10 Things You Didn't Know About The Majestic Painted Hall

Child at the Painted Hall looking around

Where better to tuck into a delicious afternoon tea other than the delectable Painted Hall? From just £5.40 you and your royal highnesses can dine on scrumptious sweet and savoury treats fit for a King and sip unlimited tea all afternoon long!

Covering 4,000 square metres, the wonderful Painted Hall is regarded as a masterpiece of English Baroque arts. Young history buffs and mini Michelangelos will be fascinated as they learn how artist Thornhill created the Painted Hall and meet the many characters, including the gods and heroes, shown on the ceiling. This hidden gem is also hiding some pretty unique secrets and lucky for you, we are here to reveal them!

So whether, you're tucking into some royal afternoon tea or simply marvelling at the works of art, you'll always be one step ahead!

1. You can have tea there!

Starting from just £5.40, you and your mini princes and princesses can tuck into some royally good tea. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the selection of finger sandwiches, mini tartlets, scones, cakes and more, all whilst taking in the incredible surroundings. Plus, with Kidadl, when you book the afternoon tea and entry combo voucher, you get unlimited re-entry for a year - now that's something you simply can't miss!

2. Painted Hall's original purpose...

Often described as UK's Sistine Chapel, the hall was initially intended to be a dining hall for the naval veterans who lived at the Royal Hospital for Seamen - that's a canteen if we ever saw one!

3. Fit for... tourists?

Initially, when the hall was painted by Thornhill the naval veterans were moved downstairs. After it was finished they didn't want to move back since they deemed it to be too grant for them. As a result, the majestic space became a tourist attraction the retired sailors were employed as tour guides.

great greenwich attraction painted hall

4. From a quid to riches

When commissioned, Thornhill was paid just £3 per square metre for the ceiling and £1 per square metre for the walls. However, in 1720 he received the title of knighthood which led the Painted Hall to be the finest painted architectural interior by an English artist - represent!

5. The paintings truly haven't been touched in decades

As a matter of fact, it's been almost 60 years since the paintings in the hall were last cleaned, so we don't recommend getting too close!

6. Selfies before they were mainstream

On your travels round the museum, look really carefully at the West Hall of the Upper Hall, and you will find James Thornhill's self-portrait among the crowds - think of it as an alternative Where's Wally!

7. You might spot some familiar faces

If you recently watched the film The Favourite with the hugely talented Olivia Colman, then you might be able to spot Queen's Ann portrait with her husband prince George of Denmark on her side!

8. As well as London landmarks...

Hidden in the background of the West Hall see if you can spot the mural of the iconic dome St Paul's Cathedral, which was designed by the famous Christopher Wren who also designed the Old Royal Naval College - bet you didn't know that!

people marvelling at the brilliant painted hall

9. You can discover all four continents!

On the edges of the Upper Hall ceiling you will find four figures, each one representing the continents known at the time: Asia, Africa, Europe and America - you could say that things have changed just slightly since then!

10. Talk about graffiti!

During 1700's, one of the contractors who worked on the ceiling put his signature on Queen Mary's chest - guess that's one way to leave your mark!

two adults marvelling at the greenwich attraction the painted hall


At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.