LONDON – On 13th July 2020, the iconic Old Royal Naval College, part of Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, is safely reopening in line with government guidance. This stunning London landmark will once again offer public access to its buildings and expansive grounds with visitor and staff safety measures in place. The magnificent Painted Hall, King William Undercroft and interpretation gallery
are reopening for visitors with limited tickets each day and recommended advanced booking.
The Old Royal Naval College is also launching new smartphone tours for visitors to enjoy. The first of these, available for free on any smartphone using the Smartify app, will be a family tour for those visiting with children aged 5 – 12 years. The exciting Building Detectives tour takes families on a treasure trail around the beautiful outdoor spaces of the Old Royal Naval College. Following clues dotted around the site, the mission is to find out who the grand buildings were created for.
The grounds, with sweeping views of London’s skyline and the River Thames, will be open daily from 7am – 7pm. The Painted Hall, King William Undercroft, Visitor Centre Shop and Ticket Desk will be open from 10am – 5pm. The Chapel will be open on the reduced hours of 10am – 2pm. The Victorian Skittle Alley will remain closed until further notice.
There are plenty of events still to look forward to coming up at the Old Royal Naval College. Greenwich+Docklands International Festival has reimagined its 2020 festival to bring exciting outdoor arts to Greenwich and East London, from 28th August to 12th September. This year’s festival will celebrate the strength of community spirit, the NHS and the environment, encouraging audiences to relax after a season of isolation. The Luna Cinema will return with their open-air cinema to the riverside grounds this August with exciting films to sing and dance along to for long summer evenings. Also, look forward to welcoming Amber Markets back on site later this year to take visitors around the world with a selection of mouth-watering cuisine.
This Black History Month, the Old Royal Naval College will launch a timely exhibition aimed at understanding the diverse and intricate history of Greenwich and the Royal Hospital for Seamen. Curated by renowned Black British historian S. I. Martin, the exhibition will shine a light on Greenwich’s 18th and 19th Century history with stories of Black sailors in the British Navy.
Spaces must be booked in advance for tours and the Old Royal Naval College recommends that visitors bring their own headphones for the multimedia guides. Guided tours will be limited to groups of five people. Groups who wish to visit the site are welcome, with numbers limited to 25.
Visitor-facing staff and volunteers will wear protective visors to ensure safety.
While the Painted Hall café will be remaining close for a little while longer there will be food and drinks available to enjoy al fresco on the grounds. The Painted Hall toilets are fully accessible and include baby changing facilities. Card and mobile device payments are accepted, but no cash payments will be allowed.
Originally a Tudor palace, before being rebuilt as a hospital for seamen, the Old Royal Naval College has a rich history, with beautiful buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren. For those unable to visit, learn more about the Old Royal Naval College from home with a stunning free virtual tour narrated by Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones; Belgravia) and with an audio-described introduction to the site for blind and partially-sighted visitors, read by former Head of Conservation Will Palin.
The Old Royal Naval College reopens on 13th July 2020, and is located at King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. For more information, visit their website here