Ultimate Greenwich & the Thames Barrier
Greenwich to the O2 Arena
8.3 miles / 13.3 km
Take in some famous and not so famous attractions on this South East London almost-loop which covers British history and architecture from the Tudors to the Year 2000. Along the way, you’ll see the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park where Henry VIII hunted deer, Jacobean Charlton House dating back to 1612 and then the 20th century innovative architecture of the Thames Barrier and O2 Arena.
An easy walk mainly on pavements and tarmacked paths. Once you leave the centre of Greenwich, there are some steep steps up to Point Hill (with sweeping city views as a reward) and then a short stroll across Blackheath into Greenwich Park, via the Ranger’s House (used in the Netflix series, Bridgerton). Continue through East Greenwich and Charlton to Charlton House and then down through Maryon Wilson Park to the Thames. Follow the river back to North Greenwich underground station.
Royal Naval College
Maryon Wilson Park
Ranger's House, Greenwich Park
WHY NOT TRY
Continue your walk around the peninsula and head back to Greenwich along the Thames Path or take the Emirates Air Line cable car across to the north bank of the Thames. You can pick up the DLR back into central London from Royal Victoria station.
You could also catch a Thames Clipper to Greenwich and start the walk at the Cutty Sark.
Stretching from the River Thames to Nunhead Cemetery, the Green Chain Walk spans fields, parks and woodlands across 50 miles. Our route meets the Green Chain Walk in Charlton and instead of turning right to the river you could head East towards Abbey Woods or south towards Shooters Hill and the wonderfully named Sevendroog Castle.
Greenwich station is on a direct line to London Bridge, Cannon Street and St Pancras or Slade Green, Gillingham and Rainham in the other direction. You can also catch the DLR from Bank to Greenwich station or Cutty Sark (for the centre).
North Greenwich is on the Jubilee Line to Stratford, Canary Wharf, Canada Water, London Bridge and Waterloo.
There are public toilets in the Sammy Ofer Wing of the National Maritime Museum (facing the park), in Greenwich Park, at Charlton House, in Maryon Park and at the Thames Barrier. If you are happy to have your bag checked and join the throng heading into the O2, there are also toilets there or in North Greenwich station.
ALONG THE WAY
A much-loved Greenwich landmark, Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers to be built and was moved to her current position in the 1950s. Thanks to a lottery-funded restoration project, she now sails on a sea of glass and is one of London’s most popular attractions. The interior is a museum of maritime history.
There are plenty of historic attractions in Greenwich to stop and look at on this walk including the Painted Hall, the Royal Observatory and the Ranger’s House but the Queen’s House is a favourite (of Emily’s). It’s free to enter and has a lovely collection of maritime paintings and portraits.The Queen’s House, designed by Inigo Jones is also believed to be one of the most important buildings in British architectural history.
Pretty Maryon Wilson Park is home to a small animal park featuring sheep, goats, fallow deer, ponies and pigs. There’s also a busy duck pond and small petting animals (housed indoors). You can take a tour of the farm on Wednesdays (at time of writing).
Spanning 520 metres (1,706 feet) across the River Thames, the Thames Barrier is the second largest flood defence barrier in the world and an amazing feat of design and engineering. It opened in 1982 and is expected to continue protecting central London from flooding until 2070. There is an Information Centre with a small exhibition which you can visit on Saturdays.
FOOD AND DRINK
Greenwich centre has lots of options for food – from cafés to chain eateries and the stalls at Greenwich Market.
A newly renovated pub with a relaxed atmosphere and outdoor seating, both facing the street and in the large heated beer garden at the back. Serves traditional pub fare.
Near to the Royal Observatory, the Pavilion Café serves hot & cold drinks, snacks, cakes and pizzas. There’s also a large outdoor garden at the back with plenty of seating.
Slightly off the Thames Path in Millennium Village (between the Thames Barrier and the O2). A hidden gem serving traditional pub food and roasts along with a good selection of beers and soft drinks.
A relatively new addition to the Peninsula, this lively and mainly outdoor venue next to North Greenwich station has a variety of street food vendors along with craft beers, cocktails and coffee.