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Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College: Our most recommended tours and activities

Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

1. Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

Embark on a day trip from London to discover some of England's most important attractions. Explore Leeds Castle, see the historic Canterbury Cathedral, and marvel at the White Cliffs of Dover. Finally, return to London to end your tour with a boat ride on the River Thames. Described as 'the loveliest castle in the world' by Lord Conway, Leeds Castle sits on 500 acres of landscaped parkland across two idyllic islands, deep in the heart of the magnificent Kent countryside. Arrive early to visit Leeds Castle, where Henry VIII retreated to escape the plague that was raging in London during his reign. Upon arrival at Leeds Castle, you will be greeted by your guide. Discover the history behind this magical castle and experience life how Henry VIII would have. Next up, embark on a visit to Canterbury Cathedral, the scene of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s gruesome murder in 1170. Learn the intriguing history behind this captivating masterpiece of medieval architecture. Marvel at the cathedral’s spectacular stained glass windows, many of which have survived from the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Then, tantalize your taste buds with a traditional two-course meal. Visit the gateway to England and admire the famous White Cliffs of Dover, with a photo stop on the stunning stretch of coastline that faces continental Europe. You'll also see Dover Castle, a commanding medieval fortress rising over the English Channel, and a key film location in 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Then, head to Greenwich to see the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, as well as the Royal Observatory and the world-famous Cutty Sark, a fascinating 19th-century clipper ship. Get a fresh perspective on London’s attractions with a boat ride on the River Thames, from Greenwich to Embankment Pier. You'll pass Tower Bridge and stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral along the way.

London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

2. London: Old Royal Naval College Visit and Painted Hall Tour

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the Painted Hall is known as the UK's very own Sistine Chapel and reopened in 2019 following a 2-year restoration project. With your guide, discover Old Royal Naval College that houses the Painted Hall, admire the beauty of its magnificent interiors, wander its atmospheric grounds and courtyards, and hear the stories of the people who made this place their home. Explore the newly refurbished Nelson Room and learn more about the glorious life of this national naval hero through a multimedia exhibition. Visits to the Painted Hall include guided tours as well as access to the Sackler Gallery, where you can learn about the many characters, including gods and heroes, that are painted onto the ceiling. Learn about the Old Royal Naval College and how it was built in 1692 as a home for returning seamen. Discover the stunning 18th century chapel of St Peter and St Paul, the famous Water Gates, and the Victorian Skittle Alley. Glimpse the foundations of royal history as you see parts of the former Palace of Placentia, and the birthplace of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

From London: Kent Countryside Christmas Service & Lunch

3. From London: Kent Countryside Christmas Service & Lunch

Travel through the stunning countryside of Kent on a guided bus tour to Canterbury Cathedral to attend the Christmas “Sung Eucharist” service. Savor a traditional Christmas lunch, view the famous White Cliffs of Dover, and visit Greenwich. Arrive at the Canterbury Cathedral, where you will attend the Christmas “Sung Eucharist” service – often graced by the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The line of succession from Augustine has seen 105 Archbishops uphold this prestigious title. After the church service, sit down and enjoy a festive traditional Christmas dinner. Soak up the festive atmosphere and enjoy a hearty three-course lunch with an alcoholic beverage or soft drink. Next, continue for a photo stop by the famous White Cliffs of Dover, the gateway to England You’ll also catch a glimpse of Dover Castle, a key filming location for The Other Boleyn Girl. On your way back to London, drive past the historic London borough of Greenwich, famous for its maritime past. Admire outstanding example of 17th-century Baroque architecture including the stunning Old Royal Naval College.

Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

4. Greenwich Highlights Half Day Tour

Starting at the Greenwich Visitor Centre, you'll walk along the River Thames towards the nearby Old Royal Naval College, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. See the famous Painted Hall, with its magnificent murals and painted ceiling, and other important sites of the Old Royal Naval College. From there you will walk up to the world famous Greenwich Royal Observatory, site of the Prime Meridian. Here visitors will see the line that divides the Western and Eastern hemispheres of the globe. Another highlight here are the unique clocks that occupy the Observatory museum, designed by Harrison, which eventually solved the "longitude" problem for seafarers. Following the visit to the Observatory, walk down to the largest maritime museum in the world: the National Maritime Museum. Britain's seafaring past and history as a naval power is on showcase here. You'll have the opportunity to rest your feet and enjoy a tea or coffee here. From here, your guide will take you aboard the world-famous clipper ship Cutty Sark. In her time, at the very end of the Age of Sail, she was the fastest ship on water. Newly restored for a staggering price tag of 50 million pounds, she was reopened to the public on May 1st, 2012. The tour ends at the historic Greenwich Market, home to art galleries, antiques and amazing street food.

London: Harry Potter Tour + Hop-on Hop-off Bus +River Cruise

5. London: Harry Potter Tour + Hop-on Hop-off Bus +River Cruise

Join a walking tour and discover London's hotspots that inspired the wizarding world of Harry Potter! On this entertaining 2-hour walking tour, your guide will introduce you to some of the movies most iconic filming locations. Next, hop on board an iconic double-decker bus and enjoy panoramic views from the open-top deck. Hop off at the famous landmarks like the London Eye, The Shard, and St Paul's Cathedral. If you prefer, stay on for a full loop and listen to the captivating audio commentary on board. Next, enjoy London's iconic waterway, as you board a 30-minute sightseeing cruise. Sail along the River Thames and past the Tate Modern, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge. You can begin the one-way cruise from either Westminster Pier or Tower Pier. Finally, your pass includes complimentary access to an escorted e-tricycle and a sightseeing app with a bunch of self-guided features.

The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

6. The "Best of Greenwich" Day Tour

The 'Best of Greenwich' day tour is both informative and fun. It's an entertaining and eco-friendly way to experience the magic of maritime Greenwich. See the amazing Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College, where movies such as Johnny Depp's 'On Stranger Tides' were filmed. Marvel at the elegance of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture, the same architect who also designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Straddle the Prime Meridian - the very center of world time and space - at the Greenwich Royal Observatory. See the amazing clocks of John Harrison, the man who would eventually solve the " longitudinal problem " for mankind. Climb aboard the magnificent tea clipper Cutty Sark, now fully restored to her original splendor. Appreciate the naval and maritime paintings at Queen's House. You'll also get to enjoy a lovely pub lunch by the River Thames. Put on your favorite walking shoes and let your entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide show you all the historic sights.

Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

7. Old Royal Naval College: Film & TV Locations Walking Tour

Walk through over 60 years of filming on this guided tour of the iconic riverside grounds of the Old Royal Naval College and inside the Painted Hall. Spot locations from Bridgerton, The Crown, Thor, and more. From a starring role as Buckingham Palace in The Crown to 19th century revolutionary Paris in Les Misérables, and more recently as the backdrop for the award-winning TV period drama series Bridgerton, the Old Royal Naval College has provided the setting for some of the most memorable scenes in major film and TV productions. Following alongside your guide, spot the locations used for filming The Crown (2016 – present), including Buckingham Palace, Dartmouth College, and many more. Visit Lower Grand Square, which hosted a crashed spacecraft in a climactic battle scene in Thor: The Dark World (2013). Enter inside the Painted Hall and see where Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman waltzed the night away in Indiscreet (1958). Walk in the footsteps of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011) and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides (2011). View the Painted Hall backdrop for a scene in The Madness of King George (1994) where Nigel Hawthorne’s George III is presented with the painting of his forebearer George I. Later, visit the chapel and marvel at the wedding venue of Rowan Atkinson’s famous performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

8. From Brighton: Greenwich and Cambridge Day Trip

Start your day with a guided walking tour of Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover breathtaking views from Greenwich Park, stand on the Prime Meridian of the World, where eastern and western hemispheres meet, and learn why Greenwich became the home of time (GMT). Learn why Greenwich is also a hugely popular TV and film location. Netflix filmed scenes from "The Crown" and "Bridgerton" here. Greenwich is also featured in the films "Les Miserables," "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Thor: The Dark World." Finish your guided walk at the Cutty Sark. Enjoy free time to discover the many culinary options at Greenwich Market, also famous for its arts and crafts. Set off to Cambridge, home to the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. Take a guided tour and discover why people like Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking have made Cambridge famous for its contributions to mathematics and science. Select the additional option to enjoy a 45-minute Punting boat tour on the River Cam.

Other Sightseeing Options in Old Royal Naval College

Want to discover all there is to do in Old Royal Naval College? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Old Royal Naval College

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 386 reviews

This is a very full itinerary. You’ll see more in one day than you normally would by yourself in two. We had a perfect amount of time at all of our locations to really explore except for maybe the Dover cliffs. You don’t get very close to them but you do get to hang in Dover for a little like the tour says. Danxia is very kind and knowledgeable, and seems happy to be there with you. A great day out.

Zhozho, the tour leader and Duma the driver were excellent. Knows every single thing of history in details, communicative, and clear explenation. Bus was clean, comfortable, and spacious. Need more time to enjoy Leeds Castle and too much time in Cantebury Cathedral.

Interesting tour, guide (Danxia) very good at explaining places. Very nice places, excludable Dover

The young man who took us round for the tour was fabulous, full of stories & information

Loved this! Definitely, highly recommended to everyone visiting Budapest.