Stand astride the historic line that divides but yet unites the world at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. The venue is home to the historic Prime Meridian – the line which officially divides East and West, as well as providing a global reference for navigation and shipping.
The museum is also home to an excellent exhibition about time and a collection of clocks that revolutionised the practice of establishing one’s position at sea.
Set on a large hill overlooking Maritime Greenwich, the site affords dazzling views of the Thames, the Royal Hospital, National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House.
The museum, housed in historic Flamsteed House, is split into halves. One section looks at the timepieces that Greenwich is rightly famous for, while the other explores the science of astronomy.
The section on time charts the history of timekeeping since the 14th century. Central to the exhibition is the longitude problem. This tells the story of the race to discover a system for determining longitude at sea.
A real highlight of this section of the museum is the opportunity to see watch maker John Harrison’s timekeepers up close. Harrison has gone down in history as the man who solved the longitude problem, and the Royal Observatory has many of the timepieces the clockmaker used to do it.
The other half of the museum is dedicated to space. This section of the museum contains a planetarium, the country’s largest refracting telescope, and the free to enter Weller Astronomy Galleries.
The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is one of London’s very best museums. The venue is home to the world famous Prime Meridian as well as some of the most significant timepieces in the history of timekeeping.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Royal Observatory
Is there an admission fee?
Yes, adults currently pay £14.40 with children paying £7.20.
What is the address of the site?
The full address of the museum is: The Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich SE10 8XJ.
How can I get to the Royal Observatory?
The Royal Observatory is located in historic Greenwich. The town is just 8 minutes away from central London by rail, or 20 minutes away by DLR. There are also several river services which call regularly at Maritime Greenwich.
Routes to the Royal Observatory:
- Greenwich DLR/rail (20 minute walk via King William Walk)
- Cutty Sark DLR (15 minute walk via King William Walk)
- Maze Hill rail station (15 minute walk via Park Vista)
- Blackheath rail station (20 minute walk across the heath)
Wheelchair users should note that the museum is at the top of the hill in Royal Greenwich Park. There is a wheelchair accessible route but it is steep and uphill.
Bus travel to the venue
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is served by the following buses routes: 53, 54, 202 and 380.
What are the best days and times to visit the venue?
The Royal Observatory is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. The attraction is also open on Bank Holidays. The quietest times to visit the museum are during the week between 3 and 5pm.
Does the Royal Observatory offer audio guides?
Yes. The audio guides are included in the cost of admission and are available in nine languages: English, Français, Deutsch, Español, Italiano, Português Brasileiro, 日本語, Русский язык and 简体中文.