Summer In Greenwich

After our 6-week trip across Spain (read The End Of A Slow Spanish Summer), my wife and I stopped off in England for a few days to see friends and family before heading off on our next trip to the USA. Before we moved to Spain in 2014, we had lived in Greenwich in South London and going back there is still like going home in many ways even though we only actually lived there for 3 years. We’ve only been back a couple of times since we’ve been in Granada, so we really look forward to visiting what feels like our very own village in London.

For those who haven’t visited, Greenwich is one of the loveliest places to visit in London and yet, other than the admittedly incredible Observatory where you can literally stand on Greenwich Mean Time, there are so many other things to do and places to see while there. Here are a few of my favourites that you may like:

If you enjoy a bit of nature, then we used to love wandering through Greenwich Park where at the top of the hill, you will find the Observatory, Planetarium and one of the best views of London and the River Thames.
Greenwich Park

Aji Ichiban
The best sushi in London. Bar none. You can pay a fortune at more well-known places across the city, but Aji Ichiban is one of those increasingly rare places with seriously good food and understated, friendly, yet highly efficient service. This used to be our local and it is still fantastic and like everything in Greenwich, a very short walk to get there.

Sunday morning ritual involved getting a coffee and scones here, going for a walk through the College and the Park and then, heading home with the Sunday papers. One of those perfect English days.

It’s always a joy simply walking through this part of Greenwich as you not only get a sense of the significant role that Greenwich played in British naval history (and if you’re really into that kind of thing, the Maritime Museum is fascinating), but the architecture is simply breathtaking and hugely popular with film production companies who always seem to use the College grounds as a set for ‘historic England’.

On my morning walks through the College, I remember seeing sets for countless films (read Is This The Most Popular Film Location In The World?). If you get the chance, the Painted Hall is also an incredible thing of beauty.

Greenwich College Seaview

Oliver’s Jazz Bar
I’m not even a big jazz fan, but I used to love going to Oliver’s just for a drink and to watch whatever band they had on that night. It’s one of those small basement venues that seem to be disappearing as London continues to expand into a anonymous world of glass and steel. Oliver’s is the antithesis of that. An intimate venue abundant in laid-back atmosphere and the room at the back is a cool place to be.
Where would you like to start? The Cutty Sark? Maritime Museum? Or the Royal Observatory? For what is essentially the size of a village, you are so spoilt for history in Greenwich. Even just popping out for the newspaper, you can’t help walking past an icon of 19th century naval history on the way.
Red Door
You may be getting the sense that I like coffee and you may even be right. This was a wonderful place to visit as it felt like your own front room with a huge assortment of home-made cakes, fabulous coffee and that chilled, authentic environment where you expect somebody to suddenly start playing their guitar or giving a live poetry performance while you have a coffee. And again, the room at the back is wonderful.
Red Door Tea Scone
Any kind of list of places to visit anywhere in England has to include a pub and although I don’t drink beer, my beer-drinking friends swear by this modern boozer as it’s not only a friendly place to visit with good food, but it also serves beer from the Meantime brewery just down the road.
Not just another market, but one of the oldest (1700) and most popular markets in London with a fantastic Thai stall and a roast beef and potato stall at the food market. A shopper’s paradise with everything being very much made locally.
Greenwich Market

The commuter boat to London Bridge
As you may know, London has the occasional Tube strike, however I strangely looked forward to them as it meant that I could justify taking the boat to work from time to time. And with your Oyster travel pass, you even get a discount. I used to love it as not many other people seemed to use the service as the schedule was never the best for commuters.

Of course, there are countless other things to mention, but those are our favourites and so whenever we go back to England to visit friends and family, we make sure to spend some time in Greenwich doing some of the above with local friends.

After a few days in Greenwich and a few more elsewhere in England seeing family, we were then all set for our 3-month trip to the USA and Cuba. Next stop – Boston!

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