The Best Family Friendly Things To Do In Greenwich

If you are planning a family day out in London and you’re unsure where to choose, head to Greenwich in South East London.

Packed with family friendly attractions there are plenty of things to do in Greenwich for the whole family.

Greenwich is located on the banks of the River Thames, and is the home of time (something we could all do with more of) plus several historic landmarks.

Greenwich makes an ideal, purse-friendly day out with the kids, as many of the attractions on offer are free.

Read on for our round-up of fun things to do in Greenwich.

The Cutty Sark

One of the best things to do in London for the kids is to visit the Cutty Sark. The 150-year-old ship is the world’s only surviving tea clipper and makes for a fun family day out in Greenwich.

Open daily between 10 am and 5 pm, you can experience what life at sea was like back when the Cutty Sark raced across the ocean to bring the finest and freshest teas back to London.

Your entry ticket will allow you and your little ones to take the ship’s wheel and learn what it was like to navigate 963 tons of Victorian sea clipper through high seas. You can also walk beneath the shiny copper hull and meet the crew.

Hear all about life on the stormy seas from Jock Willis, the man who built the Cutty Sark and meet Captain Woodget, the longest serving sea master.

For an additional fee, you can explore the Captain’s Cabin and see where the crew slept in bunks, and even where they went to the toilet!

In keeping with tradition, afternoon tea can be served at the Cutty Sark Café, located under the hull where you can enjoy delicate finger sandwiches and cakes.

Pre-booking is essential at least three days before your visit. See website for details.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Next to the Cutty Sark you will find the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel.

The tunnel itself isn’t particularly exciting, but the kids will love an underground tunnel adventure that takes them 370 metres underneath the River Thames and links the Greenwich south bank to Island Gardens in Tower Hamlets.

There is a DLR station at Island Gardens that can take you into Canary Wharf, if you fancy going further afield.

Prime Meridian Line

Don’t miss the opportunity to get a selfie on the Prime Meridian Line, the home of Greenwich Mean Time London. The Meridian line is where East meets West at longitude 0˚.

Here you can stand with one foot in the East and the other in the West and discover the story behind the reference line for GMT. Share your selfie at #PrimeMeridian.

The Royal Observatory

There is lots to keep you busy at the Royal Observatory. Discover the Peter Harrison Planetarium, a must see for all sci-fi fans or wannabe stargazers.

Explore the universe from the comfort of your seat and learn about the night sky with commentary from real astronomers.

The planetarium has daily shows available to suit all ages; for Under 7’s Ted’s Space Adventure provides little ones with an adventure around the solar system with a teddy bear.

The show is 30 minutes long and has plenty of interactivity, music and rhymes and is a favourite amongst pre-schoolers.

For children aged 5+, choose the classic Explore the night Sky show or Meet the Neighbours performance, and for 7+ Moons and Counting helps you discover the moons of the solar system.

Be amazed by the Great Equatorial Telescope which has spent its time at the Royal Observatory since 1893 and is the largest telescope of its kind in the world.

Visit the Harrison clocks and Longitude Gallery or Flamsteed House where Astronomers Royal lived and worked and don’t miss the Shepherd Clock at the gate entrance which is the first ever clock to show Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to the public.

Don’t forget to enjoy the scenery and the beautiful views of London and Greenwich park from the hill at the Royal Observatory, where you can point out the spectacular landmarks across central London to the kids and take a moment to savour the view of the capital.

National Maritime Museum

The museum provides a fantastic day out for the family in London offering free entry to a wide range of activities for various ages. You can navigate the museum galleries using the family trails provided.

Collect your chosen trail from the Play & Explore trolley on the Great Map. Each dedicated trail will guide you around a different gallery where you can search for people, objects and stories along the way.

For families seeking a sensory exploration around the museum, there is a sensory explorer kit available.

The kit, created with the help of local families, enables you to take the family for a hands-on tour around the galleries and is particularly suited for early years children, children with special educational needs or disability families.

The AHOY gallery designed for under 7’s has plenty of hands-on things to see and do. Little ones can play at being pirates or go on their own polar exploration.

They can stoke the boiler of a steamship, immerse themselves in the interactive boatyard, or even pretend to buy and sell fish in the marketplace, perfect for mini entrepreneurs.

© National Maritime Museum, London

The AHOY gallery has ticketed entry at weekends and during school holidays but is free on weekdays during term time.

Afterwards, a short lift ride will take you to the Great Map Café a great place for refuelling after all the fun.

Located next to the café in the centre of the museum is the Great Map, a giant atlas to navigate with giant ships and interactive games.

© National Maritime Museum, London

Walk around the map using a touch screen tablet and you can explore the world as a submarine and build bridges across continents. Entry to the map and interactive games are all free.

The maritime museum has another café, the Parkside café and terrace, plus the gift shop where you can find a vast array of maritime and astronomy inspired souvenirs to take home as a reminder of the day out.

Emirates Air Line

Connecting the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks the UK’s first urban cable car ride provides a unique 360˚ view of London’s iconic buildings and attractions.

EmiratesAirlineCableCar

Taking a flight across the Thames, 90 metres high on the Emirates Air Line is an ideal way to show the kids a view of the capital by air without setting foot in a busy airport!

The ticket office is open daily, single or return fares are available and there are discounted fares for Oyster card or Travelcard holders.

Each cabin holds 10 passengers and fares can also be combined to include with the Aviation experience situated next door to the Greenwich Peninsula terminal building or with the Thames Clipper service so you can experience London by air and sea.

Greenwich Park

As Greenwich Park is a Royal Park, it is well equipped with flower, herb and orchard gardens along with a recently upgraded playground for the kids, a café and London’s largest herbaceous border.

Thanks to a £4.5million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Community Funds, The Royal Parks charity – which manages Greenwich Park –  has begun a major four-year project to restore the park’s historical landscape, create new habitats for wildlife, improve visitor facilities with a new café and toilets and developing new community events for local families – from nature and history walks and talks to fun-filled free play activities.

The Greenwich Park playground is located in the north-east corner and as you would expect, has a maritime theme.

Children can immerse themselves in a nature-inspired setting which uses loose, textured and natural materials such as logs, rope and bark to blend in with the park’s landscape.

Play elements are at varying heights so that children with disabilities and able-bodied children can play together.

(c) The Royal Parks

Greenwich Park’s popular rose garden, originally planted in 1960-61, boasts stunning beds laid out in a semi-circular design and planted with predominantly hybrid tea and floribunda roses.

It is located on the eastern side of the park and forms the backdrop to the Ranger’s House, an elegant Georgian villa which was originally the residence of the Park Ranger. 

It now belongs to English Heritage and houses The Wernher Collection, a remarkable collection of works of art amassed by diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher (1850-1912).

Old Royal Naval College

Situated close to Greenwich park and described as Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece, it’s not hard to see why.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to 18 acres of historic buildings and grounds to explore.

The Royal Naval College began its life as a royal hospital for seamen, was also constructed as a retirement home for veteran sailors and built on the site of the old Tudor palace where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were born.

The Painted Hall, which took 18 years to complete, is the largest painted interior in Europe is not to be missed and there is also a visitor centre which has interactive exhibits available for all ages.

The Old Royal Naval College, and Greenwich in general, has been featured in many major film productions Pirates of the Caribbean – Thor Dark World Les Misérables and Cinderella are just a few of the big productions that have been filmed here.

Why not take the kids on a ‘find the movie scene‘ tour?

Greenwich Market

Full of quirky gifts, arts and crafts and delicious street food. It’s an ideal opportunity to introduce the kids to some new cuisines whilst out and about.

With around 48 different food stalls there are plenty of options available to suit all tastes.

We like The Puppet Art stall who are at the market on Saturdays and Sundays and we guarantee the kids will like their funky selection of puppets and marionettes.

The area surrounding the market is also home to numerous shops, bars and cafes and there are several hotels in the area if you want to stay overnight.

Up At The O2

For a truly unique adventure with older children/teenagers and a good way to encourage family bonding, try the climb over The O2.

Up at The O2 greenwich

You can opt for Daytime, Sunset or Twilight climb times, all climbers must be at least 8 years old and 1.2m tall.

The 90-minute guided excursion takes you on a climb over The O2 via a fabric walkway which is suspended 2 m above The O2 roof.

The highest point is a whopping 52 m above sea level but all your efforts will be rewarded at the observation platform with spectacular views over London.

What are your favourite things to do in Greenwich?

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