Old Royal Naval College Updated: 2 months ago

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The Old Royal Naval College is an architectural and historical gem and a UNESCO World Heritage site offering a glimpse into the city’s maritime heritage.

The buildings were designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. They are located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, right next to the Thames.

The buildings were built on the grounds of Greenwich Palace (1498-1694) and served as a naval hospital and a training establishment for the Royal Navy. They are a great example of English Baroque architecture, and their grandeur, symmetry, and details are exquisite, reminiscent of Royal palaces.

The main buildings are laid out in a way that leaves an open space between them, with views towards the Thames and Canary Wharf in one direction and the Queen’s House in the other. A statue of King George II is on the square between the buildings. In our opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful places in London, and we recommend stopping to take some pictures there.

In one of the buildings, you’ll find Painted Hall, which is often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the UK. The ceiling of the hall is decorated with paintings by James Thornhill, which depict significant events in the history of the British Navy.

Due to the impressive architecture, the location has been featured in various movies, such as Thor: The Dark World.

Old Royal Naval College is at the centre of Maritime Greenwich. The buildings in the surrounding area next to the Thames are charming and worthwhile to check out. You’ll also find other places to see such as Cutty Sark and Royal Maritime Museum. It’s a lovely place to walk along the Thames and enjoy the river views. There are also some places for food and drinks nearby, for example, the Trafalgar Tavern.

Getting there

Old Royal Naval College is in Greenwich, so there is no underground station nearby. The easiest way to get here is the Thames Clipper, the DLR, with a station at Cutty Sark, or a train to the Greenwich station, which is roughly 10 minutes walking distance away.


In the Greenwich area, you can find numerous places of interest, which you should check out while visiting the college. The Cutty Sark clipper ship is next to the college, and Greenwich Park">Greenwich Park and Observatory are within walking distance.

Nearest Stations

Cutty Sark - 4 min

DLR Zone: 2

Island Gardens - 8 min

DLR Zone: 2

Greenwich - 9 min

DLR Zone: 3

Activities from Get Your Guide