The Painted Hall | Kidadl

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  • Discover a wealth of Baroque art at ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’ in the heart of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College.
  • Spend hours gazing at the exquisitely decorated ceiling and painted walls and see what stories you can uncover.
  • Set in the historic riverside grounds of Henry VIII’s former birthplace, The Painted Hall has been newly restored to bring you the most vivid and regal viewing experience.

Walk in the footsteps of King Henry VIII himself and discover one of his favourite former palaces at the Old Royal Naval College’s Painted Hall. With a ceiling and walls covered in the most gorgeous Baroque art, The Painted Hall in Greenwich will have the younger kids consumed for hours and leave the whole family awe-struck.

Now known as ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’, The Painted Hall took nineteen years to complete. British artist Sir James Thornhill finally finished his impressive, Italian-inspired interior in 1726, and since then it has hosted ceremonial dinings, Lord Nelson’s coffin and the officer’s training academy for the Royal Navy, whose pensioners it was initially built for. As well as being an adventure in beauty for the eyes, Thornhill’s intricate Painted Hall also tells the story of Britain’s political, scientific and cultural history with over 200 interweaving figures. 

Man with audio guide on a tour of The Painted Hall.

Following an award-winning restoration project in 2019 and dedicated conservation by the Greenwich Foundation, The Painted Hall is more of a gem to visit than ever and one of the best things to do in Greenwich, south-east London. Enjoy an interactive Painted Hall tour, learning all about the gods and heroes that adorn its walls, and then bask in the beautiful grounds of the ORNC’s UNSECO World Heritage Site. Whilst you’re there, wander along the River Thames to the iconic Cutty Sark ship or cross the road to Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory for a day of rich British history and interactive learning. If you want something a bit more modern and a healthy dose of exhilaration, then why not pop along to another of Greenwich’s iconic venues, The O2, for a sky-soaring climbing adventure with Up at The O2?

What to know before you go

  • New smartphone tours for The Painted Hall have been launched using the Smartify app, including a family tour for children aged 5 - 12. Free daily guided walks can be reserved upon arrival for small groups of up to four people, and face coverings must be worn.
  • The Painted Hall Cafe remains closed for the time being, but there is food and drink available to be enjoyed outside on the expansive grounds The Old Brewery is also located on site, a spacious gastropub with lovely outside seating, and is now open for advanced bookings.
  • There are plenty of other places to eat near the Old Royal Naval College, including the Cutty Sark pub, the famous Goddards pie and mash shop and eclectic Greenwich Market. Alternatively, enjoy a riverside picnic or set one up in the adjacent Royal Greenwich Park.
  • Main visitor toilets are located in the Visitor Centre with step-free access, accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities There are also toilets located below the Hall with level access and more baby changing facilities.
  • Step-free access maps can be found on the Greenwich Naval College website, and there is a small lift available for the main area of The Painted Hall. Wheelchairs can be hired from the Visitor Centre on a first-come, first-served basis with a £50 deposit (refunded upon return).
  • Service dogs are welcome on site.
  • Audio described guides of The Painted Hall and Old Royal Naval College buildings are available.

Getting there

  • There is limited parking in the centre of Greenwich, but paid car parking is available in Park Row and Cutty Sark Gardens. Some free parking is available at the top of Maze Hill, then take a leisurely stroll through Greenwich Park to the ORNC.
  • The closest Tube station is North Greenwich on the Jubilee Line, which is a ten-minute bus ride via the 129 or 188 routes stopping outside of the Old Royal Naval College on Romney Road.
  • Greenwich rail station and Maze Hill station are both a short walk to The Painted Hall, as is the Cutty Sark DLR station.
  • For an extra dose of fun, you can also take the Thames Clipper along to the ORNC. It is just 30 minutes from Central London to Greenwich, stopping right outside The Painted Hall at the Greenwich Pier.

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