open telescope dome with a large telescope visible

Britain’s first state-funded research instituion, the Royal Observatory Greenwich was established in 1675 to provide accurate maps of the sky to aid navigation, typically at sea. As part of this work, it became a centre of time-keeping, and in 19th century decided the 0 longitude of the world, and is still often referred to as ‘the home of time’. Originally built on a hill far from London and its light pollution, over time London has sprawled out and rendered it an unsuitable site for astronomy research, leading to its current status as a museum with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year at its historic site and planetarium.

On this excursion, you will take a scenic boat tour to Greenwich followed by a guided tour of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. We expect the tour to be finished by 5pm, after which you will make your own way back to your accommodation.

Key Information

  • We will be assembling the group at the ‘Alert’ statue on Imperial campus (see number 5 on the map below, or go to immediately after the morning session is finished to collect packed lunches.
  • We aim to leave Imperial by 12.45pm and walk 10 mins to Gloucester Road station.

  • We will take the Circle and District Line eastbound to Westminster station.

  • We will exit the station (exit 1) and walk to Westminster Pier to board boat (see pink X on map below) to Greenwich.
  • Once we reach Greenwich, we will walk about 20 mins across Greenwich Park to the observatory for our tour. Please note this walk is up a fairly steep hill.

  • After the tour (approx. 5 pm), you will make your own way back to your accommodation etc. We encourage you (especially if the weather is nice!) to make the most of beautiful Greenwich Park and lots of nice pubs nearby.

  • If you are heading back to Imperial, the most straightforward route is to walk to Cutty Sark station and take the DLR to Bank. At Bank, follow signs to the Circle and District Line (technically from Monument station although they are so close together as to be effectively a single station) and take that westbound to South Kensington.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the ICAP team. In particular, if you have any worries about walking up the hill to the observatory, please let us know and we will organise alternative transportation.