Things to do in Greenwich: two-day guide

Find out what to do in Greenwich with our two-day guide to the historic London area, including Greenwich attractions and places to eat and drink.

Day one

Today you’ll take in some of Greenwich’s most famous sites, including the observatory, park and a cruise along the river.

Tuck into a hearty breakfast

Kick off your day with some of Heap’s Sausage Café and Shop’s prized sausages. Served either as part of a full English breakfast or simply in a bap, these bangers come in various flavours, from the traditional to the spicy. Alternatively, fill up on continental-style delights such as fresh pastries from Italian delicatessen and restaurant Al Pancino at the Spread Eagle.

Explore time and space

After you’ve had your fill, venture through nearby Greenwich Park to the “home of time”, where you can straddle the Prime Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Then, journey from the Earth to the stars at London’s only planetarium, during one of the Peter Harrison Planetarium’s thrilling shows (times vary depending on the day).

Take time to explore Greenwich Park from here, including The Wilderness deer park, bandstand and General Wolfe Statue.

Savour lunch with a view

You’ll have now worked up an appetite, so refuel with a stone-baked pizza or other tempting hot and cold dishes on the terrace at the quaint Pavilion Cafe. From here, catch a glimpse of London’s skyline – you can get an even better view just footsteps away in the park, taking in the river Thames and city skyscrapers from one of London’s best viewpoints and Instagram hotspots.

Indulge in an arty afternoon

Walk off lunch with a leisurely stroll downhill, as you wander through Greenwich Park towards the river, where you’re well placed to take advantage of Greenwich’s artistic treasures. Start by delving into 400 years of artworks within the Inigo Jones-designed Queen’s House – don’t forget to look up at Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Wright's beautiful ceiling.

If you’d rather get up close to frescoes, join one of the Painted Hall Ceiling Tours at the Old Royal Naval College. During the hour-long tour you’ll learn about the history of the magnificent ceiling which is currently undergoing restoration - it’s truly one of the more unique things to see in Greenwich.

If you’re visiting from Sunday to Wednesday, don’t miss Georgian hidden gem Ranger’s House, which houses around 700 Dutch Old Master paintings, Renaissance works and decorative gothic pieces that make up the collection left by 19th-century diamond mogul Sir Julius Wernher.

See the Thames at twilight

Put your feet up on one of MBNA Thames Clippers’ boats as it heads upstream. Enjoy a drink or snack from the onboard cafe and spot the sights as the sun goes down, including Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, before returning to Greenwich for dinner.

Go out on the town

There are plenty of Greenwich restaurants and bars close to the pier: enjoy a few beers at the Old Brewery or spread out on the riverside terrace at gastropub The Sail Loft. Alternatively, head into the town centre, where Japanese-Danish fusion food at Sticks n Sushi, French fare at Champagne + Fromage, and modern British dining and gin cocktails at the Rivington await.

Day two

Your second day in Greenwich includes a beautiful palace, delicious pub lunch, and a chance to see Greenwich from up high.

Have an early breakfast

Rise early for a buffet breakfast in Greenwich at Elements Restaurant, which is handily located next to Greenwich railway station. Take your pick from all the usual breakfast classics, including bacon and eggs, pastries, fruit and more.

Visit a hidden gem

Catch one of Southeastern rail’s trains to Mottingham from Greenwich station (via a connection at Lewisham). You’ll arrive just 10 minutes’ walk away from Eltham Palace. Wander around the magnificent building, which fuses stunning 1930s art deco design with medieval fortifications; and make sure to explore the mature gardens featuring a picture-pretty herbaceous border.

Order a pub lunch

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Take the bus to Greenwich Peninsula for a pub lunch at The Pilot. Soak up the atmosphere of the refurbished venue which dates back to 1800, and more recently featured in Britpop group Blur’s music video, Parklife. When it comes to food, choose British pub classics such as fish and chips, a steak or burger, or opt for one of the more experimental dishes, from harissa lamb chop to beetroot mousse.

Spend an afternoon in the air

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Hop aboard the Emirates Air Line cable car, for a trip high up over the Thames from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. You’ll spot London landmarks such as Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park en route during the seven-minute journey each way.

After you return to Greenwich, head to NOW Gallery to discover the latest in contemporary art and design. This gallery hosts regular exhibitions from artists, designers and other creative minds in the form of solo shows and live works, as well as outdoor works throughout the Greenwich Peninsula.

Enjoy dinner and cocktails

Dine on worldwide treats during dinner at one of The O2’s eclectic restaurants. From Brazilian street food at Cabana and top notch steaks at Gaucho, to Thai dishes at Busaba Eathai there’s a host of cuisines to enjoy. Other Greenwich Peninsula restaurants include modern British restaurant Craft, all-day dining eatery and wine bar Greenwich Kitchen, and Basque-inspired Vinotech Compass.

End your night on a high

Arrive at The O2 in time for the Up at The O2 Sunset Climb at 8.30pm. As well as being able to walk on top of one of London’s most iconic buildings, you’ll also be treated to sunset views across London on the 90-minute adventure.

With the adrenaline still pumping, reward your bravery with a cocktail at Eighteen Sky Bar on the 18th floor of Intercontinental London – The O2, or opt for classic and signature tipples in The O2’s NY-LON Lounge Bar.

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