London audio tour: Greenwich: Where Time Begins

Greenwich: Where Time Begins

Walking Tour

75 mins

About the Tour

See where time begins on this walking tour around Greenwich.

The tour starts on the north bank of the River Thames where you can admire the famous view of Greenwich as painted by Canaletto. You'll walk under the river, using the century-old foot tunnel which was once used by dockworkers to emerge to the striking view of the famous Tea Clipper, the Cutty Sark. The tour ends at the top of Greenwich Park where you'll find the former Royal Observatory, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and see the actual Meridian Line. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity of visiting the Discover Greenwich Museum with displays covering the history from the original medieval palace to modern times, and you'll see the iconic buildings of the former Royal Naval Hospital and the Queen's House.

By the end of the tour, you'll discover:

• Why the Tea Clipper is called the Cutty Sark
• Where Sir Walter Raleigh laid his cloak so Queen Elizabeth I could avoid getting wet feet
• How Christopher Wren came under budget when constructing the Royal Observatory.
• The river steps where Queen Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake, and Queen Elizabeth II knighted Francis Chichester
• Where Lord Nelson lied in State, while the sailors who carried his tomb drank the brandy in which his body had been preserved on its way from Trafalgar

Allow an hour to 90-minutes to complete and get the most out of this walk. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars in Greenwich town centre including the famous Trafalgar Tavern where you can stop for a drink or have a fresh seafood lunch about halfway through the tour.

Tour Producer


Brian Cookson

After qualifying as a Russian Interpreter during National Service, I obtained a BA in Russian and German at Oxford University. I spent most of my working life as a computer consultant, mainly working for IBM. When I retired, I qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide. I lead guided walking tours all over London and have written two books - 'London Waterside Walks' and 'Crossing the River', published by Mainstream.

Information on my tours and lectures can be found at

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Major Landmarks

  • Cutty Sark

  • Queen's House

  • National Maritime Museum

  • Royal Observatory

Directions to Starting Point

Catch the Docklands Light Railway to Island Gardens Station and ascend to the road.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Cutty Sark, Discover Greenwich Museum, Painted Hall, Chapel, Queen's House, Royal Observatory

Best time of day

Any time during the day.


Keep an eye on your possessions at all times.


The tour chooses a beautiful route starting on the northern side of the river and takes you across to Greenwich. It happened to be a beautiful summer evening when the shallow was long and light soft. Brian’s voice and knowledge were perfect to roam around Greenwich. I took Brian’s advice and took the ferry back to the city - best decision!

Posted by Yao , about 3 years ago

Thanks for your kind comments, Yao, and i am glad you enjoyed the walk. I was there this morning taking a group around the beautifully restored Painted Hall. Always a pleasure to visit Greenwich especialy when the sun is shining

Posted by Brian , about 3 years ago

Hi Rob. Thanks for letting us know! We've replaced the broken file.


Posted by Lauren , over 6 years ago

Great tour, but the colonade audio is broken. Can you fix it please?

Posted by Rob Stevens , over 6 years ago

to clarify, colonnade won't download.

Posted by Rob Stevens , over 6 years ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.