Old Royal Naval College

ORNC Canaletto View
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Welcome to the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC), Sir Christopher Wren’s twin-domed riverside masterpiece and one of London’s most famous landmarks. The ORNC is open daily and is a breathtaking place to visit – whether you have an hour or a day.

The iconic buildings stand on the site of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence and include the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, Painted Hall and Chapel. You can find out more about the ORNC’s intriguing past by joining one of our daily guided tours.

The buildings and grounds of the ORNC were originally designed as a refuge for old and injured sailors in the 1690s. Later the site became a training college for officers in the Royal Navy. Today the beautiful interiors and grounds are free to visit and host an exciting range of events all year round.

Explore over 500 years of history at the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, browse for design led gifts in the Shop at the ORNC or enjoy a beer at The Old Brewery. See the Painted Hall where Admiral Lord Nelson lay in state after his death in the Battle of Trafalgar, experience the grand neo-classical Chapel or attend public events at the ORNC.

Venue Type:

Ship or maritime heritage site, Historic house or home, Heritage site

Opening hours

The Visitor Centre, Painted Hall and Chapel are open to visitors daily between 10am and 5pm. The grounds are open daily from 8.00 to 18.00.

Daily guided tours run at 12.00 & 14.00 lasting approximately 60 minutes and cost £5 per person (free for children under 16).

Private group tours lasting 90 minutes are available at £7.50 per person. Please call for availability.

In the Chapel, a service of worship is held every Sunday at 11.00, to which all are welcome.

The ORNC is closed to the public on 24, 25 & 26 December. The Chapel and/or Painted Hall may occasionally be closed at short notice, please see the website for updates.

Admission charges

Admission to the Old Royal Naval College: Free
(includes the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, Painted Hall, Chapel and grounds)

Getting there

By DLR: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (Zone 2/3)
By tube: Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf and change for DLR as above.
By Rail: Greenwich Zone 2 from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Dartford.
By River: Greenwich Pier (Zone 2)
By Bus: 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 286 386

Additional info

Please contact us on 020 8269 4799 if you require wheelchair access and we can send you information regarding the step-free route around the site. Access for wheelchairs into the Chapel is provided by a Stairmate machine.

Collection details

Archaeology, Architecture, Maritime, Religion

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
A Great and Noble Design

A Great and Noble Design

  • 11 January — 19 February 2017 *on now

A revealing exhibition exploring the life of the British decorative artist Sir James Thornhill and his masterpiece – the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich (painted between 1708 and 1727). The exhibition explores the story of the commission through numerous preparatory sketches made by the artist for the Painted Hall. New research undertaken into the Painted Hall's ceiling, in the light of the upcoming conservation work, will be displayed. Held at the Visitor Centre at the Old Royal Naval College, this free exhibition is an essential visit for anyone interested in the Painted Hall.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.ornc.org/Event/thornhill

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
ORNC Chapel

Behind the scenes in the Chapel

  • 19 February 2017 1:15pm *on now

Join us for a free tour of one of Europe’s finest neo-classical interiors including areas not usually accessible to the public.

The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is a neo-classical masterpiece by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart and William Newton. Featuring a Samuel Green organ and an altarpiece painted by Benjamin West, it is one of the finest eighteenth century interiors in Europe.

Join us for a free behind-the-scenes tour led by one of our expert guides. Head up to the galleries and go behind locked doors. Learn more about the craftsmen who created this exquisite interior and the people who have worshipped here through the centuries. There will also be a rare opportunity to view the original eighteenth century moulds used to create some of the Chapel’s unique decorative features.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.ornc.org/Event/behind-the-scenes-in-the-chapel

Nelson Pediment

Tour: Benjamin West and the Royal Hospital for Seamen

  • 4 March 2017 12-3:15pm

The American artist Benjamin West (1738-1820) had a long relationship with the Royal Hospital for Seamen, now the site of the Old Royal Naval College, creating some of its most significant art works.

Join us for this free tour exploring West’s artistic legacy in Greenwich. Starting in the Chapel, we’ll take a closer look at the vast painted altarpiece depicting the shipwreck of St Paul on the island of Malta. This unusual subject would have resonated with the retired seamen who lived in the Hospital, most of whom would have experienced storms at sea and the very real threat of annihilation. Several decades later West designed the Nelson Pediment, a tribute to Nelson’s heroism and a masterpiece in coade stone.

The tour will explore these works in the context of West’s extraordinary career, a Pennsylvanian born-artist from a rural Quaker community who rose to become one of Britain’s preeminent painters.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.ornc.org/Event/tour-benjamin-west-and-the-royal-hospital-for-seamen

Chapel evensong

Queen Mary Evensong

  • 6 March 2017 5:30-6:30pm

A time-honoured tradition at the Old Royal Naval College, the Queen Mary Evensong marks the anniversary of the funeral of Queen Mary II, who built the site with her husband King William III. Mary provided much of the funding for the Royal Hospital, as well as the site; these buildings would later become the Old Royal Naval College.

The service will include music specially written by Henry Purcell for the Queen’s funeral, played on period instruments, as well as vocals by the Chapel Choir.

Music:

Remember not, Lord, our offences - Henry Purcell
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in G minor - Henry Purcell
Funeral sentences for Queen Mary - Henry Purcell (with instruments)
I. March
II. Man that is born
III. Canzona
IV. In the midst of life, we are in death
V. Canzona
VI. Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts
VII. March

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.ornc.org/Event/queen-mary-evensong

The Painted Hall, Greenwich

Vices and Virtues: Life Drawing in the Painted Hall

  • 18 May 2017 7-9pm

Art Macabre invite you to a theatrical drawing event exploring the drama and exuberance of the Baroque Painted Hall. Sketch gods and goddesses, as nude and costumed models pose in front of this stunning backdrop. Drawing inspiration from the legends and mythology magnificently depicted by James Thornhill, experience this treasured heritage space after dark. With an atmospheric soundtrack of music, plus an opportunity to experience the vast painted ceiling up close via a tour of the new observation deck.

An untutored drawing event. Basic drawing materials and paper provided. All levels of experience welcome, including beginners.

Art Macabre inject a lethal dose of the dark arts and theatricality into life drawing. Previous events have been held at the Tower of London,V&A museum, on board Cutty Sark, in cemeteries and at Latitude festival. Resurrecting the fun of sketching, as recommended by Time Out, BBC Radio 2 and Londonist.

www.artmacabre.co.uk

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£20, £18 for students/members

Website

http://www.artmacabre.co.uk

Getting there

By DLR: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (Zone 2/3)
By tube: Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf and change for DLR as above.
By Rail: Greenwich Zone 2 from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Dartford.
By River: Greenwich Pier (Zone 2)
By Bus: 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 286 386

Old Royal Naval College
King William Walk
Greenwich
Greater London
SE10 9NN
England

Website

Old Royal Naval College

www.ornc.org

The Painted Hall

www.ornc.org/visit/attractions/painted-hall

The Chapel

www.ornc.org/visit/attractions/chapel

Events

www.ornc.org/events

Visit us

www.ornc.org/visit

E-mail

Group visits

boxoffice@ornc.org

Learning

learning@ornc.org

Venue hire

venuehire@ornc.org

Documentary and commercial filming

info@ornc.org

News and media filming

press@ornc.org

Telephone

Box office

020 8269 4799

Fax

020 8269 4757

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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