The Royal Observatory, Greenwich

If time has a home then this is it.  The Royal Observatory is the keeper of Greenwich Mean Time and the worlds Prime Meridian.  It might not sound much but the Royal Observatory is officially the point from which every new day, week, month and year starts.  Other than being the world’s official time keeper it is also home to Britain’s biggest refracting telescope, the Harrison Timekeepers and London’s own Planetarium, and what is even better is that entry to the Astronomy Centre is free for everyone, though charges do apply for entry into other areas of the Observatory.  The kids will love the science fiction exhibitions which occasionally feature favourites like Dr Who that bring science and astronomy to life.

Photo by Scott
Photo by Scott

Tour the Universe

Spend some time in the planetarium and see the sights of the Universe.  Here you can get up close and personal with some of the wonders of the nights sky.  This is not some shabbily put together twinkling light show, here you will find real images taken by actual spacecraft and deep space telescopes combined with advanced computer generated imagery that will take you deep into space on a journey you will never forget.  Your planetarium experience could see you travelling to Mars or journeying to a distant galaxy where you can witness the birth of a new star, or you could end up flying into the very heart of the sun.  This is the only planetarium in the city and is home to the first digital laser planetarium projection equipment in Europe.

Events in 2012

With the 2012 Olympics being held in the city, equestrian events and modern pentathlon events are scheduled to be held at Greenwich Park, the Old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and Circus Field in both July and August.  In addition the Paralympic dressage events are due to be held here in September.

To commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee a special exhibition has been organised entitled ‘Royal River: Power, Pageantry and Thames’ which will have David Starkey as guest curator.  The exhibition charts how the people of the city and the many royal families throughout the centuries have been connected to the river and contains incredible paintings, rare manuscripts and stunning objects all of which relate to the river and the power of its influence on the city and its people.  Some of the rarer items included a signed musical score by Handel, namely his piece for the Royal Fireworks.

The exhibition is set to display a total of 350 objects and artworks that have never before been displayed.  This incredible exhibition is set to run from the end of April through to the beginning of September, so make a point of seeing it while you can.  Everything on display can be enjoyed by the whole family so it will make for an interesting and enlightening day out.  Perhaps you could even include a cruise on the river itself to get to the Royal Observatory and set the theme for your entire day.

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