Royal Observatory, London: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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Royal Observatory Tours & Activities

About Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich has been one of the most influential structures of the British History. It all started after King Charles II ordered a royal commission to look into investing in Astronomy. The commission recommended the foundation of an observatory to make detailed analysis for timekeeping, navigation and cartography.

Sir Christopher Wren was appointed the architect of the observatory owing to this profound knowledge in Astronomy. All these incidents truly marked the beginning of the new era of astronomy at Greenwich. The chief architect Wren suggested using the dilapidated Greenwich castle as the site for the construction of the observatory.

The location was finalized for the construction as it has solid foundation and was located at an elevated place. The very first building of the observatory was the Flamsteed House. The first astronomer of the Royal Observatory was John Flamsteed, who held the post for nearly 42 years.

The observatory is about 300 years old and till date there have been only 10 astronomers. With time, the Royal Observatory marked the source of the prime meridian in the late 19th century and divided the world between eastern and western hemispheres. Greenwich Meridian was chosen to work as the prime meridian in the year 1884.

Best Time to Visit Royal Observatory

The distance between Royal Observatory and the London City Centre is about 7.8 miles and it takes about 26 minutes to reach the observatory if you are travelling via A200 and it takes 28 minutes if you are travelling through the A200 and A2 roads. The Royal Observatory can also be reached by means of DLR.

The nearest DLR is Cutty Sark DLR, which connects all the important points of London. If you want to travel by rail, you can take a train to the Blackheath railway station. This popular railway station is well connected with all the major railway junctions of London like the London Cannon Street, London Bridge or London Victoria, and London Charing Cross.

What Not to Miss at Royal Observatory

Some places to visit near Royal Observatory

1. Cutty Sark: 
Cutty Sark happens to be the world’s largest surviving tea clipper that was built towards the end of the golden age of sail. Tourists love to explore this 19th-century ship and acquire knowledge about how tea was brought here from China. This ship is also considered to be the fastest ship of its time.

2. National Maritime Museum: 
National Maritime Museum stands as a testimony to the great royal navy of Britain. This museum charts the timeline of the great British Admiral Horatio Nelson. Most of his personal belongings can also be seen at this museum.

3. Queen’s House: 
Queen’s House is yet another place of tourist attraction near the Royal Observatory that showcases intricate artworks dating back more than 400 years. You will surely be amazed by the vintage charm and the royal history of this place.

Things to do in Royal Observatory

1. Stroll around Greenwich Park: 
The Greenwich park happens to be one of the oldest parks in London. It is known for its amazing and breathtaking views of the River Thames and the city of London. This place was once upon a time a hunting park and was home to herds of deer.

2. Shop souvenirs in the Greenwich Market: 
If you love collecting souvenirs then the best place to go shopping is the Greenwich Market. This market is open 24x7 and is considered to be one of the hidden gems of London. It is very popular for its amazing crafts collections and antique artefacts.

Other Essential Information About Royal Observatory

1. Location:
 The royal observatory is located at the Black heath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ, United Kingdom.

2. Timings: 
The Royal Observatory opens from 10 AM in the morning and closes at 5 PM in the evening.

3. Entry Fee: 
The entry fee for the Royal Observatory is in the range of £7–16.

4. Photography allowance: 
Taking photographs is allowed inside the Royal Observatory.

5. Alternate name: 
The alternate name of the Royal Observatory is Royal Observatory Greenwich.

6. Distance from London city centre: 
The royal observatory is situated at an approximate distance of around 7.8 miles from the London City Centre. It usually takes about 26 minutes to reach the Royal Observatory from the city centre.

Royal Observatory Greenwich facts

1. The observatory was founded in the year 1670 by King Charles II in order to develop better navigation systems for trade and exploration.

2. Sir Christopher Wren, who was the advisor to King Charles II for the development of Royal Observatory, happened to be known for his work as an architect and he also had a flourishing career as a professor of Astronomy in the University of Oxford.

3. You can literally stand on astride the prime meridian at the Royal Observatory. It means you can have one of your feet on the eastern hemisphere and the other on the western hemisphere.

4. The time ball at Greenwich was initially used in the year 1833 to allow ship captains to set their chronometers with utmost accuracy.

5. The most widely held onion dome was initially constructed from papier mâché and the same was damaged twice in the course of the Second World War.

6. The astronomers appointed in the Royal Observatory Greenwich happen to stay in their posts for a long period of time. Till date, there were only 10 astronomers on duty.

7. If you take a walk from the National Maritime Museum to the steep hill in Greenwich Park you can sight the River Thames along with the amazing architecture of the city of Greenwich in a single view.

Royal Observatory, also known as Royal Observatory Greenwich is one of the most widely held observatories that overlooks the River Thames. This observatory has played a great role in the history of Astronomy and Navigation as the prime meridian passes through it.

The observatory was commissioned in the year 1675 by the great King Charles II. The foundation stone of this observatory was led on the 10th of August 1675. The very first astronomical royal appointed by King Charles II was John Flamsteed. It took over one year for the building to get completed and was very popularly known as the Flamsteed house. 
Tourists love to visit the Royal Observatory and stand on the meridian line with one foot on the west and another foot on the east.

You can have a sight of some of the wonderful views of the city of London from this observatory. The observatory now has a guided audio-visual tour guide that lets the visitors gain knowledge about how the scientists were able to map the seas and stars in those times. The Royal Observatory also hosts some coach parties as well as beer parties from time to time. Attracting mainly historical enthusiasts, this iconic site offers an insight into the bygone times of London.

Places to Eat in Royal Observatory

1. Parkside Café and Terrace: 
Parkside Café and Terrace is one of the most loved places to delight your taste buds near the Royal Observatory. It is also situated at a walkable distance from the Greenwich Park and the National Maritime Museum.

The restaurant has special menus for children and table service for adults. You can witness the breathtaking views of many popular architectural marvels while having food at this place.

2. Great Map Café: 
Great Map Café is considered to be one of the best places to have coffee near the Royal Observatory. It is known for its upmarket ambience and special deals for kids. 

Places to Stay near Royal Observatory

1. Moxy London Excel:
Known for its amazing location, Moxy London lies at 1014 Dockside Road, London. It has an awesome vibe and all the modern amenities to make your stay totally comfortable and lavish.

2. Doubletree by Hilton London Greenwich: 
The Doubletree by Hilton London Greenwich is located at the Catherine Grove Greenwich London. It happens to be one of the excellent romantic hotels lying in the heart of the city. You will surely fall in love with the charming décor and luxury treatment offered by this place.

Shows at Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory runs a number of shows on a daily basis. Tourists can take a tour of the universe from the comfort of your seat at this planetarium. Some of the most popular shows at the Royal Observatory are as follows:

- Moons Beyond Counting

- The Sky Tonight Live

- Ted's Space Adventure: special under-7s show

- Meet the Neighbours

- Morning Stars Planetarium Show

- Young Astronomers Workshop

- Family Space

Travellers' tip before visiting Royal Observatory

Check these travellers' tips before visiting the Royal Observatory in London

1. You should maintain silence inside the premises of the observatory and also during the shows so that your fellow visitors do not get disturbed.

2. You should take photographs inside the planetarium after the show has started.

3. You should not carry outside food into the planetarium complex

4. You should not litter in and around the premises of the Royal Observatory.

5. You should carry valid tickets with you to the observatory.
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