Discover Greenwich opens

The Discover Greenwich attraction which has opened in the Old Royal Naval is good news.

Really this is a new tourist information centre with a good cafe and museum attached.

The displays include some good historical information and artifacts excavated on site.

Featured is the Tudor royal palace which preceded the Naval College. We now know that its chapel, where Henry VIII married Katharine of Aragon, stood on the car park just over the fence from the the Trafalgar Tavern.

Best news is that is that entry is free even to this permanent exhibition.

The cafe is in the Old Brewery where under the new Meantime Brewing Company brewing has been resumed. The Old Brewery occupies the site of a friary whose mother house was in Ghent so naturally there is a Belgian style ale along with the traditional London Pale Ale and Hospital Porter. The latter it is claimed would be recognisable to the retired sailors who used to live at the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich.

Master Brewer Alastair Hook looks to the Thames for inspiration and talks of the many breweries which once lined the Thames in London. Some are featured in the timeline on the Old Brewery walls.

Dan Cruickshank, who appears in a film being shown on a loop, has described the Old Naval College as “one of the greatest buildings in the world” and “one of the outstanding compositions” which can be compared with Versailles and St Petersburg.

The historian claims that Queen Mary, joint sovereign with William, improved Wren’s design by insisting on the vista of the Queen’s House in the middle  of the new buildings.

He also describes today’s chapel as “a jewel box of a building”. This too is open free along with the Painted Hall.

The TIC and cafe are open from 10am to 5pm daily. Closing time seems a bit early. Walkers do like to be able to still have  tea at 5pm. But the  bar with local beer is open all day to 11pm.

There is an entrance to the Discover Greenwich complex opposite Greenwich Pier. I think this will become a stopping point for Thames Path walkers. The TIC staff are really local and well-informed.

See page 18.

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