Even without the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum, there’s a great deal to see in Greenwich Park. You should probably begin with a visit to the park’s great vantage point under the statue of General James Wolfe. Once you have your obligatory snaps of the city skyline with the Queen’s House in the medium distance, you have a number of options.
Walking & Playgrounds
If you’re feeling energetic, head for the northeast corner of the park. You’ll find a lake where you can rent a boat in season, an adventure playground and the beautiful Queen’s Orchard. If you fancy a longer walk, head southeast for the Wilderness Deer Park.
If you want mental stimulation, try the Royal Observatory. Entry to the Planetarium is free, so walk right in and, unless you are an astronomer yourself, you are pretty much guaranteed to see something startling. If what you want is tales of derring-do (and an excellent nautical play area for under fives), head for the Maritime Museum. The Queen’s House is closed for refurbishment until July 2016. Outside the park is the Cutty Sark, also part of Royal Museums Greenwich, and combined tickets are available.
If you’re peckish the Coffee Cabin (behind the statue of General Wolfe) has snacks and drinks, and the Observatory and the Maritime Museum have cafes that you can access without a ticket. If you have a bit more time, try the child-friendly Pavilion Cafe (9am-4pm daily) or the White House Bakery (open weekends and school holidays).
For small people
At the Royal Observatory’s Planetarium there’s a special weekend show for children under the age of seven, called Space Safari (Sat & Sun and school holidays 11am, adult/child £7.50/5.50, free entry for children under three). For older kids there’s Space Cadets (Sat & Sun 12pm, 12.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm, entry free).
At the National Maritime Museum there are regular music, art and story sessions for children under five called Play Tuesdays (10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm, per child £3). For children older than five, try Explore Saturdays (12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, entry free), or for mixed age range Discover Sundays (11.30am-1.30pm & 2-4pm, entry free). There’s also a brilliant role play area where little ones can work in a ship’s galley, climb in a bunk and bang around in a realistic engine room with tools (maybe that’s why the air conditioning kept going on and off). Kids will also enjoy wandering around on the Great Map.
At the Cutty Sark there’s Toddler Time (Wed 10-11.30am during term time, activities included in general admission adult/child 5-15 £13.50/7, children under five free) with songs, stories and playtime.
In addition Royal Museums Greenwich has an extensive program of holiday activities. See the website for full details.
Web, 020 8858 4422; National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, Greenwich SE10 9NF; Royal Observatory, Blackheath Ave, Greenwich Park SE10 8XJ; Cutty Sark, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT; entrance charges apply to parts of the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark; open daily 10am-5pm