Queen's House

Oluniyi Akande
Feb 14, 2024 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
A frontal view of the Queen's House in Greenwich on a clear day.
Age: 4+
Read time: 4.4 Min

  • Visit the Queen’s House to see the incredible artwork by Canaletto, Lowry, Stubbs, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Gainsborough.
  • Explore the groundbreaking architecture and stunning surroundings of the 17th-century royal villa.
  • See the awe-inspiring gold leaf work by the Turner prize winner Richard Wright on the Great Hall ceiling.
  • Part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, the Queen’s House is the first Classical building in the UK.

Discover the first Classical English house and an abundance of art treasures at the Queen’s House in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south London. One of the oldest houses in Greenwich, it’s the last remaining building of 16th and 17th-century Greenwich Palace.

One of the royal houses of England built between 1616 and 1636, the renowned architect Inigo Jones was commissioned to design the royal residence for Anne of Denmark, James I’s wife. The first of its kind in Britain, the house was allegedly a gift for Queen Anne from the King by way of apology. Unfortunately, the Queen never saw the completed classical villa after she died in 1619. Work on the house remained unfinished until Charles I gave the house to his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria of France in 1629. The Queen’s House was used by members of the Royal Family until 1805, when it was granted to the Royal Naval Asylum charity, a residential school for orphaned children of British seamen, by George III. Since 1934, Queen’s House has been used by the National Maritime Museum, which is located just next door. Now, the Queen’s House has been restored to its former glory as a Palladian villa and is one of the UK’s most historically important buildings, as well as being one of the most beautiful art galleries in the capital.

The Old Royal Naval College in the foreground with the Queen's House positioned in the centre.

The art gallery showcases 450 works of art, showcasing a variety of paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings. There are hundreds of remarkable paintings for art enthusiasts to admire from the Greenwich collection, including works from Romney, Stubbs, Hogarth, Turner, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Canaletto and one of the highlights, the magnificent Armada portrait of Elizabeth I, which was once owned by Sir Francis Drake. The Armada portrait is on permanent display in the Queen’s Presence Chamber at the Queen’s House. This is an extra special place to view the iconic painting, because Elizabeth I was born in Greenwich Palace, the former royal residence where the Queen’s House is situated.

Stroll through the magnificent Great Hall and prepare to be amazed by this 40-foot-cube-shaped hall with a black and white marble floor. Look up and take in the stunning contemporary gold leaf work by Richard Wright, a Turner Prize-winning artist, which covers the upper walls and whole ceiling. Gaze at the magnificent wrought iron Tulip Stairs, the first cantilevered stairs built in Britain.

If you and your older children love art, the Queen’s House features the finest free exhibitions in London. Looking for other places to visit in London? You don’t have to look very far in Greenwich for some awesome family-friendly attractions, which are all within walking distance around this Royal Borough. Discover everything that Royal Museums Greenwich has to offer, from the world-famous Royal Observatory and its captivating planetarium to the Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper.

‍What to know before you go

  • The Queen’s House is open daily from 10.30am - 4pm.
  • There is wheelchair access to the Queen’s House. Wheelchairs are available to use. There is an accessible lift to the Great Hall and floor two.
  • Toilets are situated in the Undercroft on level 0 at the base of the Tulip staircase. An accessible toilet and baby-changing facilities can also be found here.
  • Hearing dogs, guide dogs and assistance dogs are welcome.
  • There are no on-site cafés and restaurants located at the Queen’s House. The National Maritime Museum, which is located next door to the Queen’s House, has two cafes: the Parkside Café & Terrace and the Great Map Café. The Parkside Café has amazing views over Greenwich Park and serves hot food, plus there is a children’s menu. The Great Map Café serves sandwiches, freshly-made cakes and Benugo coffee. For children, there are kids’ lunchboxes and a special cream tea. Both cafes have high chairs.
  • There are a limited number of lockers available to leave your belongings.
  • It’s not possible to wear backpacks or bring large bags in the galleries.
  • There is a buggy park available at the National Maritime Museum, less than 100 metres from the Orangery Entrance. 

Getting there

  • The Queen’s House postcode is SE10 9NF.
  • The nearest stations are Cutty Sark DLR and Maze Hill rail station. Both are within an eight-minute walk. Greenwich rail station is a 12-minute walk away.
  • You can also hop on the Thames Clipper river boat service from central London to Greenwich Pier, which is situated next to the Cutty Sark.
  • Bus routes 129, 177, 180, 188, 286, 386 and N1 stop near Queen’s House.
  • If you are driving to Queen’s House, please be aware that parking in Greenwich is limited, particularly at weekends. There is a car at the National Maritime Museum as well as car parks in Park Row and Burnet Street operates by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. There are also some off-street pay-and-display car spaces in Greenwich Park.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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A frontal view of the Queen's House in Greenwich on a clear day.

Queen's House