London Drum

Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum

Queen’s House
Where? Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich · Web: Opening times? 10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun); Last entry 30 mins before closing Visiting hours may change Price? Free Time required? A typical visit is 30-45 mins Buses: 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 386 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is Cutty Sark DLR Train fares

Craig’s review… Queen’s House is one of those buildings that gets eulogised in all the guidebooks, but when you actually come and see it you’ll think huh, okay. Is that it? If you didn’t know it was famous beforehand then you wouldn’t have a clue that it was.

Greenwich Palace

Can you see the Old Royal Naval College over the road? That’s where the Tudor Palace used to be. Whenever you read about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I staying at Greenwich Palace then that’s where it was. James I added Queen’s House in 1616 but when the English Civil War kicked off the court was forced to flee the capital and Greenwich Palace fell into disrepair. That spelled the beginning of the end for the building, and when the monarchy was restored in the 1660s they decided to knock it down and replace it with Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital instead (now known as the Old Royal Naval College).

It’s always been a bit of a puzzler to me why they chose to knock down the palace and not the house, but it seems that Tudor palaces were ten-a-penny in those days – London still had Whitehall Palace, St. James’s Palace, Nonsuch Palace and Hampton Court, plus the recently demolished Richmond Palace. Queen’s House, however, was viewed as a true original. When Inigo Jones was commissioned to build it in the early 17th-century he had just come back from his grand Italian tour and this is what he brought back with him… architectural ideas that had never been seen before. Nowadays it just looks like a million other buildings.

National Maritime Museum’s art collection

The King’s bedchamber, presence chamber, closet and other Royal rooms are all long gone – they’ve been stripped out and turned into galleries for the National Maritime Museum’s art collection. The pictures are mostly naval-related so you’ve got seascapes, sea battles, and portraits of old captains and admirals. There are also a few nice views of London.

The Queen’s bedchamber still has its original red and pink painted ceiling, and instead of naval paintings you get scenes of Whitehall and Westminster instead (definitely worth a look). Her Privy Chamber contains some very famous images of the Tudors and Stuarts.

If you like naval paintings then you’ll probably get a kick out of it, but for the rest of us it’s the kind of place you’ll only visit once.

Worth a visit? Value for money? freeGood for kids? Easy to get to?

I also recommend… If you enjoy this then try National Maritime Museum (you can walk it in less than 2 mins) and Old Royal Naval College (you can walk it in 6 mins)

London Squire bookThe owns and has spent the last decade reviewing the capital’s landmarks, attractions and hotels. His guidebook is available from Amazon

Your comments and questions

Niamh Can you visit it just by itself, or do you always have to visit the National Maritime Museum as well. I only want to see the art

Craig Hi Niamh. Sure, you can just visit Queen's House on its own if you want. They do have quite a lot of naval art on show inside the National Maritime Museum as well, though, if that's what you're interested in.

Dave How far is it to walk from the station?

Craig Hi Dave. Assuming that you mean Cutty Sark DLR then its not very far at all -- 10 minutes max.

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