Maritime Greenwich

Famous for landmarks such as the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory, Maritime Greenwich also features hidden historic gems, including Roman remains and ancient burial grounds.

Greenwich was an ideal place for early settlement, with flood plain gravel backed up by a higher area to the south. We know there were Roman settlements at Greenwich, but the history of the region could stretch back even further.

Home of royalty

In the tenth century, the region was in the hands of the Danes and, in 1012, Danish soldiers infamously murdered Archbishop Alfege at the site where St Alfege church now lies.

The Danish connection ended in 1414. Soon after, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester built a fine house on the riverside which was to become the Royal Palace of Placentia. This would be the favourite home of the Tudor monarchs, the birth place of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

The Stuarts also favoured Greenwich, with Anne of Denmark - the wife of James I - commissioning the Queen's House, the first true Renaissance building in England.

Rich in naval history

The Tudor palace was demolished to make way for a new palace complex. Only one wing, King Charles' Court, was completed before the royal palace was forsaken in favour of new sites upstream.

However, the majestic Baroque group of buildings was completed by William and Mary to become the Royal Naval Hospital. The hospital was closed in 1869, and the buildings were taken over by the Old Royal Naval College.

When the college left the site in 1997 the buildings were passed to the Greenwich Foundation, which leases the Royal Courts to the University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music.

The Queen's House has been part of the National Maritime Museum since 1937 and it houses the museum's outstanding collection of paintings.

Greenwich Park, which once formed part of the royal palace as a hunting ground, is home to the Royal Observatory of 1675, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Greenwich led the world in maritime and scientific traditions. This resulted in the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time becoming adopted as world standards.

World Heritage Site

Maritime Greenwich was inscribed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 1997 and is a growing London tourist attraction.

Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site website