Updated: Jan 30, 2020
Fancy learning about History, Art and Physics all in the same place? Check out Madeleine's latest blog for another fantastic school trip in London!
After your school trip to Kew Gardens to study plant life and develop your appreciation for the natural form, what’s next on your list? Maybe you’d like a stay at a royal palace, or take a trip to the seaside to study marine life? In London that might not be possible, but we have the next best thing in mind for you!
We suggest you hop on down to South East London and wander around Maritime Greenwich for the day – you’ll find a rich collection of buildings, artefacts and gardens there which might teach you a thing or two about History, Art and Physics. Keep reading and soon you’ll be begging your school to take you down to Greenwich…
What is Maritime Greenwich?
Maritime Greenwich was listed by the UN as a World Heritage Site in 1997, thus holding it up as one of the most important sites of historical and natural wonders in the world. Specifically, the site at Greenwich is a symbol of British ‘artistic, scientific and other institutional endeavour, notably from the 17th to late 19th centuries’. Notably, it is the home of Cutty Sark, one of the last ever tea clippers (speedy 19th-century merchant ships) to be built and one of the fastest of her time.
Climb aboard Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark started her sailing career on the tea trade, travelling to and from China until the opening of the Suez Canal meant that faster steamships could take over the route. Subsequently she was used in the wool trade, ferrying textiles back from Australia and holding the record time to Britain for ten years. Part of the National Historic Fleet, Cutty Sark has protected status now and lives in the Greenwich docks, where you can climb aboard and find out what it was like to live and work on the Cutty Sark during her prime. As a result, she is a great site for history students to see, particularly those interested in British Maritime, Victorian or economic history.
Visit the National Maritime Museum
If that wasn’t enough Maritime history for you, then you’re in luck - the National Maritime Museum is just next door! Home to thousands of artefacts, such as Admiral Nelson’s Trafalgar Coat, a collection of Naval Battle paintings by artist Joseph Turner, and Yinka Shonibare’s replica of the HMS Victory in a bottle, it really is the place to go for History (and art!) students with a taste for adventure on the high seas.
Check out the Royal Observatory
But wait! What if a treasure drove of Maritime history isn’t for you? That’s just fine, Greenwich still has you covered. If you’re a physicist (or more specifically, an astronomer), you’ll be glad to know that a quick walk up the hill from the National Maritime Museum will take you to none other than the Royal Observatory. The observatory was built on the orders of King Charles II in 1675, and its first Astronomer Royal was John Flamstead, who prepared a catalogue of 3,000 stars named the Catalogus Britannicus and a star atlas named Atlas Coelestis.
At the observatory, you will find the Prime Meridian, the line which signifies where East meets West and can stand astride both hemispheres at once! You’ll also find the Planetarium, the only one of its kind in London, where you can take a tour through the stars and see all of your favourite galaxies, constellations and planets up close. Greenwich might just be the best place in the universe for astronomers!
Peruse the Old Royal Naval College
Still not convinced? Well, if you’re more of the artsy type then you might find a gem in Greenwich too. Previously the site of the birthplace of Elizabeth I, the Old Royal Naval College was built between 1696 and 1712 and was designed by architect extraordinaire Sir Christopher Wren (who also designed St Paul’s Cathedral and the south front of Hampton Court Palace). It is wildly considered to be one of the most architecturally stunning locations in the world, with its dramatic baroque buildings and twin domes forming a formidable structure on the bank of the Thames. It’s subsequently a must-see for any student of architecture, especially as a work of Wren’s, one of the most important architects of all time.
On top of this, inside the Old Royal Naval College is the Painted Hall, aka Britain’s Sistine Chapel. The Painted Hall is a spectacular hall painted head to toe with some of the most incredible baroque painting in Europe. It was painted by James Thornhill in the early 18th century, and was recently restored to more closely resemble its baroque period glory. Any art historian or artist would be bowled over by not only its beauty, but the sheer impressiveness of it all!
Ice Cream and Idyllic Sunsets
After you’ve wandered around Greenwich for hours with your classmates, you can grab an ice cream and sit by the river as the sun sets over Canary Wharf across the bay. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect school trip? Your teachers couldn’t possibly refuse to take you!
Blog Post Crafted by Madeleine
Madeleine is a former Company Manager at Titanium Tutors. She read Japanese at Trinity College, Cambridge where she was also a choral scholar. During her time at university, she somehow managed to balance singing evensong three times a week, performing in various operas and concerts, and studying for her degree. She spent her third year in Kyoto, where she studied at Doshisha University and taught English to Japanese children.
Despite the fact that she read Japanese at university, Madeleine’s main passion in life is opera and she hopes to become the next Maria Callas some day...