With 32 boroughs to explore and over 1500 square kilometres in size, London is one of the largest cities in Europe and sees millions of tourists visit each year. The city has a lot to offer guests of the Montcalm restaurant and hotel, with each distinct district and area having a lot beneath the surface. The character of London is mosaic-like, many smaller parts creating a whole image. But if you look closely at each separate tile, they hold their own patterns, traditions and colours within. The same, of course, goes for Greenwich.
With its thousands of years of history, Greenwich’s influence reaches far further than just the city. Indeed it was the name given to many areas in “New England”, or what would become territories in the USA. Even today, there’s a whole part of New York City named after this London borough. So what is it about Greenwich that is so influential? Guests at the Montcalm Hotel Chiswell Street needn’t travel far to find out, this southeast borough is easy to reach on the DLR line and via the Jubilee Line and whilst the historic buildings and landmarks are unique in and of themselves, there is plenty for tourists to enjoy on the fronts of entertainment, shopping and culture too.
History Of Greenwich
The birthplace of famous monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the area of Greenwich rose to prominence due to the building of the Palace of Placentia in the 15th century. Though the palace no longer stands – it was replaced with the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors after the English Civil War, there is still a definitive royal feel to the borough. Indeed, Greenwich’s integration into London was only part of the story, the historic parish of Blackheath stretching way back even before Norman times.
Greenwich’s wealth was influenced by the appearance of royal courts here, but it saw further development in the 18th century. During this time, grand townhouses and parks were developed as Greenwich became a resort for the wealthy to escape the hubbub of central London. During the 16th and all the way to the first half of the 20th century, Greenwich was a maritime hub for trade and commerce.
Where Is Greenwich?
Greenwich is situated about 5.5 miles downstream from Charing Cross and from its banks, visitors will be able to see the Isle Of Dogs and London’s international business district – Canary Wharf. Greenwich can be reached via Greenwich and Maze Hill stations on the National Rail trainline and via the DLR to the Cutty Sark. London Underground’s Jubilee Line serves North Greenwich which brings visitors outside the O2 Arena. Guests of the Barbican Rooms and other tourists can even reach Greenwich via boat to Greenwich Pier via the London River Services.
Things To Do In Greenwich
Greenwich’s diverse history is incredibly fascinating, and there are plenty of ways for guests of the hotel and spa at Montcalm to learn about its past. There are even more ways for visitors to enjoy the modern city too, from shopping to entertainment. Here are just a few of them.
National Maritime Museum
Greenwich’s seafaring history is immortalised by this beautiful museum on the banks of the Thames. Free to visit, the National Maritime Museum explores Britain’s role in ocean navigation, trade and warfare, with models, replicas and artefacts from hundreds of years of history. Built in the former Royal Hospital School for the orphans of British sailors, the National Maritime Museum is a must for not only the history of Greenwich, but that of the British Empire.
Though a part of the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark deserves a mention in and of itself as a Greenwich attraction. Dating back to 1869 when it was built in Scotland, this clipper ship was one of the last – and fastest – of its kind built before the introduction of steam powered ships. The trade ship now has a permanent home on the banks of Greenwich where it acts as a museum vessel and a symbol of Greenwich’s maritime history.
Greenwich Market is located near Greenwich Church Street and College Approach, and is a sheltered market showcasing local crafts and art, homeware, tourist gifts and local street food. The market is especially important to the Greenwich community, having existed there since the 14th century.
One of the most popular royal parks in London, Greenwich Park is a beautiful green space bookended on one side by the National Maritime Museum and includes attractions such as the Greenwich Meridian Line and the Royal Observatory, both situated atop a hill in the middle of the park that provides stunning views over the Thames and Canary Wharf. Dating back to the 18th century, the park was originally the hunting ground for the Palace of Placentia which was eventually demolished in the 1690s’.
Not only is the Royal Observatory an historic planetarium, but its museum explores many of the amazing inventions and innovations of science over the last few centuries. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park was first built in 1658 and was commissioned by King Charles II and due to its location on the Greenwich Meridian, has been instrumental in the development of navigation and astronomy over the years.
Moving away from Greenwich Park, the O2 Arena is now a large entertainment venue and shopping centre complex that was built at the beginning of the 21st century. The O2 Arena is now an iconic part of the London skyline and was originally an exhibition centre when it was first built. Since its conception, the O2 Arena has become a music venue that hosts some of the biggest stars in the world, with a capacity of 20,000 people.
A Slice Of Reality
This unique sculpture sits on the banks of the Thames between Greenwich Park and the O2 Arena. Essentially the cross-section of a sand dredger, the ships’ vertical slicing gives a look into the living quarters and deck of the ship. A unique addition to the The Line East London sculpture trail that leads all the way to Stratford, a Slice of Reality by Richard Wilson adds a modern and radical sensibility to the rusting docklands.