We are fond of the St. Athans, a budget hotel near London’s Russell Square. But I thought that this time it would be fun to stay somewhere different so I booked us an Airbnb in Greenwich.
I’d only been out here once before, for a Leonard Cohen concert on my birthday two years ago, and I’ve been wanting to explore the area more thoroughly. Greenwich grew up separately from London and the older part still feels like a village. In the building and redevelopment boom that started around the turn of the 21st century a few attractions like the Millennium Dome (now the O2 arena, where we saw Leonard Cohen) were constructed north of the town. New housing sprung up nearby along the Thames and public transport into London was expanded. It’s an attractive area and much quieter than London proper.
The place we rented is in that newer area north of old Greenwich; we’re staying in a modern apartment complex that houses mostly immigrants and young families. There is a park next door, a pleasant coffee shop downstairs, and a small market across the courtyard. The metro into central London is a short walk away, and there’s a bus stop right in front of our building where a frequent service runs into old Greenwich.
There are lots of interesting things to see in Greenwich. And if you have any idea how geeky I am, you will probably guess that the first item on my list was the Prime Meridian and Royal Observatory, which also houses the Time and Longitude Gallery.
The nearby National Maritime Museum is full of fascinating seafaring artifacts.
Unfortunately didn’t get to see inside the Queen’s House, a palace designed by Inigo Jones in the early 1600s for Anne of Denmark which is now an art museum, because it was closed for a private event. Neither did we visit the 19th-century tea clipper Cutty Sark. But I always like to leave something for next time.