A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Smith
Date: 2016 Nov 9, 11:32 -0800
When visiting the Royal Observatory in Greenwich I would recommend to try and time the visit to avoid the crowds.
Take an early boat from Westminster Pier to arrive at Greenwich Pier about 0930. There is a 15 minute walk up to the Observatory - part of the walk are on a narrow steep path. In busy times this path is obstructed by groups of tourists trying to catch their breath! Resist the temptation to linger to inspect the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Queen's House, Naval Chapel etc - they can be done later in the day! The entrance to the observatory is through a narrow door - being early you will hopefully avoid a queue. The room housing H1, H2, H3 and H4 is relatively small. I was in that room in August and we were packed in like sardines. After viewing that room, most tourists head out into the courtyard to join the queue to have their photograph taken straddling the Meridium Line - I took a photograph of the queue and estimate it to be almost 100 metres long and moving at a snail's pace! Happily, few of the tourists venture up the narrow stairs to experience viewing the observatory instruments and their history, so this part of the building was far from crowded. One jewel is the chronometer room - a small room on the south side of the building housing a hundred of so maritime chronometers, mainly 20th century ex Royal Navy - the only public access to this room is to walk around the back of the main observatory building - there is a sign on the door.
Before visiting the Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, it will be time for lunch. In Greenwich there are many cafes specializing in basic English food. The one I selected only served 4 food items, meat pies, mashed potatoes, gravy and eels. I opted to miss out the eels, but the pie, mash and gravy were delicious!
I have used the word queue many times in this posting. I spent the first 18 years of my life in England and can vouch that for the British queueing is a way of life. I once served on a British troop landing ship and in one of the army assembly areas was a notice "If in doubt - form a queue"!