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Old Royal Naval College, London

4.7
#20 of 142 in Historic Sites in London
Architectural Building Historic Site
Elegant and dramatic, Old Royal Naval College represents a former military hospital built between 1696 and 1712, now inscribed on the World Heritage List. The hospital was established on the ground of the former Palace of Palentia, the birthplace of Tudor queens Mary I and Elizabeth I. In 1873 it was converted to a training facility for the navy, though the elegant Baroque architecture was preserved. Visitors today can tour the painted hall, a dining hall intended for naval veterans and extravagantly decorated with floor-to-ceiling murals representing British power. Visitors can also tour the queen's palace, hospital, training facilities, and 18th-century chapel. With its twin domed spires, statues, and columns, the grand museum makes a stunning sight along the Thames. A visit to Old Royal Naval College represents just the start of the adventure when you use our London vacation trip planner to plot your vacation.
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Where to stay in London

Many of London's main attractions are spread out, so nearby public transportation is key. There is no downtown area as such in London, and some of the least expensive hotels have more convenient access to tourist sites than the costlier ones. For a quintessential London experience, consider staying in the West End. This part of town offers excellent theaters, historical sites, and eating and shopping options for every taste. Lodging won’t be cheap, but you’ll have the colorful variety of London life right at your doorstep. Look at Notting Hill or Chelsea for charming and less expensive boutique hotels and B&Bs.
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871 reviews
Google
4.6
  • Highly recommend this tour. We've visited the painted hall many times, but to see the ceiling close up with a well informed guide is a privilege. A once in a lifetime opportunity  more »
  • In my view probably the best ten quid spent currently in London. A unique insight into a highly important conservation project, things you will not see from ground level and made by our guide Craig. G...  more »
  • An amazing guide called Ben guided us around the Painted Hall ceiling tour - it was the best ever tour of anywhere I have visited. Such a knowledgeable friendly guy and the most wonderful experience. ...  more »
Google
  • Went on the Painted Ceiling tour. Staff were very knowledgeable and had lots of good stories. A great history tour and not to be missed!
  • Can get within touching distance of the painted ceiling which is over 350 years old. Amazing
  • I had a chance to photograph an Engagement session here for one of my couples and I was really impress with the architecture. Amazing venue for weddings!
  • My kids are at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance which is housed in King Charles Court. Lovely frontage onto the Thames. Across the way is the Painted Hall and The Old Royal Naval Chapel. Just a little bit further along is the National Maritime Museum. Going up the gorgeous Greenwich Park you get to the Royal Observatory. Don't forget there's Cutty Sark to see as well!
  • Somewhat overlooked or underrated (in the presence of main attractions like Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum), this place is a real gem that will leave you surprised.