Things to see
When I left the Midlands for work, I wanted to move to a location that was close to my job and also retained a small town feel despite being in the middle of a large city. Greenwich ticked all those boxes. A short 8 minute DLR ride from Canary Wharf, large parts of the town are designated Heritage Sites. The town is most well known for its maritime traditions, the prime meridian as well as lending its name to Greenwich Mean Time.
Greenwich also seems to have become a settling place for London's sizable Spanish immigrant population, with a large number of Spanish restaurants across the town, however other nationalities and ethnicities are also well represented.
Greenwich has a rich maritime history, and as one of the five boroughs that once made up the London Docklands, the town hosts a number world famous maritime attractions and this is definitely one of the more famous.
Built in 1869, the Cutty Sark was once the fastest sailing ship in the world, holding the record for the fastest time from Australia to Britain for a decade. As steam ships came to dominate the oceans, the Cutty Sark was first sold to the Portuguese before being brought back as a training ship. Since 1954 the Cutty Sark has been in dry dock in Greenwich.
The masts of the ship tower above neighbouring rooftops, and you can see them from quite a distance, in fact, looking into the town from my balcony, the masts are one of the main visible features of Greenwich Town Centre. A number of small markets, fairground rides and buskers usually set up shop around the periphery of the Cutty Sark on most weekends and bank holidays and the area does get incredibly busy.
Greenwich Park & The Royal Observatory
Believe me when I tell you, this is one big park. We used to have a park I went to as a kid in the Midlands and I thought it was never ending, but you could literally fit that park in just the entrance of this one.
Greenwich park extends from almost the riverfront to the next town (Blackheath) and is built over two levels. The lower levels begin behind the Naval College and its here where most people relax or play sports, especially during the summer (and lately, hunt for Pokemon). The upper level is centred around the Royal Observatory.
The Observatory is one of the most famous landmarks across the globe as it is the centre of the world. The longitude line is also called the Greenwich Meridian and is measured from the Observatory. The town also gives its name to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the time to which all clocks in the world were measured against for over a century. The Royal Observatory is now a museum (and a little underwhelming) but still has the Meridian line that you can see and you can also explore the telescope room. The area around the Observatory also has one of the most incredible views of London, from the City on the left hand side to Canary Wharf and the River Thames directly infront. In fact, hundreds of people usually go everyday to watch the sunset, and I still haven't found a view comparable at that time of the day.
Maritime Museum & University of Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum is the centre piece of Greenwich's maritime traditions. The museum is the largest of its kind in the world and was built in 1937. The collections that it houses are large and cover over a thousands years of history. Captured battle standards, replicas of some of the Navy's most famous ships and paintings illustrating everything from the Armada through the World Wars to present day are everywhere and there is a lot of interactive interfaces for a more immersive experience. Its a collection definitely worth seeing.
Surrounding the Maritime Museum is the University of Greenwich, which is the greenest university in the UK and its not hard to see why. The brilliant white buildings of the Naval College and large expanse of Greenwich Park cut through and surround the campus and the riverfront walk is one of the nicest walks in London which pass through some of the oldest public houses in the city.
I remember growing up there was a lot of hype around the Millennium Dome, I also remember the news coverage talking about the disappointment of it. However the Dome has since transformed itself into one of the largest and most famous entertainment complexes, in fact its actually busier than Madison Square Gardens in New York.
The Arena hosts a number of events, from boxing, to music concerts and even WWE shows. On other days the Arena is lined with busy restaurants, a large cinema and number of bars. As with similar entertainment complexes across the country, the O2 is synonymous with a younger crowd, however there is still a lot to do and its worth visiting at least once.
The closest Gurdwara is the Harley Grove Gurdwara in Bow, scene of an infamous arson attack in 2009 when 75% of the complex as well as numerous saroops of Guru Granth Sahib Ji were burnt. The Gurdwara Sahib has since reopened and is incredibly beautiful, although its location in the middle of a residential area mean there are still broken windows where locals still try to vandalise it. This is one of the reasons why I am against building ever larger and more decorative Gurdwara's as we cant even look properly after our current ones and the money is much better spent on educating Giani's and giving to charity.
Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich is also a quick 15 minutes on the overground from Greenwich and also hosts a local Nagar Keertan every year.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.