Old Royal Naval College
The Greenwich Palace, built by Henry VII hosts the headquarters of the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) since the late fifteenth century. Its proximity to the river Thames makes it a privileged strategic location. It is a sophisticated residence for the British navy that did not hide its architectural ostentation before the threats of its Spanish and French enemies in the naval battles. The Swiss architect, Hans Holbein, was in charge of building the palace and that its surroundings showed the economic splendor of which the English monarch presumed. Successive reforms carried out by Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, James 'Athenian' Stuart, Sir James Thornhill and Benjamin West brought a greater dimension to all the facilities. The daughters of the king, the future queens Mary and Elizabeth,
Anna of Denmark, wife of James I, continued to use it as a royal residence in 1615, but the Stuarts began to frequent the palace less and less until in the middle of the seventh century it fell into oblivion. The annex buildings erected by the Tudors were demolished by Charles II to make room for his new palace that tried to rival that of the French royal family at Versailles, but it was never the fixed residence of the English head of state.
The guided tours to the Old Royal Naval College include some stories about the customs of the aristocrats who stayed in it. The Tudors, their weddings and their always tense relations with the courtiers around them are an inexhaustible source of historical curiosities and anecdotes. Its surroundings show a high point in the history of the British Empire, which is why this palace has been a frequent set for television series and period films in which the majesty of the installations is portrayed. A movie scenario
What to see at the Old Royal Naval College
The Royal Hospital for the people of the sea was built to house the sailors already retired or who had suffered some incapacitation during the performance of their work. To learn more about the heroes, pirates and adventurers who lived their days in Greenwich, a guided tour is included with exclusive access to the Victorian Skittlle Alley and The Old Brewery where you can enjoy an aperitif and the traditional craft beer of the place.
If you want to discover this piece of history with five centuries of real and maritime history, you should not miss the visit to the ORNC since its facilities are in perfect condition and it is an architectural delight. From the twin domes of Wren to the wall paintings of Sir James Thornhill with 2,612 square meters are the largest in the United Kingdom. Naval battles fans will also find the visit irresistible as it has the most splendid reminder of Admiral Nelson in the pediment that dominates the courtyard of King William. Designed by Benjamin West, it pays homage to the great British naval hero, Lord Nelson.
Shcedules and prices
The opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm (8-18 am in the gardens), every day of the week. Admission is free to the twin domes of Wren. You can reach the ORNC with bus lines 177, 180, 188, 199, 286 and 386. Via the subway at the Greenwich Park and Cutty Sark DLR (Docklands Light Railway) stops and the trains leaving from Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Dartford bound for Greenwich.