- Heyworth Gordon
Greenwich Park: Places not to miss for a great day out
Highlighting the best parts of the park for families, pet owners, couples and solo travelers.
Many people approach Greenwich Park from it’s northwest corner, just off of King William Walk. In the warmer months the street is buzzing with scores of people – families exploring the National Maritime Museum, couples sipping drinks at the Greenwich Tavern, happy dogs carrying sticks back to their owners and photo enthusiasts willing armed with 20lbs of carefully selected lenses.
With all that is has to offer, it’s easy to see why most people keep to this small section of the park, only venturing up to Flamsteed House (featuring the Prime Meridian) for the view of the city and obligatory selfie. But we’d like to highlight some of the best parts of this glorious green space that deserve visiting.
The first space is located in the south eastern corner of the park, where Greenwich Council meticulously maintains a series of formal seasonal flower beds and mature trees. The Flower Garden is one of the horticultural show pieces of the park, including the quintessential Edwardian Garden. It offers the perfect backdrop for picnicking in the spring and summer sun. Feel free to unfurl a blanket on the manicured lawn and pop open your picnic basket. You’re free to enjoy your favourite tipple but please remember that barbequing is not permitted anywhere in the park. This space also prohibits dogs and ball games, which helps to keep it serene, quiet and calming.
Next on the hit list is the Pavilion Café. Located bang smack in the middle of the park (at the top of the hill by the Royal Observatory), this eatery hosts an outdoor eating area, with dozens of picnic tables, and one of the best views that Greenwich has to offer. The octagonal building, which houses the café, was built in 1906 and recently refurbished to hold a fully-fledged canteen has a menu that serves traditional breakfast, hot lunches and a range of sandwiches, drinks and snacks. It’s welcomes families with kids (with high chairs, child-friendly cutlery and baby changing facilities) and dogs too – rain or shine, it’s worth a visit.
If you’re looking to get a active then the park has got you covered. Cyclists are welcome on designated paths, grab your roller skates and join in with other enthusiasts as they practice their moves in front of the Greenwich Park Bandstand on Great Cross Avenue or bring along your own football for an impromptu kick around on any one of the available fields. Unbeknownst to most people, the park also has a set of six tennis courts available for use. No need to be part of a members club to play on them, just book your timeslot online up to a week in advance; prices range from £10.40 to £14.00 per hour.
If you’re looking to visit the park opens all year round at 6am to pedestrians (7am for car parking). Closing times vary with the season with gates being locked at 6pm in the colder months, extending all the way to 9:30pm in the height of the summer. Please be aware that when you hear the announcement “the park is now closing” gather your things and make your way to the nearest exit – don’t loiter or you risk being locked in behind the gates and needing to call the local authority for help (24-hour emergency number on 020 8854 8888). Getting to Greenwich Park is possible by car, tube, bus and train – we’d recommend Googling your route to determine the best way travel.
Insider Tip: Don’t be afraid to venture outside the south end of the park and onto Blackheath Common – feel free to run, fly and zoom to your heart’s content. In the distance you’ll see Blackheath village where you’ll find some great pubs, restaurants and shopping. Take your time and have a wander though this lesser known part of London that’s away from the maddening crowds near the river.