Discover Royal Museums of Greenwich and stand on the Prime Meridian

June 8, 2023

London is full of surprises, from medieval castles, Victorian architecture and parks to modern tourist attractions. You would need weeks and weeks to discover everything that London can offer. But if there is one special place that you have to visit on your holiday in London it is for sure Greenwich and all museums that are part of it.

Royal Museums Greenwich comprises the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House. Cutty Sark is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper. Most of the hull fabric you see today dates back to its original construction. Clipper ships are marked by three design characteristics – a long, narrow hull, a sharp bow which cuts through the waves rather riding atop – and three raking masts. Cutty Sark is 150 years old. During its years as a British merchant ship, Cutty Sark visited sixteen different countries and travelled the equivalent of two and a half voyages to the moon and back. Cutty Sark takes its name from a poem by Robert Burns called Tam O’Shanter. It refers to a short nightie worn by one of the main characters in the poem, a young, attractive witch called Nannie. Launched on 22 November 1869 in Dumbarton, Scotland, it embarked on its maiden voyage from London to Shanghai on 16 February 1870. On its first voyage, Cutty Sark carried ‘large amounts of wine, spirits and beer’, and came back from Shanghai loaded with 1.3 million pounds of tea. Cutty Sark was built to last for just thirty years but served as a working ship for fifty-two years, a training ship for twenty-two years and has been open to visitors in Maritime Greenwich for sixty years.

National Maritime Museum is home of the world’s largest maritime library and archive collection. The Library collection includes over 100,000 books, 20,000 pamphlets, 20,000 bound periodicals including 200 current titles, and over 12,000 rare books spanning every aspect of maritime history, including: emigration, navigation, piracy, astronomy, shipping companies, shipwrecks, biographies, the two World Wars, horology, Merchant and Royal Navy. Also included are many original documents, manuscripts, atlases, maps, sea charts and periodicals. There are 6,000 books and printed resources available to study on open access shelves.

Dont miss to visit the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London. Home to an internationally renowned art collection, Inigo Jones’ architectural masterpiece is the first Classical building in the UK. Entry is free.

On this trip you should visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich – home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian of the world and London’s Planetarium. Stand on the historic Prime Meridian of the World at Royal Observatory Greenwich, the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Discover the remarkable story behind the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time and visit the Historic Royal Observatory, our Time galleries and Great Equatorial Telescope. Look out for the green laser which marks the Meridian Line in the evening sky from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park towards the London Skyline

Since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has divided the eastern and western hemispheres of the earth – just as the equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres. In 1884 the Prime Meridian was defined by Transit Circle telescope at the Royal Observatory which was built by Sir George Biddell Airy, the 7th Astronomer Royal, in 1850. The cross-hairs in the eyepiece of the telescope precisely defined Longitude 0° for the world. For more information about Royal Museums Greenwich visit their official website.