How different is Greenwich from the rest of London?

Panoramic view of London from Greenwich Park

Now that I’ve been living in London for nearly a month I’d like to show you what I’ve been getting up to when I’m not working from home in my PJs (that’s my favourite thing about working remotely, no need to get dressed!).

All my attention has been going into exploring the area where I live, Greenwich, or the Royal Borough of Greenwich if I use its posh name – but modest, little Greenwich will do.

It’s located across the river Thames in South East London away from the hustle and bustle of the inner city. It’s no more than thirty minutes away from central with easy access, but it couldn’t be more different. Greenwich is like a miniature York or Oxford, were it possible for one of those cities to uproot and permanently relocate south of London.

Greenwich town, London

Cobbled streets, greenery, squirrels, deer, exotic birds, space – Greenwich is nothing like the rest of London – clearly. Being here is like having the best of what urban and rural life has to offer, and heading up the hill to the Royal Observatory to admire the panoramic views of London shows off this wonderful juxtaposition. And just so you know, this too, is the most beautiful view of London and worth a trip to Greenwich if for nothing else.

Panoramic view of London from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

A visit here is unique because it’s so untypically London, yet being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the most culturally important places in London. Home to the former Royal residence, the architecture of many of the buildings are simply stunning, noted for being the first example of Palladian architecture in Britain. This style was influenced by the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio whose style became popular in the mid-17th Century.

Greenwich Naval College, historical buildings

The Queen's House in Greenwich

Historical buildings in Greenwich, London

Museums in Greenwich

More significantly, Greenwich is most famous for the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which is basically where all measured and standardised time starts. Why does it start in Greenwich? Simply because it was the working-place of some very clever guys who solved navigational problems which enabled explorers and people at sea to travel more accurately, and more importantly, with less accidents!

If you pay to go in the Royal Observatory (some areas, are however, free), it is possible to take a photo of you standing astride the Meridian Line with a foot inside each hemisphere, but if you go on the weekend it’s likely such a photo will take up to an hour of queuing. This is not how I would suggest you spend an hour of your time; especially when you could be raiding the chocolate stall in Greenwich Market; rummaging through quaint vintage shops; feeding the abundance of insanely curious and confidence squirrels in Greenwich Park; or browsing through the quirky fans in the aptly titled Fan Museum, a one of its kind in the world. Unlike other areas of London, this place definitely likes to sleep at night so make sure you come during the day when its most alive.

Chocolates, Greenwich Market

The Junk Shop, Greenwich

Greenwich Park, London

Greenwich Park, friendly squirrels

The squirrels in Greenwich Park

Perhaps what I’ve described to you isn’t London at all, and well I don’t really think it is because I’m not sure how well I’d do keeping up with the high-speed pace of London on a daily basis. Take the Underground as an example – where it’s often humid, stuffy, expensive and disturbingly overcrowded, exactly how I imagine hell to be. Every time I’m on it the only space I ever seem to find is under one man’s chin and another man’s armpit. Give me the Overground any day of the week I say!

Busy underground, London

Greenwich is probably best described as the perfect combination of country life and city dwelling. Quite simply, it’s the best of both.


Additional Information

How to get there: The quickest route is to catch the train from London Bridge, from there it only takes 5-8 minutes to arrive into Greenwich, or you can get the DLR from Bank or Canary Wharf into Cutty Sark and it’s super quick and easy too.

Alternatively you can catch a boat from South Bank (directly outside the London Eye), this takes approximately 35 minutes and is a really nice journey if the sun is shining).

Do you fancy a trip to Greenwich?



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'How different is Greenwich from the rest of London?' have 13 comments

  1. October 23, 2013 @ 9:14 am Chris

    That Junk Shop – I’ve meant to go in for YEARS but I still haven’t gotten around to it! It looks like a wonderland. Glad you’re enjoying the city. Give the Thames Path a good seeing to, it’s a nice 16ish miles from Charlton to Westminster and on a nice day you’ll love almost every step of it. Apart from perhaps the northern end of Deptford, where it gets a bit grotty. I got barked at by a drunk, for example.

    Reply

  2. October 23, 2013 @ 6:43 pm admin

    The Junk Shop has a very appropriate name!! It’s got some great books inside, and if you take the creaky stairs to the bottom floor you’ll discover some very cheeky videos circa 1985. I don’t have a habit of pointing out such erm, unsavoury things but some of the titles gave me a cheap chuckle worth sharing! The best bit about the Junk Shop is the little café, and the outdoor seating area which was a nice surprise.

    I’ll definitely try the walk, and I hope I bump into the barking man too. Thanks for the recommendation Chris!

    Reply

  3. October 27, 2013 @ 5:04 pm TheTuscan

    On what side of meridian 0 do you live? East or west?

    Reply

    • October 30, 2013 @ 9:06 am admin

      Hi Tuscan! I live slightly west, pourquoi? Are you a budding seafarer? hehe

      Reply

  4. November 2, 2013 @ 7:19 am Mike

    This was fantastic, Shing! All of this years knowing of and hearing about GMT this was the very post I’ve ever read on Greenwich! I love how your photos took me on a journey. But, yikes…watch out for those squirrels! They can get a bit…well, squirrely sometimes! Your photos are amazing and I would give that rhubarb and ginger treat a try! :)

    Reply

  5. November 2, 2013 @ 7:52 pm Mary {The World Is A Book}

    I so wish you were around last summer to meet and show us around Greenwich. We took a boat ride down the Thames to see the Prime Meridian line and missed the closing time. There was a little portion for tourists to pose outside the gates though. But, we did have fun walking around to see the shops and loved Greenwich Park. I need to go back and explore the market. Glad you’re enjoying your new neighborhood. I’ll take overground any day too :)

    Reply

  6. November 6, 2013 @ 7:24 pm Richard

    Call me weird but I actually like the tube. I only go to London about five times a year and the smell of the underground is always a highlight. I like trying to spot rats on the track while I’m waiting on the platform!

    Reply

    • November 9, 2013 @ 10:51 pm admin

      I do love the rats, and the efficiency of the tube, but not enough to put up with stampede of people! Richard, you are alone on this one!

      Reply

  7. November 15, 2013 @ 8:39 am Becky Padmore

    I love Greenwhich, it definitely has more of a village feel than the rest of London, I especially love the market although I love nearly all London markets 😉

    Reply

    • November 15, 2013 @ 9:34 pm admin

      Haha me too! I can’t resist going to the Ethiopian stall in Greenwich market, they make these things called Sambosas which drive me crazy!

      Reply

  8. November 28, 2013 @ 12:23 pm Lily La

    Greenwich is the town I’m from, and after 10 months away, seeing these pictures has really made me miss it. Is the candy shop near the DLR still there? Have you made a visit to Greenwich Market on the weekends? The food is amazing!

    Reply

    • November 29, 2013 @ 6:18 pm admin

      Hi Lily! Greenwich is a great place to live, isn’t it? I’ve not noticed a candy shop but I’ll make sure I scout around for it. Oh tell me about it, Greenwich Market has some incredible food, I can never resist walking past without buying something!

      Reply

  9. September 17, 2016 @ 9:36 am shez

    Hi,
    a friend of mine is going to the university in greenwich and we’re trying to helpher find budget accommodation (300-385 /month ) and a good neighborhood. she’s the first kid to go to college overseas in her fam and they’re worried because she is a girl and safety is important. can you help us with neighborhoods and tube lines?

    Reply


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