Although we were reluctant to leave the artistic delights of the V & A museum in London, my friend and I had decided to continue our day out in London with a trip down the river to Greenwich.
We emerged from the tube at Embankment tube station to find the pier for the river boat just across the road. The service from here is designed for commuters as well as tourists and leaves every 20 minutes to take you up and down the river, making may stops along the way. The trip to Greenwich cost around £8 return which was not unreasonable considering that the boat was very comfortable and we got an excellent view of some key sites from the river.
In past centuries the Thames was the main thoroughfare through London with grand buildings being designed to be seen from the river rather than the shore side. The thing that struck me was the wide variety of old and modern styles of architecture, epitomised by the dome of St Paul’s cathedral in the same view as the modern day landmark of the Gherkin tower by Sir Norman Foster.
You get great views of the London Eye on the South Bank art complex and pass the Traitor’s gate of the Tower of London, just as prisoners would have seen it as they were brought here by river.
As you move up river you come to the Docklands area, once the shipbuilding centre of London but now redeveloped into a modern financial centre at Canary Wharf. The building continues unabated and one of the features of the skyline is the constant presence of building cranes, putting up more buildings to become the architectural landmarks of the future. In under 40 minutes we arrived at Greenwich with a fine view of the Royal Naval College designed in the 18th century by Sir Christopher Wren as a symbol of England’s maritime power.
The river trip would have been a sightseeing trip in itself, but our adventures continued as we sampled the free delights of Greenwich – more of that in a future post.
You can see all my photos from Greenwich on my Flickr site here.