MUCH IS NEW in London since I was last here a decade ago, development spurred largely by the 2012 London Olympics.
Not least of the improvements are the new Overground train service, which makes access to central London from some outlying neighborhoods, including Dalston, near where I’m staying, much more convenient, and the Thames Clipper, a large-capacity ferry service with a score of stops at newly built wharves on both sides of the river.
This past Sunday, my friend and I joined the throngs of tourists speaking a babel of languages on an eastward sail to Greenwich, a pretty riverside town with a long maritime history, where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were born.
It’s the site of another masterpiece of classical architecture, Christopher Wren’s Royal Naval Hospital, now a university campus, as well as the red-brick Victorian Royal Observatory, now a family-friendly planetarium — a steep climb gladly undertaken for the view — and the Meridian line that establishes Greenwich Mean Time (just a line).
Beyond that, Greenwich is a vast swath of hilly parkland, with rewarding vistas of the city skyline five miles to the west, and a long-established village with several lively outdoor antiques markets and crowded pubs.
A view of the new building called the ‘Walkie Talkie’ from our embarkation point near London Bridge. Heading east under Tower Bridge…
Past modern residential developments and re-purposed old warehouses…
Glimpsing of the historic pub The Prospect of Whitby tucked between more massive newer structures…
Christopher Wren’s and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor’s classical set piece dates from 1694. Until 1998, it was The Royal Naval Hospital
Enjoyed my Ploughman’s lunch (bread, cheese, pickled vegs) at the Trafalgar Tavern
The classical complex at Greenwich is now a university campus, with a chapel, an art museum and some rooms open to the public