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The best family days out in London and beyond rated by kids and teens

Old Royal Naval College

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Old Royal Naval College

KidRated’s Old Royal Naval College Top Tips:

  • The best view of the ORNC is from Island Gardens
  • Pick up a Family Trail for £1
  • Big family activities take place at Christmas, Easter and Halloween

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the two domed Old Royal Naval College is one of the most visually stunning buildings in London. To see the full extent of the architecture, get off the DLR a stop early at Island Gardens for the best view and then walk under the Thames through the Greenwich Tunnel.


When you arrive you can first visit the Discover Greenwich exhibition which will tell you all kinds of information about the original Tudor palace and how Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I were all born here. Discover Greenwich also has activities for kids to do – you can even dress up as an admiral!


It is advisable to take a guided tour of the exterior of the buildings. You can only go into two of the four buildings but the outside is just as interesting particularly if you go on a film tour. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Golden Compass, Sherlock Holmes, Thor and Skyfall are just some of the blockbusters which have been filmed here.


You can visit the Chapel, where you can spot many different hidden nautical symbols, and the Painted Hall. The Painted Hall is incredible to see. It took the painter Sir James Thornhill, who also painted St Paul’s, 19 years to cover the walls, and ceiling.


While you are in Greenwich why not visit the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory or the Cutty Sark?

Booking Advice:

  • Admission is FREE
  • Free 45 minute guided tours happen between 11 am –  3pm, they are more frequent on weekends
  • Check here for some great events




King William Walk
SE10 9NN

Phone number:

+44 (0)20 82694799


How to get there:

DLR: Cutty Sark

Journey Planner

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Teen Verdict

Things to do, places to go for kids and teenagers - cool, academic, fun and entertaining in London and beyond with KidRated


My family and I decided to take the film tour around ORNC because we’re big movie buffs and it didn’t disappoint. Obviously seeing the architecture itself is super impressive but hearing about the filming that took place was the highlight for us. I also had a little fun trying to spot the nautical symbols. I wouldn’t recommend this by itself for a day out with friends but if you’re doing a film locations tour then it should definitely be on your list.

Parent Point of View

Things to do, places to go for kids and teenagers - cool, academic, fun and entertaining in London and beyond with KidRated

Laura Porter

  • The Discover Visitor Centre is ace. There are lots of activities for kids and it’s all free. There’s dressing up too.
  • Do go halfway up the stairs and pop your head through the opening to look like a portrait on the wall!
  • The Painted Hall has mirror trolleys you can wheel around to see the ceiling without getting a crick in your neck.
  • It’s easy to have a free day out in Greenwich particularly with the park and National Maritime Museum nearby.

You can find loads more information by Laura Porter at 

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