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Open House Weekend

Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office.

Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours. These remaining spaces and any spaces that may become available from people who do not show up will be distributed in person on the day.  These places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Open House 2019 Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

History

The Old Royal Naval College, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, is a landmark complex of Baroque architecture, built on the site of one of the country’s most important Tudor palaces.

The site was developed as the Royal Hospital for Seamen from 1696 onwards to a masterplan created by Sir Christopher Wren and implemented by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Hospital took over fifty years to build and at its peak housed more than 2,700 naval veterans.  The buildings were later occupied by the Royal Naval College, and is now a major historical attraction and popular film location. It is home to the Painted Hall, Chapel and Visitor Centre, and is main campus of the University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. 

Open House Weekend offers the opportunity to see parts of the complex not normally accessible to the public, and to hear about the decisions involved in adapting the newly opened King William Undercroft for 21st century uses.

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

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Events

FREE Queen Mary Court Tours Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office. Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours. We do not have a...

Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office.

Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours. These remaining spaces and any spaces that may become available from people who do not show up will be distributed in person on the day.  These places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Open House Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

11.30-12.30, 12.30-1.30pm, 1.30-2.30pm, 2.30-3.30pm, 3.30-4.30pm

(Wheelchair accessible, some parts of tour include stairs but lifts are available)

Old Royal Naval College - Queen Mary Court; Sir Christopher Wren, 1694

History

Queen Mary's Court was the last of the four Royal Naval Hospital buildings to be completed, following Christopher Wren's layout, but designed and built by Thomas Ripley.

The university has retained the historic layout throughout. The cabin walls have been stripped back to reveal original timber panelling, barrel vaulting and Portland stone.

The Chapel

James Stuart, as Surveyor at the Royal Hospital for Seamen, was appointed to re-design the Chapel in 1781. He acquired his name following a visit to Athens when he became fascinated by ancient Greek architecture and design. The Chapel reflects these influences and Greek style and patterns are used throughout. Stuart left much of the work to his Clerks of Works, Robert Mylne and William Newton who deserve much of the credit for the way the Chapel looks.

The Chapel is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, both of whom have connections with water and the sea. The chapel is full of naval symbols, intended to remind the residents of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, who had to worship there daily, of their former lives.

Features that merit a special mention include the vast altarpiece painting by Benjamin West, the Samuel Green organ (the only one of its kind to remain in situ) and the outstanding examples of craftsmanship, including numerous items made from Coade stone.

 

Check in point is University of Greenwich tent in Lower Grand Square click here for site map. Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your tour start time to allow plenty of time to find the meeting point and check in. Tour guides will leave promptly.

(Tickets are free & are bookable online until late Thursday 19th September, any remaining tickets will be available only in person on the day of the tours from the Visitor Centre)

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

 

Find out more Book now
FREE Queen Anne Court Tours Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office. Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours. We do not have a...

Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office.

Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours. These remaining spaces and any spaces that may become available from people who do not show up will be distributed in person on the day.  These places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Open House Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

11.30-12.30, 12.30-1.30pm, 1.30-2.30pm, 2.30-3.30pm, 3.30-4.30pm

(Wheelchair accessible, some parts of tour include spiral staircases – which can be skipped)

Old Royal Naval College - Queen Anne Court; Sir Christopher Wren, 1689

Queen Anne Court

Queen Anne Court now houses the new headquarters of the University. It was begun in 1689 to mirror Webb’s King Charles Building but was not completed until c.1749 when Thomas Ripley built the end pavilions facing the river.

The east front consists of 23 bays in Portland stone ashlar (dressed stone). The whole façade is rusticated with quintuple keystones above each window.

Striking the viewer on approach is the arcaded central bay built by Hawksmoor in 1701-05. It’s pediment rests on the entablature supported by Corinthian columns and it projects forward from the low-pitched slated roof. The windows beneath it are deeply recessed.

The end pavilions are of 3 storeys in comparison to the main part of the building, which is only 2. The third storeys of the pavilions end in a balustraded parapet. Here the entablature is also supported by the Corinthian order but in the form of pilasters. As the highest order of the classical orders these add even greater splendour to the building.

The western part of the court remained a brick body until given its interior in 1712 and finally its stone façade in 1725.

Inside highlights include the council boardroom and the basement of the early Stuart undercroft from the former Royal Palace of Placentia survives. Built in 1605-06 it simple with octagonal piers and chamfered ribs.

 

Check in point is University of Greenwich tent in Lower Grand Square click here for site map. Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your tour start time to allow plenty of time to find the meeting point and check in. Tour guides will leave promptly.

(Tickets are free & are bookable online until late Thursday 19th September, any remaining tickets will be available only in person on the day of the tours from the Visitor Centre)

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

 

Find out more Book now
FREE King William Court Tours We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events. We do not have a waiting list...

We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours, however spaces may become available on the day if people do not show up. In this case, places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Open House Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

11.00-12.00, 12.00-1.00pm, 1.00-2.00pm, 2.00-3.00pm, 3.00-4.00pm

(Wheelchair accessible, some parts of tour include stairs but lifts are available)

Old Royal Naval College - King William Court; Sir Christopher Wren, 1698

The Painted Hall
The Painted Hall is often described as the ‘finest dining hall in Europe’. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, it was originally intended as an eating space for the naval veterans who lived here at the Royal Hospital for Seamen. Its exuberant wall and ceiling decorations are by James Thornhill and pay tribute to British maritime power.

The Painted Hall sits within the King William Court. Wren submitted designs in 1698 and the roof and dome were in place five years later. When in 1708 James Thornhill began decorating the interior, he was instructed to include as many references as possible to the importance of the navy in Britain’s fortunes.

His ‘great and laborious undertaking’ was finally completed after 19 years, by which time the Painted Hall was felt to be far too grand for its original purpose. Respectable visitors were allowed admittance, after paying a small fee, and the residents of the Royal Hospital – Greenwich Pensioners – acted as tour guides. Thornhill was paid only £3 per square yard (about one square metre) for the ceiling, and just £1 per square yard for the walls. However, he did receive a knighthood in 1720 and his legacy is the finest painted architectural interior by an English artist. 

In 1806, three months after the Battle of Trafalgar the previous October, the body of Horatio Nelson was brought to lie in state in the Painted Hall. A plaque marks the spot where his coffin was placed before it was taken for burial in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Between 1824 and 1936, the Painted Hall was known as the National Gallery of Naval Art, with over 300 naval-themed paintings on display. These paintings, together with portrait busts, drawings, ship models and relics of Nelson, formed the basis of the National Maritime Museum’s art collection.

In 1939, following extensive restoration, the Painted Hall was used for dining (including breakfast) by the officers of the Royal Naval College. It was also the venue for many grand dinners including in 1946 a banquet to celebrate the formation of the United Nations.
 

Check in point is University of Greenwich tent in Lower Grand Square click here for site map. Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your tour start time to allow plenty of time to find the meeting point and check in. Tour guides will leave promptly.

(Tickets are free & are bookable online until late Thursday 19th September, any remaining tickets will be available only in person on the day of the tours from the Visitor Centre)

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

Find out more Book now
FREE Jacobean Undercroft Tours We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events. We do not have a waiting list...

We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours, however spaces may become available on the day if people do not show up. In this case, places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

11.00-12.00,12.00-1.00pm,1.00-2.00pm, 2.00-3.00pm, 3.00-4.00pm, 4.00-5.00pm

(Due to the historical nature of the site this tour is not wheelchair accessible) 

A rare opportunity to view the vaulted brick Jacobean Undercroft which was constructed in around 1604-5 underneath the Great Hall of the Tudor Greenwich Palace.

Check-in point is the timeline in the Visitor Centre (the centre of the space) click here for site map. Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your tour start time to allow plenty of time to find the meeting point and check in. Tour guides will leave promptly. 

(Tickets are free & are bookable online until late Thursday 19th September, any remaining tickets will be available only in person on the day of the tours from the Visitor Centre)

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

Find out more Book now
FREE King William Undercroft Architecture Tours We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events. We do not have a waiting list...

We are sorry, but this tour is now sold out. We have plenty of other tours available over Open House weekend, please check out our other events.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours, however spaces may become available on the day if people do not show up. In this case, places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour

 

Open House Saturday 21st September:

2.30-3.30, 3.30-4.30

Open House Sunday 22nd September 2019:

11.30-12.30, 12.30-1.30, 2.30-3.30, 3.30-4.30

(Wheelchair accessible)

This architect-led tour will explore the Painted Hall Undercroft, which was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor on the remains of the Tudor Palace. The Undercroft has been elegantly renewed for contemporary use as an introductory area to the Painted Hall with café, shop and interpretation displays. (Charge applies for entry to the Painted Hall).

 

Check-in point is the timeline in the Visitor Centre (the centre of the space) click here for site map. Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your tour start time to allow plenty of time to find the meeting point and check in. Tour guides will leave promptly. 

(Tickets are free & are bookable online until late Thursday 19th September, any remaining tickets will be available only in person on the day of the tours from the Visitor Centre)

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

Find out more Book now

Open house tours are no longer available to book online or via our Box Office.

Please note there is still limited availability for some of these tours.

We do not have a waiting list for these tours. These remaining spaces and any spaces that may become available from people who do not show up will be distributed in person on the day.  These places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and we will only be able to allocate spaces up to the limit of 15 per tour.

 

Open House 2019 Saturday 21st September & Sunday 22nd September 2019:

History

The Old Royal Naval College, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, is a landmark complex of Baroque architecture, built on the site of one of the country’s most important Tudor palaces.

The site was developed as the Royal Hospital for Seamen from 1696 onwards to a masterplan created by Sir Christopher Wren and implemented by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Hospital took over fifty years to build and at its peak housed more than 2,700 naval veterans.  The buildings were later occupied by the Royal Naval College, and is now a major historical attraction and popular film location. It is home to the Painted Hall, Chapel and Visitor Centre, and is main campus of the University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. 

Open House Weekend offers the opportunity to see parts of the complex not normally accessible to the public, and to hear about the decisions involved in adapting the newly opened King William Undercroft for 21st century uses.

 

Please note Open House tickets are not valid to enter the Painted Hall.

If you do not have a valid 12month Adult ticket to the Painted Hall, shortly after booking your Open House tour tickets you will be emailed our exclusive offer discount code to Buy one Adult ticket* and get the second adult ticket half price

*We cannot refund tickets that have already been purchased.

Available Tickets