwich became a World Heritage Site, a place recognised by UNESCO as being of ‘outstanding universal value’. Find out what attracted visitors in the past, and discover what there is to do and see in Greenwich today. There is an accessibility map available. Large print and magnifying glasses available. Accessible toilets. Guide dogs welcome.


Location : Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich SE10 9NN

Transport: Cutty Sark (DLR). Thames Clipper. London Buses routes 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 286 and 386 stop nearby.

Opening Times: Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 17:00.

Grounds open daily 08.00 - 23.00

Tickets : Free

Group Tours £7.50 pp / with lunch £25.00

Tel: 020 8269 4799