Today Greenwich encompasses an area of over 18 square miles from Deptford to Thamesmead on the Thames side with the southern boundary marked by the steeper inclination of Shooters Hill, the village of Blackheath and Eltham. It’s an area in which many people have come to reside; compared to other inner city boroughs it affords its residents plenty of green space, fresh air, culture and history.
Every day Major General James Wolfe shares his view with hundreds, maybe thousands of people. For the past 84 years he has stood on his stony perch staring north towards London. From Deptford to Delhi, visitors come to join this watchful, lonely figure, and drink in a priceless view of the capital and river which happens to be free. Before the river lies Greenwich, seemingly unchanged for centuries with its wide green expanses and grand old architecture rendered quaint by the steel and glass monoliths of modernity in the background. History is closer here than almost anywhere in the country, let alone London. In fact it’s so alive that you half expect the old Major General – though rendered in iron and dead since 1759 – to jump down from his plinth and march down the hill.
It seems Greenwich has had a history of observing long before Major Generals; from his palace on the riverbank, Henry VIII would look out at his royal dockyards to check the progress of his burgeoning fleets. A couple of centuries later, Christopher Wren would design the Royal Observatory so that the stars could be better studied. It’s the home of time itself, and its connection to the country’s monarchy means it’s one of only four boroughs in the country which is allowed to call itself ‘Royal’.
In 2010 it was announced Greenwich was being made a ‘Royal’ borough to mark the Diamond Jubilee – joining the Royal Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead. This was in recognition of Greenwich’s long links to the royal families of the United Kingdom, the presence of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the location of the Prime Meridian. It was the first time in 80 years that such an honour had been bestowed.
If you’re a Kentish man (or indeed a man of Kent) you may be aware that until 1889 Greenwich was part of the county known as The Garden of England. It was absorbed into London when the County of London was created.
The importance of Greenwich to the Navy and the nation’s seafaring fortunes saw Charles II establish the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. Its task was to map the stars more accurately, so that longitude could be established and navigation improved. Greenwich’s position in advancing the accurate calculation of time and its massive importance to world trade, saw the Observatory chosen as the location of the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude.
These days the Meridian line is a prime opportunity (pun intended) for visitors to have a foot in each hemisphere.
During the war, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the famous ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign – whereby the government encouraged any free green space to be turned into land which could be used for growing food. Greenwich was not exempt, and the grounds in the park became fertile ground for feeding the nation.
While Greenwich’s maritime history is well noted, it is the changes to the borough itself – on a local scale – which are often the most pleasing and interesting. The streets of the town centre of Greenwich used to once play host to a network of trams as the picture below attests – tram tracks running through the centre of town can be seen along this 1930’s image of Nelson Road.
Not technically the name of a street, but an area in the borough (although Shooters Hill Road does extend all the way from Blackheath to Shooters Hill itself) thought to be named after the archers which once fired their arrows from this strategic promontory. Shooters Hill is the highest point in London; it stands 129 metres above sea level. It’s obvious why this location has always been of major military importance (it was used as a site for anti-aircraft guns during the Second World War). During this time defence measures called Stop Lines – in the formation of a series of concentric circles – were put into place to prevent enemy invasion (which at that time was considered a real possibility). The middle Stop Line was at Shooters Hill as it was a major arterial route into London. To this day you can still see the old pill boxes, anti-tank defences and strange concrete plinths in Oxleas Wood which once formed this middle Stop Line.
The site of Galliard Home’s development, Distillery Crescent, sits on the site of the Seager Evans and Co. distillery – who were most notable for the production of their Seager’s Gin. Established in 1805, the company moved to its Deptford site in 1922. While the company no longer exists, the development still commands incredible views of the city and Deptford Creek which it once utilised.
This street sign in the picture above, which names the small passageway between Winforth Street and Maidstone Hill, is a recent addition to the borough’s street furniture. Once upon a time the alley was much longer, extending further north prior to post-war clearances (there’s even a map of it dating back to 1885). While no direct evidence exists as to whether or not this area used to host pig sties – it gives an impression of what Greenwich might have looked like in its more rural past.
Another of Galliard Homes’ areas of regeneration is Merryweather Place. But what’s in a name? Upon it used to sit Merryweather and Sons – a factory which produced steam fire and tram engines. Sadly the building met an untimely end during the Blitz when it was destroyed, prompting a relocation for the business to South Wales.
By the Clocktower Market you’ll find the Rivington Grill. It serves very fresh British cuisine and is the perfect pit stop for Sunday lunch. If you’re a gin fan – Rivington Grill will be your mecca. Rivington Grill gets consistently good reviews – it’s a great go-to for smart, chilled and lively affairs. You can’t go too far wrong. And did we mention the Bloody Marys?
178 Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN
Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine isn’t commonplace in the borough, but a trip to Blue Nile Cafe will quickly convert you. Aromatic dishes, with a dash of Italian influence (!), are explained by the welcoming owners in a perfectly restored 1930s butcher’s shop set off by chic lighting. This is one of the classiest corners of south London’s food scene.
73 Woolwich New Road, SE18 6ED
Inside Restaurant has well and truly taken up the gourmet baton – with a stylish dining room and a menu featuring modern British and European classics. Starters include revelations such as borlotti bean soup with anchovy butter and wild garlic leaf; while mains tantalise with lamb chump, chickpea & harissa, globe artichoke, feta and cumin crumble.
19 Greenwich South Street, SE10 8NW
Recommended by The South London Blog: “If you’re after something different then a three-course meal on a double decker bus surely fits the bill? You’ll be pleased to know its appeal extends beyond its novelty, as the daily freshly made pasta is truly very good, as are the artisan pizzas which are topped with ingredients from Borough market. The Bus sits next to a heated terrace area for extra seating, and as well as food the Big Red offers regular film and comedy nights.”
This place is a massive hit with the online crowd, hovering around Tripadvisor’s top 10 restaurants in the whole of London. It’s a family restaurant that has perfected the art of English and Irish homemade grub.
92 Trafalgar Road SE10 9UV
While it may lurk behind a fairly unappealing exterior, Zaibatsu is a book whose cover one should not judge. If truth be told, the sushi, sashimi, noodles and tempura on offer here makes this a true hidden gem for anyone with a hankering for Japanese food. 96 Trafalgar Road SE10 9 UV
This cosy French deli was originally started by a French chef but in recent years it has fallen under the domain of Dustin, a passionate host from South Africa. The food on offer is simple and simply delicious; fresh pastries, unctuous scrambled eggs with your choice of ham, chorizo or mushroom, freshly made baguette sandwiches, quiches, pies, soups and salads. And a wide variety of teas and lovingly made coffees of course. With Fay’s Deli and La Salumeria down the road, East Greenwich is well served by delis to die for.
93 Trafalgar Road SE10 9TS
A simple but delicious Vietnamese place keeps the flag flying for Woolwich New Road. Woolwich’s burgeoning foodie scene looks in safe hands if City View has anything to do with it. This training restaurant is based at Shooters Hill Campus where the students put on fine-dining nights for locals as well as midweek lunches during term time. The restaurant itself features great views of the local area stretching out to the Docklands.
Shooters Hill Campus Red Lion Lane SE18 4LD
You can’t move for drinking establishments in Greenwich, but while some might be guilty of coaxing in tourists ahead of keeping up standards, many are very good indeed.
Their latest venture, The Old Brewery, opened in the Old Royal Naval College on the site of a brewery that used to produce ales for the thirsty Greenwich Pensioners. There’s a big focus on quality food but the unique, limited-run beers produced on site are the real star attraction.
The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9 LW
The Woolwich Equitable is the Antic pub group’s newest opening in south east London. Inside the former building society there’s a real emphasis on good quality beer – choose from six real ales on draught as well as a regular rotation of beers from local Hopstuff Brewery.
Equitable House, General Gordon Square, Vincent Road, SE18 6AB
Pubs are not just about beer, of course. The Guildford Arms is a wonderful Georgian gastro pub which offers a substantial and robust wine list to be enjoyed in their suntrap of a beer garden – a small oasis of calm in the borough. You’ll also find an array of local beers and regular food and wine pairing evenings. The food also comes highly recommended.
55 Guildford Grove, SE10 8JY
A stone’s throw but a million miles away from the tourist-friendly dens in Greenwich is Deptford’s Birds Nest – a no-nonsense boozer with an artsy twist. The pub is a regular venue for live music, often of the punk variety, and the outdoor drinking area makes a knowing mockery of the idea of a beer garden: picnic tables nestle up to the kerb on Creekside, and assorted juggernauts rattle by. If this pub was a person it would have “not for the faint-hearted” tattooed on its face, but a warm smile and winning personality all the same. Right next door is the Big Red Pizza Bus which, you’ll be surprised to know, is a double-decker bus that serves pizza (of the delicious, stone-baked varety). Punters sit round compact tables on the top deck and spread out in the bar area downstairs, where there’s a great wine and cocktail list.
32 Deptford Church Street SE8 4RZ
Further east, Chartlon’s Anchor and Hope is a high-quality local which just so happens to be next to the home of Tavern Snacks – no excuse for the pork scratchings not to be fresh.
2 Riverside Walk SE7 7SS
In Eltham, Antic has brought its unique vision of the irreverent, 21st-century pub experience to the Eltham GPO – a sure sign of the neighbourhoods up-and-coming status.
4 Passey Place, SE9 5DQ
South of Greenwich Park, Blackheath is well served by The Royal Standard. And, when the sun is out there are few finer places to while away a Saturday than The Princess of Wales or, more precisely, the heath across the road from it. Punters pop in to order their specialty beers, then head back out into the sun.
1a Montpelier Row, SE3 0RL
Greenwich’s comedy pedigree was reinforced with the creation of the Greenwich Comedy Festival in 2009. In the last five years it has gone from strength to strength, moving to a bigger site at the Old Royal Naval College where two comedy stages are augmented by a bandstand for live music and the best in street food. Bill Bailey, Russell Howard, Jo Brand and Dylan Moran have all headlined, and this year’s festival featured Stewart Lee, Mark Thomas and Seann Walsh among many, many others.
By now it should be obvious that Greenwich offers a wealth of cultural opportunities, but comedy is perhaps the artform to which the borough is now most closely connected. The O2 and Blackheath Halls regularly play host to high-profile names, but it’s a little club in Greenwich that lends the borough its comedic gravitas.
Founded by local legend Malcolm Hardee after his Blackwall bearpit, The Tunnel Club, closed down Up the Creek is an intimate venue where the performers have nowhere to hide. Give the audience a sniff of fear and they will pounce, and until his death in 2005, Hardee would be the one leading the charge. The challenge of the crowd and Hardee’s legacy as the father of alternative comedy keeps the major names coming back, and it’s a great place to see the stars of tomorrow. And heckle them.
With one of the world’s biggest entertainment venues within its borders, Greenwich is spoiled when it comes to music performances. The O2 is an entertainment colossus to rival any other venue in the country. Hardly a week goes by without an appearance by a superstar of pop music, with major comedians and high-profile sporting events also frequenting the peninsula. But while the O2 is of course in a class of its own as a venue, other spots ensure that fans of all music types are well catered for.
The big arena’s little brother offers an impressive line-up of events in its own right. Indigo at the O2 specialises in soul, RnB and hip hop, but it’s certainly not afraid to throw a bit of punk, ska, or darts into the mix. Comedy heavyweights also feature heavily on Indigo’s line-up.
Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
Blackheath Halls are said to be London’s oldest purpose-built cultural complex and the quality of the hall has led to its regular use for recording purposes. The Halls put on a variety of events, including big-name comedians and notable jazz, classical and folk performers.
23 Lee Road, SE3 9RQ
This new festival is held on the Thames’ banks the Old Royal Naval College. Last year’s headliners included Goldfrapp, who played their only London gig of the year while Greenwich’s own Jools Holland brought the curtain down with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9NN
The proximity of Goldsmith’s College and Camberwell College in Lewisham – as well as cheap artists’spaces in Deptford and Woolwich – make the Royal Borough of Greenwich a hotbed for new art and artists.
Galleries such as Cockpit Arts in Deptford are considered an ‘incubator’ for craftspeople at all stages of their career. Many of the artists’ spaces welcome visitors, some throughout the year, and an opportunity to see these enthralling working galleries should not be missed.
Images © Cockpit Arts & Jamie Trounce.
This gallery on Greenwich Peninsula adopts a turbine-hall approach to art. Artists are invited to design new works which interact and transform the space around them. It’s free to all and operates on commissioning new works of art from emerging artists, designers every three months.
This Woolwich institution is now London’s largest single site affordable studio project, offering affordable workspace for artists, designer and craft makers of all abilities and disciplines. The site also includes the Thames Barrier Print Studio, the no format Gallery – available for hire and the CANTEEN arts café. The studios open their doors to the public once a year in June.
Main Office TW-27, Harrington Way, SE18 5NR
The Arts in Perpetuity Trust, Cockpit’s neighbour on Creekside, is a charity which provides quality studio space for artists and exciting, accessible exhibitions for the public. Artists can hire out gallery space for very reasonable prices, helping to facilitate the showcase of talent from wherever it may originate.
6 Creekside, SE8 4SA
Like Cockpit Arts, ArtHub, is another Creekside establishment. With studios and professional framers in Woolwich too, bright young painters, sculptors, printers and photographers are given the support and facilities to flourish.
5-9 Creekside, Deptford, SE8 4SA
The borough is well served by stand-alone galleries, with a number collecting around the streets of Greenwich’s old town.
This elegant Georgian house on the eastern border of Greenwich Park hosts the Wernher Collection, an astounding array of 700 medieval and Renaissance paintings, carvings, sculpture and crafts.
Artistic exhibitions are common at the National Maritime Museum but the Queen’s House is home to many of its finest works. The calendar of exhibitions focuses on the themes of war and the sea, with contemporary artists featured as well as old masters. Queen’s House was itself designed by prominent architect, Inigo Jones, and many of of the beautiful features of the period are well preserved including the famous tulip stairwell.
Located in Greenwich itself, this perfectly formed gallery hosts mostly photographic exhibitions ranging from images of the beautiful borough to cutting-edge examples of this form of media.
Art and the arts in Greenwich will go from strength to strength now that Greenwich Council has announced plans to create a new cultural quarter at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. New galleries, theatre space, rehearsal rooms and museums are set to be spring up. The Hofesch Schechter Company – an internationally renowned dance company – have also been confirmed as tenants.
A modern-day descendant of the infamous Greenwich Fair – but far better behaved – this is a nine-day celebration of theatre, dance and street arts. It takes place on both sides of the Thames and in 2013 it featured around 150 performers from 30 different countries.
There are theatrical performances at the borough’s major music venues as well as, of course, the Laban Building, and a number of other theatres ensure Greenwich’s locals don’t need to travel to the West End for a night of culture.
A new temporary arts space set in incredible surroundings; an old coaling jetty of the Blackwall Point power station east of the peninsula. Audiences are treated to unique views of famous Thames-side landmarks while renowned theatre companies such as Shunt stage cutting-edge shows. A permanent space is on the way.
This is a long-established venue for community theatre and touring companies. It gets its name after Bob Hope, who was born in Eltham in 1903. Although he moved to Cleveland, Ohio five years later, he intervened to save the theatre in the early ‘80s.
This venue is making a name for itself by developing the future of theatre. While touring West End plays are hosted, the focus in on grass-roots theatre, supporting new companies, staging new works and showcasing the brightest new talent.
The borough is served by three cinemas; Greenwich Picturehouse, Odeon Greenwich and Cineworld O2. A six-screen cinema in Eltham is also in the pipeline. While there isn’t exactly a wealth of amenities for local cinephiles, Greenwich makes regular appearances on the silver screen. This is thanks in no small part to its unspoiled architecture, but its credits are not limited to period dramas as this list attests.
According to Empire magazine, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is one of the most popular filming locations in the world with the Old Royal Naval College being used as a frequent backdrop to the silver screen. The Old Royal Naval College has hosted several scenes from James Bond (Octopussy, 1983), while one of the opening scenes of Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) was filmed in the Painted Hall. Underneath this hall lies the King William Undercroft, which played host to another scene 007 classic – Skyfall (2012). If you blink during the final scenes of Dark Knight Rises (2012) you’ll miss out on Michael Cain sitting in at a table in a cafe-like setting which wouldn’t look out of place in Italy. It is in fact set in the Colonnades, again in within the grounds of the old Royal Naval College (which incidentally you can hire for weddings should you wish to have your special day get the Bruce Wayne treatment).
Situated in the World Heritage Site, Greenwich Market is a great tourist destination in its own right. But with a host of independent collectors, designers and makers selling unique, high-quality wares every day, this covered square containing 120 stalls is the jewel in the borough’s shopping crown.
The market is bounded by permanent shops, mostly of a design or artistic bent, while there’s a steady variation among the stalls in the centre. On Wednesday, the market is given over to antique furniture – with a bit of decorative art and food thrown in – but as the weekend approaches, the fashion, craft and arts stalls take centre stage.
Greenwich Market is not to be mistaken with The Clocktower Market which runs on weekends in the space next to the Picturehouse cinema. Focusing on vintage and retro – a bit of a specialty for Greenwich in general – 50 stalls offer anything from badges to gramophones. The lure of the covered market, and the slightly off-centre location means there are certainly bargains to be had.
A portable art gallery that offers Sci-fi infused fine art produced on location by visual creative Stu MacKay. Photo: ©Stu MacKay / www.cutnpastegraphics.co.uk
Around the perimeter, make a beeline for Flood Gallery’s collection of gig, film and art posters. Photo Credit @ thefloodgallery.com
Pop art-inspired, screen-printed t-shirts which use traditional bench silkscreen techniques.
London-base artist, John Lynch, creates these fabulous scenes – some of which you might recognise. Snap up one of his paintings and you may just be able to have a small piece of Greenwich on your wall.
An extravaganza of vintage clothing and wartime memorabilia which will keep a fashionista occupied for the afternoon.
Selling luxuriously simple, hand-crafted and hand-sown sketchbooks and notebooks. These guys have over 30 years experience in bookbinding and paper conservation.
Galliard Homes have been committed to regenerating the Royal Borough of Greenwich, providing infrastructure and affordable homes to the community. We have developments in Greenwich itself, Deptford, Blackheath and Charlton. See here for all property for sale in Greenwich.
Offering a striking choice of high specification apartments, the Crescent completes Galliard’s landmark Distillery development, adjoining the Distillery Tower. Both sold out, Galliard now introduce six brand new and exclusive two bedroom apartments occupying the ground floor of this visually impressive building. Arranged over 10 floors, the Crescent forms a distinctive and innovative building featuring tiered levels and three extensive communal roof terrace gardens. Many apartment styles enjoy a private balcony with the upper floor levels displaying far reaching views across Greenwich, Canary Wharf and the City. Designed to a sophisticated specification, each apartment will be finished to Galliard Homes’ premier specification to create a luxurious choice of exclusive living accommodation. Not only do The Crescent apartments offer refined living for the owner occupier, but also a prime opportunity for the UK and overseas investor. Being within 12 minutes of some 93,000 people who work and commute to Canary Wharf daily there is undoubtedly a strong corporate catchment that continues to grow and expand.Visit property website
Arranged around a landscaped courtyard, Merryweather Place provides a luxury choice of apartments and a single two bedroom townhouse positioned within three residential blocks. Each residence is specified with superior fittings and many appreciate a private balcony with fantastic views. Set within a secure gated development, residents can enjoy private underground parking.Visit property website
Combining brilliant architecture, breathtaking views and sophisticated living accommodation, New Capital Quay provides a dynamic fusion of exclusive apartments attracting owner/occupiers, investors and tenants alike. Surrounded by water on three sides, many of the properties enjoy panoramic views of the magnificent River Thames from their private balcony terraces, together with high specification interiors. Designed to bring the Butlers Wharf lifestyle to Greenwich, residents of this dramatic riverside development will enjoy every modern convenience on their doorstep. With an array of restaurants, bars and retail outlets, in addition to the UK’s second largest branch of Waitrose, New Capital Quay is set to become a cosmopolitan new waterside village for Greenwich. Perfectly situated within five minutes’ walk from historic Greenwich and Cutty Sark DLR station, no location could be better for enjoying the river, travelling to work and experiencing London’s rich maritime history.Visit property website
The Distillery Pavilion is the dazzling centrepiece of one of Galliard Homes’ most successful regeneration schemes in Deptford, The Seager Distillery. This shimmering glass rotunda is the final feature of the landmark development which has engrossed The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s skyline since 2011.
Now, with the exciting release of five, individually-designed apartments, a unique opportunity has arisen for owner-occupiers and investors to acquire one of these dynamic properties. The Pavilion will comprise of a ground-level studio and four, upper-level, one and two bedroom apartments; each displaying highly-refined specifications and fully-equipped for luxurious living.
This gated, mixed-use development includes the sold-out Distillery Crescent and Distillery Tower apartments, a Staycity Apart Hotel and a re-modelled 19th century warehouse that forms a gallery for Goldsmith’s College – all situated around a charming, landscaped piazza.
The development sits adjacent to Deptford Bridge DLR station, placing residents within a two minute walk of fast connections the City, Canary Wharf and London Bridge. Meanwhile, Greenwich and its fabulous host of amenities, entertainment and cultural attractions are all within walking distance.Visit property website
Distillery Tower is a spectacular new landmark, rising 265ft above The Thames, set within one of Galliard Homes’ most successful regeneration schemes south of the river. Boasting 27 levels and 115 luxurious studios, apartments and duplex suites, the Distillery Tower is the pinnacle of privacy and luxury at the exclusive Seager Distillery development.
Previously sold out, we have now added two apartments to this highly sought after development, providing an exciting opportunity for investors or owner-occupiers to procure a premium property in Deptford – an area undergoing a rapid revival.
Best appreciated from the communal viewing gallery on the 27th floor; Distillery Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views over London’s entire skyline. As a resident you can also enjoy daytime concierge services and secure underground parking which is available at an additional cost.
This gated, mixed-use development includes the newly-released Distillery Pavilion and the sold-out Distillery Crescent, all situated around a delightful, landscaped piazza. Commercial units on site include a Staycity Apart Hotel and a re-modelled 19th century warehouse that forms a gallery for Goldsmith’s College.
The development sits directly opposite Deptford Bridge DLR station, placing residents within a two minute walk of fast connections to Greenwich, the City, Canary Wharf and London Bridge.Visit property website
A choice selection of brand new and highly contemporary one, two and three bedroom apartments surrounded by rural ambience within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Grove Place comprises two principal buildings set around beautiful landscaped grounds and walkways, positioned just off of Eltham High Street. Designed to Galliard’s luxurious high-end specifications, each apartment will display a sleek style, sophisticated finishes and the majority will benefit from a private balcony or terrace. Just 18 minutes from London Bridge via direct line national rail services, the development provides an excellent investment opportunity in a prime commuter belt area. The development will feature an opulent entrance foyer with concierge desk, lifts serving all floor levels and landscaped courtyards and gardens. Secure parking is available by separate negotiation with the sale of two and three bedroom units.Visit property website
A stylish selection of 137 apartments within a luxury development located in the heart of one of London’s major regeneration zones – Lewisham. Riverdale House will offer an exclusive choice of studio, one & two bedroom apartment styles, with a selection enjoying private exterior space. Each studio apartment will feature sliding screen access to the bedroom area and are styled to a highly contemporary specification. Exclusive fittings include a swivel flat screen TV unit, enabling viewing from the living room and bedroom, video entry-phone security and designer kitchen units. The one and two bedroom properties also share Galliard’s exclusive finish and fittings. From the opulent double height entrance and reception foyer residents will appreciate a lift serving all levels. Private residents’ facilities include extensive landscaping, spacious roof garden, secure cycle storage and lower ground parking – available to purchase at an additional cost.Visit property website