The Observatory opened in 1675 and was the first purpose-built scientific building in Britain. Today it is a museum dedicated to showcasing a big collection of astronomical and navigational tools, telescopes and clocks going back almost 400 years. This is a place where you can explore the history of time and astronomy. There are some wonderful displays showing you how to navigate your way using the stars, or how to work out your longitude and latitude using some of the old equipment from the past.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and is famous for the Prime Meridian Line, built solely for the purpose of finding longitude at sea. It attracts visitors from around the world who wish to stand astride the line that divides East and West.
Some of the highlights at the museum include watching the time-ball fall at 1 o'clock and of course climbing into the giant refracting telescope, which is the largest in Britain. You are also able to admire John Harrison's prize-winning longitude marine chronometer, H4 and its three predecessors.
At the museum you can also find London's only public planetarium. It seats 120 people and provides brilliant and captivating visuals and insight into the wonders and mysteries of our Universe. All the shows are hosted by astronomers who work at the Royal Observatory , who are more than happy to answers any questions you may have after the show.
When and How Much? The Royal Observatory is opened daily from 10:00 - 17:00 (last admission 16:30). Admission is free although there is an admission charge for planetarium shows.
Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJView Larger Map
Best For Whom
- Families With Children
- Mature Travellers
Best For What
- Cultural Experience
- The Local Experience