There are many different ways to get to Greenwich – from a quick train ride to a scenic boat trip along the river. Find out which route best suits your travel style and needs.
By river boat
With its rich naval heritage, arriving in Greenwich by boat seems somehow fitting. Riverboats sail regularly from Westminster, Embankment, London Bridge City, Canary Wharf and Tower piers.
The fastest route is on MBNA Thames Clippers’ catamarans, which depart every 20 minutes. Getting to Greenwich pier takes just 35 minutes from the London Eye pier, 25 minutes from London Bridge pier and 20 minutes from Tower pier – passing famous sights such as the Coca-Cola London Eye, Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben. You can also disembark at North Greenwich pier for The O2 and the Emirates Air Line cable car or even continue on through the Thames Barrier to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. No wonder it’s popular with both tourists and weekday commuters.
City Cruises is ideal for sightseeing trips with its hop-on, hop-off ticket offers, live commentary (free audio guides available in other languages), and cruise experiences that include lunch, dinner or afternoon tea.
Thames River Services, the oldest established passenger sightseeing company on the Thames, also offers river services to Greenwich from Westminster or the picturesque St Katherine Docks. Plus, you have the option to go via the impressive steel Thames Barrier structure (note: this option is not available from November through to the end of March).
From Greenwich Station itself, it’s just a five-minute walk to the heart of the village – taking you past many tempting cafes, restaurants and pubs. If you’re heading directly for the Royal Observatory Greenwich or the National Maritime Museum, earmark a good spot for lunch or dinner on your way.
Remember to check your journey before travelling as due to rebuilding work at London Bridge station there may be changes to existing services. For example, from August 2016 Southeastern services between Greenwich and Cannon Street will not call at London Bridge until further notice.
For sightseeing on Greenwich Peninsula or if you’re going to The O2 to see your favourite musician perform live, to eat dinner, to see a film or to have a big night out, take the Jubilee line to North Greenwich Underground Station on the Tube.
North Greenwich station is right next to The O2 and also the Emirates Air Line cable car.
The Jubilee line runs through stations such as London Bridge (12 minutes away from North Greenwich), Canary Wharf (1 minute away) and West End shopping favourite Bond Street (25 minutes away), so travelling in from Central London is easy.
By Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway, or DLR as it is best known, has two stations in Greenwich: Greenwich station, where national trains also arrive; and Cutty Sark, located close to its namesake, the historic tea clipper. There is also Island Gardens station just across the river, which is accessible via the underwater Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
If you get the opportunity to, take a seat right at the front of the DLR train (it’s automated so there’s no driver) and pretend you’re the one in the driving seat. Alternatively, sit at the back and watch the rails snake away behind you. As most DLR stations are elevated from street level, you’ll feel like you’re on a low-key rollercoaster at times.
The DLR connects Greenwich and Cutty Sark stations to Bank (about 20 minutes away); to Stratford, ideal for shopping at Westfield Stratford City mall; to Tower Gateway, for the Tower of London and Tower Bridge; and to London City Airport.
It also connects to Lewisham in the South, from where you can take a train to Eltham Station and visit another jewel of the Royal Borough of Greenwich: Eltham Palace and Gardens – a favourite childhood haunt of King Henry VIII.
By cable car
The UK’s only urban cable car, the Emirates Air Line, stretches over the river Thames – connecting Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks - giving you a chance to see London from a whole new angle (and height).
The journey across takes less than 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to explore local attractions such as The O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula side, and The Crystal on the Royal Docks side.
There are also various Emirates Air Line extras on offer, from slightly longer “night flights” to the Discovery experience, which includes an on-board video tour, free entrance to Emirates Aviation Experience and a souvenir in-flight guide.
Don’t forget to check the timetable beforehand – and if there are very strong winds or thunder and lightning, double check that the service is still running.
Just over the river from Greenwich sits London City Airport (LCA), with flights arriving from all over the world.
The airport is handily connected to the DLR and Tube network, so you can get off your flight and be in Greenwich (changing at Westferry) and North Greenwich (changing at Canning Town for the Jubilee line) within minutes.
Why not stop off at Woolwich Arsenal to explore a different side of the Royal Borough of Greenwich? Visit the modern riverside development of Royal Arsenal Woolwich – home to the Greenwich Heritage Centre and some lovely new places to eat and drink.
The DLR network also connects to the Jubilee line at Canary Wharf station, from where you can take the Tube to other step-free stations including North Greenwich (for The O2), Stratford, Southwark, Waterloo, Westminster and Green Park. See how easy it is in this Transport for London video, in which presenter Sophie Morgan makes the accessible journey from Waterloo to The O2.
All London piers are wheelchair accessible too. Check with individual river service providers to see how accessible their boats are before booking.