How to find guided tours of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich?

11 June 2024

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is more than a building housing age-old telescopes. It is a cornerstone of astronomical history and an icon of London's heritage. This sanctuary of stargazing is also the starting point of time itself – the Prime Meridian, the zero point for measuring time and space. Your trip to London would be incomplete without a tour of this magnificent institution. But how do you find and book a tour? This guide will walk you through the process and provide you with detailed information on what you can expect from your visit.

Discover the Wonders of Astronomy

Before delving into the practicalities of booking a tour, let's take a moment to appreciate what the Royal Observatory in Greenwich offers its visitors. From the planetarium to the museum, there's a universe to explore within its walls, making it a must-visit for all, regardless of age or interest in astronomy.

The highlight of the observatory is undoubtedly the Prime Meridian Line. It is the invisible line that divides the world into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Standing on this line, you are at the centre of the world, a truly unique experience.

The museum is a treasure trove of astronomical artefacts, including the oldest known astronomical clock in the world. You will find plenty of interactive exhibits that explain the complexities of time and space in an engaging and accessible way.

For those with a keen interest in the stars and beyond, the Peter Harrison Planetarium is a must-visit. The state-of-the-art facility projects captivating shows about the universe onto its dome-shaped ceiling, making you feel like you're travelling through space.

Planning Your Visit to the Royal Observatory

When planning your visit to the Royal Observatory, it's important to factor in the day and hours of operation. The Observatory opens its doors to visitors seven days a week. However, the hours may vary during different times of the year, so it's always advisable to check the official website for the most up-to-date information.

The admission fee for the Royal Observatory includes entry to the museum, planetarium shows, and the Meridian line. There are various tickets options available, including discounts for children, students, and seniors. If you're planning a family trip, consider the family ticket which offers significant savings.

Do give yourself plenty of time to explore the Observatory. Most visitors spend between three to four hours here, although astronomy enthusiasts might find themselves lingering for longer.

Finding and Booking a Guided Tour

While you can explore the Royal Observatory independently, a guided tour can greatly enhance your experience. Guided tours offer you the chance to delve deeper into the rich history of the observatory and gain insights that you might not otherwise find.

The Royal Observatory offers daily guided tours led by knowledgeable guides. The tours usually last about an hour and are included in the admission ticket. However, the number of participants per tour is limited, so it's advisable to book your spot in advance.

How do you book a tour? The process is straightforward. Visit the Royal Observatory's official website, navigate to the 'Visit Us' section, and click on 'Tours and Experiences'. Here, you will find a detailed list of available tours. Choose the one that suits your interest, pick a date and time, and proceed to the checkout to confirm your booking.

Making the Most of Your Tour with Voicemap

To further enrich your Royal Observatory experience, consider using Voicemap. This innovative audio guide app provides engaging and informative commentary throughout your visit. Designed to complement a guided tour, Voicemap offers you the flexibility to explore at your own pace while still benefiting from expert knowledge.

Download the Voicemap app before your visit, choose the Greenwich Royal Observatory tour, and you're ready to go. As you move through the observatory, the app will automatically trigger audio commentary based on your location, offering intriguing insights about the exhibits you're viewing.

Exploring Greenwich Beyond the Observatory

Your exploration of Greenwich shouldn't end at the Observatory. This charming district of London is teeming with attractions that are worth your time, including the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, a legendary British clipper ship.

You can also take a leisurely stroll through Greenwich Park, which offers panoramic views of the London skyline. If you have more time at hand, consider taking a cruise on the River Thames, another delightful way to see the city.

Whatever you choose to do, you're bound to leave Greenwich with a richer understanding of its royal heritage and London's maritime history.

Visiting Other Royal Museums in Greenwich

Beyond the Royal Observatory, Greenwich is home to several other noteworthy museums that bring to life the district's profound maritime history. These museums, which operate under the umbrella of Royal Museums Greenwich, offer fascinating exhibitions and artifacts, enhancing the cultural richness of your day tour in Greenwich.

The National Maritime Museum is the world's largest maritime museum, boasting a collection of over two million items that encompass ship models, maps and navigational instruments. Their exhibitions cover everything from naval battles to the evolution of maritime technology – a must-visit for history buffs.

Queen's House, a former royal residence, is another gem in the heart of Greenwich. This beautiful 17th-century building is an architectural masterpiece, housing an impressive collection of fine art. Don't miss the chance to capture the iconic view of the house perfectly aligned with the towers of the Old Royal Naval College through its colonnade.

The Cutty Sark offers an immersive peek into the age of sail. The British clipper ship, one of the fastest of its time, is now a museum ship that invites visitors to explore its decks and learn about life at sea.

Tickets to these museums can often be combined with your Royal Observatory ticket, providing great value for money. Don’t forget to check the official Royal Museums Greenwich website for the latest information on opening times and ticket prices.

Enjoying the Best of Greenwich Park

After immersing yourself in the wonders of astronomy and maritime history, why not enjoy a leisurely stroll in Greenwich Park? Covering 183 acres, it’s one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. This historical park offers not only tranquillity but also some of the most panoramic views over the city.

Within the park, you’ll find the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Prime Meridian Line, as well as other attractions like the beautiful rose garden, deer park, and the boating lake. It's an ideal spot for a picnic, with plenty of space for children to run around.

To make the most of your visit, download the Voicemap app on your mobile device and select the Greenwich Park tour. This audio-guided tour narrated by a local expert will share intriguing stories about the park's history as you explore its vast expanse at your own pace. Remember to bring your Voicemap account login details to access the tour.


With its rich historical significance and numerous attractions, Greenwich offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to visitors of all ages and interests. From the astronomical wonders of the Royal Observatory to the maritime marvels at the National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark, and the serenity of Greenwich Park, there’s a wealth of discoveries waiting for you.

Don't forget to enhance your exploration with the Voicemap app and enjoy insightful commentary as you navigate the standout attractions. Whether you are planning a half-day tour or spending an entire day, Greenwich promises an enriching journey back in time and an immersive cultural experience that’s only a short trip away from central London.

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