Old Royal Naval College reopens for Summer 2020

Old Royal Naval College reopens
Old Royal Naval College reopens

The Old Royal Naval College, part of Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set to reopen on 13 July in line with with Government guidance. The iconic London landmark will once again offer public access to its buildings and expansive grounds with visitor and staff safety measures in place.

The Painted Hall, King William Undercroft and interpretation gallery will reopen for visitors with limited tickets each day and recommended advanced booking. Guided tours will be limited to groups of five and must be booked in advance. Visitors are also recommended to bring their own headphones to use with multimedia guides. Groups are welcome to visit, with numbers limited to 25. Visitor-facing staff and volunteers will wear protective visors to ensure safety, and all payments will be cashless.

The grounds will be open daily from 7am – 7pm, and the Painted Hall, King William Undercroft, Visitor Centre Shop and Ticket Desk will be open from 10am – 5pm. The Chapel will operate reduced hours of 10am – 2pm, while the Victorian Skittle Alley will remain closed until further notice The Painted Hall cafe will remain closed for the time being, but food and drink will be available to enjoy al fresco on the grounds. The Painted Hall toilets will be open and are fully accessible with baby changing facilities.

The Old Royal Naval College is also launching new smartphone tours for visitors to to enjoy. The first of these, available for free on any smartphone using the Smartify app, will be a family tour for those visiting with children aged 5 – 12 years. The exciting ‘Building Detectives’ tour takes families on a treasure trail around the beautiful outdoor spaces around the site, following clues to discover who the grand buildings were created for.

Looking further ahead, the outdoor Luna Cinema will return to the Old Royal Naval College’s riverside grounds this August, and the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival will bring outdoor arts to Greenwich and East London from 28 August to 12 September. This year’s festival will celebrate the strength of community spirit, the NHS, and the environment. The Amber Markets are also set to return to the site later in the year to take visitors on a tour of world cuisine.

October will see an exhibition aimed at understanding the diverse and intricate history of Greenwich and the Royal Hospital for Seamen as part of Black History Month. Curated by renowned historian S. I. Martin, the exhibition will shine a light on Greenwich’s 18th and 19th century history with stories of black sailors in the British Navy.

For those unable to visit, a free virtual tour, narrated by Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones; Belgravia) can be enjoyed from home, with an audio-described introduction to the site for blind and partially-sighted visitors, read by former Head of Conservation Will Palin.

For more information please visit ornc.org.