It’s almost the end of Daylight Savings Time for another year (November 2nd already!), and it puts me in mind of my most recent trip to England. I’ve been to London many times, but until last year, I’d never visited Greenwich. Time for a day trip.
Of course, Greenwich is famous for giving its name to the prime Meridian, and the place where longitude is 0′ and Greenwich Mean Time begins. I had thought I was going just to see the observatory, situated very prettily up on a hill and boasting an excellent view, but the whole area was frankly lovely.
It’s full of history; it was a 15th century royal palace and later, the Royal Naval College. There’s all kinds of maritime history, too, with a clipper ship, The Cutty Sark, in dry dock there. I was particularly taken with the Queen’s House, built for Queen Anne (wife to James I). The buildings and verandas were wide and stately, the lawn vast and green. The Queen’s House is interesting in of itself, but it also doubles as a historical centre and art gallery.
I got a few surprises making my way through the Naval Academy buildings, which have mostly been appropriated by the University of Greenwich and the Music Conservatory. As I walked into one of the old chapels, one of the Music school’s opera students was singing his exam in front of a panel of judges and a few interested members of the public. It was quite glorious – and set the tone for the rest of my visit.
The town itself is very walkable, and I wandered around the Greenwich Market, and found a wee place for a nice refreshing gelato. And it certainly didn’t hurt that the day was sunny and bright and 25 degrees Celsius.
Turns out that what I thought was a nice day trip turned into a plan for me going back and seeing the rest of it.