September 19, 2016

Cruising the Thames to Greenwich

London is no longer a major port city but the River Thames still bustles with barges, yachts and sightseeing cruises. So it seemed only fitting that we take to the water for our journey to the World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich


The River Thames, London


We boarded a Thames Clipper high-speed catamaran at Embankment Pier. The journey to Greenwich Pier took about 40 minutes, with seven stops enroute.



The Aurora Clipper


St. Paul's and Blackfriars Bridge


The Millennium Bridge



Greenwich Pier


The attractions of Maritime Greenwich are spread across the grounds of Greenwich Park, the oldest of the Royal Parks.


Greenwich Street Sign



Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, by Yinka Shonibare


Greenwich Park


View from the Hill - O2 Arena


We began our visit at the top of the hill at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World.  The red Time Ball on top of Flamsteed House drops at 1 p.m. every day.


Flamsteed House, Royal Observatory Greenwich


Entrance to the Royal Observatory


The Dolphin Sundial

The Red Time Ball on Flamsteed House


The Meridian Courtyard


The Meridian Line, 0ยบ Longitude


The Octagon Room, Flamsteed House, designed by Sir Christopher Wren


Replica of a Telescope Tube. The angle of vision was adjusted
by moving the tube up and down the rungs of the ladder.


Next we toured the National Maritime Museum. At the time of our visit the museum was attempting to raise funds to purchase the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, commissioned after Britain’s defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. In ten weeks they raised £1.5 million in donations! The painting has now been removed from public display but will return in October at the reopening of the Queen's House, which is currently closed for renovations. I'll tell you more about the National Maritime Museum in a future post.


National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

 
Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich


The Queen's House


Our final stop in Greenwich was the Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper. The ship’s hull rests on a huge glass structure housing a cafeteria and the world’s largest collection of merchant navy figureheads. (A figurehead is a carving, usually of a human figure, built into a ship’s bow.)


The Tea Clipper Cutty Sark


Upper Deck of the Cutty Sark


Map of the Cutty Sark's Cargoes from Around the World



Hull of the Cutty Sark


Hull of the Cutty Sark


Collection of Ship Figureheads


We didn't visit the Peter Harrison Planetarium but I did find the BFG Dream Jar of American astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, and enjoyed my first elderflower beverage on the Gagarin Terrace.



Peter Harrison Planetarium


Buzz Aldrin's BFG Dream Jar:
Explore. Dream. Discover.

The Weller Astronomy Galleries


The Gagarin Terrace


Elderflower Beverage



Statue of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin,
the First Human in Space


After lunch in the garden terrace of The Old Brewery, we boarded a westbound river bus to Bankside Pier and the Tate Modern art gallery. The Tate has just completed a major expansion that includes a new tower, the Switch House, with a popular top floor viewing terrace. If you’re claustrophobic, you won’t enjoy the jam-packed elevator ride but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic London views.


Tate Modern Art Gallery


View from the Switch House Viewing Terrace






The vastness of Turbine Hall dwarfed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Tree made of dead branches, roots and trunks. I first saw an example of his work, Forever Bicycles, in Venice. 


Turbine Hall, Tate Modern


Tree (2010) by Ai Weiwei
Tate Modern



Forever Bicycles by Ai Weiwei, Venice


From the Tate Modern we boarded another river bus to Millbank Pier and the Tate Britain but unfortunately the gallery was about to close. Before returning to our hotel we had fish and chips for dinner at Seafresh, a restaurant I’d enjoyed on my first visit to London. Then it was back to our room to pack our bags for our morning departure to Cornwall.


Tate Britain





Seafresh Fish and Chips


My Tip for the Day:
Consider using London’s river boats for a scenic and relaxing way to get around the city.

Related Post:
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich


2 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your A - Z postings. Your Destination Fiction photos, comments and suggestions are wonderful. Some of the places I have visited and seen, some are on my list. Great work!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jerry. I'm very glad you enjoyed them.

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