Family day out in Greenwich

Historic, beautiful and fun – take your family on a day trip to Greenwich.

Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian Line, historical landmarks, interactive exhibitions, busy markets, live concerts, sporting events, thrill-seeking experiences, and London's oldest enclosed Royal Park. It is the perfect all-round area for a fun-filled family day out in London.

Below find two separate one-day itineraries for families, covering the area around Royal Museums Greenwich and Greenwich Peninsula. Either spend two days enjoying them both, or, if you prefer to do both in one day, mix and match the parts that you like most. Travel on Thames Clippers between Greenwich pier and North Greenwich pier, a journey of only eight minutes.

If you’re staying overnight stay at The Greenwich Hotel, the InterContinental London – The O2, or one of the other hotels in Greenwich.

Day 1 morning: explore Royal Museums Greenwich

Greenwich has a rich maritime history, and in fact Maritime Greenwich is one of London's four World Heritage Sites, so travel there by boat along the river Thames. There are many river boat services to Greenwich from central London. Catch a City Cruises (kids travel for free with two paying adults on the River Red Rover ticket), or Thames Clippers boat from Westminster, Waterloo and Tower piers, and see Big Ben, the London Eye, Tate Modern and Tower Bridge along the way.

See Cutty Sark, the most famous and last surviving tea clipper. Enjoy stunning views over Greenwich from the ship's deck and walk beneath the ship’s gleaming copper hull. Find out what life was like on board Cutty Sark: follow in the footsteps of those who sailed her; navigate the ship on the interactive game; explore the captain’s cabin; and take the helm at the ship’s wheel. You can also join craft workshops and other fun family activities.

Greenwich is famous for its impressive, historical buildings. The stunning National Maritime Museum features immersive children's experiences. Walk across the world by naming your ship and setting sail across the Great Map, a giant atlas that kids can explore on foot. Let the little ones (up to seven years old) take control at the immersive AHOY! children’s gallery, where polar exploration, pirates and a host of other maritime themes are brought to life – look out for the eight metre high mast of SS Rawalpindi by the entrance. These attractions are free to enter.

On top of the hill in Greenwich Park sits the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Stand astride the Prime Meridian Line (admission charge applies) with a foot in both the east and west hemispheres, see the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and set your watch as the bright red Time Ball drops at 1pm sharp.

Next door, take a tour of the universe at London's only public planetarium. Your interactive journey through space transports you to the surface of Mars; to the centre of the Sun; to far away galaxies; and through time to the moment a star is born.

Day 1 afternoon: browse the markets, lunch in the park

Explore the undercover stalls and shops in Greenwich Market to find a huge variety of unique and quirky arts and crafts. Browse all the food stalls and build your own picnic as you go because later you can set up your lunch in nearby Greenwich park.

Shopping temptation calls at Mr Humbug, a traditional sweet shop crammed with colourful jars filled with all your favourite treats.

When you're all shopped out, escape the hustle and bustle of the market in the Fan Museum, a unique attraction housing the world's finest collection of fans. The museum is set in a pair of 1721 Grade II listed houses, which have both been beautifully restored, with a stunning Japanese-style garden.

Greenwich Park, with its inspiring views, is the ideal spot for your picnic, especially as there is a children’s playground for the kids to play in. The park is also home to deer and a boating pond, so there is plenty to see and do after you've eaten.

Alternatively, the National Maritime Museum cafe offers healthy salads, deli sandwiches, hearty plates and afternoon teas with home-baked cakes and pastries for all the family.

Close to the Park you’ll find the Old Royal Naval College which is a magnificent place to explore. Enjoy a range of activities from archaeology workshops to character actors performing in the famous Painted Hall, including the pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, who shares her exploits from the ocean waves.

The Visitor Centre at the Old Royal Naval College is a recommended starting point for a visit to Greenwich. You can get tourist information here and kids can dress up as sailors, play games and use building blocks to make their own creations.

Another local activity for kids to enjoy is a trip to the Greenwich Theatre, which presents a calendar of afternoon family shows throughout the year – it’s the perfect place to escape on rainy days.

Day 1 evening: family dinner in Greenwich

After watching the sun dip below the memorable London skyline, there are a number of local restaurants in Greenwich to enjoy as a family.

Rivington Greenwich is within walking distance from the museum quarter and the restaurant has its own children’s menu, including classics such as fish and chips. Visit Monday to Saturday before 7pm and your kids will eat for free.

For a dramatic dinner setting, head for Frankie & Benny’s, Zizzi, or Sail Loft, for riverside terrace views across the Thames. All these restaurants also have bespoke kids’ menus.

Day 2 morning: on the river, over the river

From Greenwich pier, take a speedy trip on the river on board Thames Clippers to North Greenwich pier. The eight-minute journey gives you the historic Canaletto view of Greenwich, contrasted with the modern architecture of Canary Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula. You cross the line of the Prime Meridian as you cruise past The O2.

Alight at North Greenwich pier for Greenwich Peninsula - one of London's latest up and coming destinations with The O2, bars and restaurants, cable car and attractions. As you approach The O2, look out for climbers taking the exhilarating walk over the roof at Up at the O2.

Just a short walk along the river is the Emirates Air Line cable car. The six-minute “flight” through the sky from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks reaches a height of 90m (295ft); a perfect vantage point for a family selfie with The O2 as the backdrop.

At the other end, visit the interactive exhibition at The Crystal to learn more about the environment, energy and urban planning. This experience is free to enter for children under 18 years old.

Board your return flight on the cable car and when you’ve landed at Greenwich Peninsula, take to the skies once again at the Emirates Aviation Experience exhibition and interactive flight simulator. Here, would-be pilots (aged nine years and older) can attempt to fly an Airbus A380 or Boeing B777. Flights last 30 minutes and require an additional cost separate from the Aviation Experience. Advance booking is necessary. The Aviation Experience has its own café if your family needs a quick mid-morning snack.

It’s worth noting that families can purchase family packages for unlimited hop-on, hop-off travel on Thames Clippers plus Emirates Air Line trips and Emirates Aviation Experience access.

On the Emirates Air Line, enjoy lower prices when using an Oyster or contactless card. Higher prices apply for cash fares.

Day 2 afternoon: climb and drive at The O2

Keep the adrenalin pumping by climbing the roof of the world’s most popular entertainment venue at Up at The O2. The views from the top are unrivalled. Children need to be at least 10 years old and 1.2m (4ft) tall for this experience.

For lunch, head down inside The O2 and stock up on some carbs to keep you going for the rest of the day. Tuck into a pizza at Pizza Express, or opt for pasta dishes at Zizzi or Frankie & Benny's, all of which have plenty of family-friendly options. 

Stop off at the Nissan Innovation Station to put your driving skills to the test. Find out if you or a member of your family is the next racing champion on the GT Academy simulator. Enter the fun photobooth together so you can take your experience home with you.

Day 2 evening: family dinner at The O2

As the home of entertainment in London, The O2 has a full calendar of music, comedy, theatre and sporting events to look forward to (as well as movies on Europe’s widest 3D cinema screen). Find out what’s on at The O2 and plan your evening around it.

Walk along The Avenue inside The O2 and discover a variety of familiar restaurants, including Garfunkel's and TGI Friday’s. If you'd like something a little more unusual, expand the kids' tastes with some Latin American dishes at Las Iguanas, Thai flavours at Busaba Eathai, or Brazilian street food at Cabana. Each of these eateries provides plenty of delicious meals for children of all ages, and they're all within a few minutes’ walk of one another.

Call in at the Tourist Information Centre in Greenwich to further help you plan your visit.