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Greenwich London Day Out

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Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College (originally Greenwich Hospital)viewed from the River Thames

The Old Royal Naval College (originally Greenwich Hospital) viewed from the River Thames, in the centre of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site

© visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ McCormick-McAdam

The Old Royal Naval College was originally established by Royal Charter in 1694 as a Royal Naval Hospital for the relief and support of seamen and their dependents.

Sir Christopher Wren planned the site and, during the early 1700s, a number of different architects completed his design. In the 1800s, the number of Pensioners dropped steadily and the Hospital was closed in 1869.

But soon after, the Royal Naval College moved in. Here, a short distance from the sea, were trained ship captains who commanded the fleets that projected British military and economic might throughout the world.

When the Royal Navy moved out to Shrivenham the site was given over to the Greenwich Foundation to conserve and open to the public. Whilst the University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban rent some buildings, the whole Old Royal Naval College is a publicly accessible heritage attraction not a university campus. Among the highlights of a visit to the ORNC, which is open to the public free of charge, are the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, chapel and the Painted Hall, one of Europe's finest painted interiors.

Much earlier on this site, Henry VIII is reputed to have had his favorite palace.

You can find out more about the Old Royal Naval College and the rest of Greenwich at Discover Greenwich, the Visitor Centre for the area.

Cross over the main road (Romney Road) to reach the Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park and Royal Observatory.

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