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Royal Observatory and Planetarium, Greenwich

Listed under Museums in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Royal Observatory and Planetarium, Greenwich
  • Photo of Royal Observatory and Planetarium, Greenwich
  • Photo of Royal Observatory and Planetarium, Greenwich
Photo of Royal Observatory and Planetarium, Greenwich
Photo by flickr user garryknight
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If you’re curious about what’s out there beyond our planet then the Planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is the place to find out more. Opened in 2007 the Planetarium is built alongside the Observatory which was built in 1697, allowing visitors to follow astronomy from the earliest days of designing telescopes in order to view and map the stars through understanding our own galaxy to visiting the moon and developing ideas about how far the universe may spread and how it may have begun.

Inside the Observatory portions of the main house have been kept as they would have been when the Astronomers Royal lived and worked here, while part has been transformed into exhibition space. The exhibitions tell the story of the prime meridian, Greenwich Mean Time and the search for a way to measure longitude which was to transform maritime history. Several of the world's oldest clocks are on display here.

The Planetarium takes visitors to the other end of the scale with interactive displays galore. You can be part of a team launching a comet intercepting probe, touch a meteorite, investigate the gravitational pull of different astral bodies, diagnose the ages of galaxies and their stars or just watch a clever film about the beginning of the universe.

Obviously one of the highlights is the Planetarium experience. The theatre seats 120 (the astronomer leading the experience when I went said it’s best to sit at the back and away from the projector.). You don’t lie down as in other planetariums, but you’re seated and the screen covers part of the purpose built dome. The experience begins just outside the door in Greenwich Park and takes you to the beginning of time, from when there was nothing at all to a point where a sugar cube sized pieces of one astral body can weigh more than everyone on the earth and there are more stars in the universe than human heartbeats throughout history…

Obviously it would have been an excellent opportunity at the end of the experience to be able to ask questions of the astronomer - however my mind was so blown away by the scale of existence that I couldn’t formulate a question that made any sense, I was too busy saying wow…

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Other expert and press reviews

“Photograph the Prime Meridian for Free”

As of March 2011, the Observatory started charging 10 pounds to get into the facility, which was the only way you could really take a picture of your feet in two different days. I was quite upset about the whole thing. 10 pounds is 16 US dollars – … Read more...

Written by  Sherry Ott. Read more on Sherry's blog

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Will a 17 mos old baby be admitted at the Planetarium?

1 Reply

I'm pretty sure I've seen little ones before - and definitely folks in buggies! But as always it can't help to call and check.

To get to the Planetarium, can an elderly person with slight walking disability make it easily?

1 Reply

There's a car park about 75 metres from the Planetarium, to get to it you need to enter via the Blackheath side of Greenwich Park. I think there are lifts once you get inside the building.

Meet the Neighbours Show

The times advertised for the Meet the Neighbours Show are for term times, or at least that what i think it means. Will that show be available in the childrens summer holidays?

If so, when?

Thanks in anticipation

Steve

1 Reply

The best way to find out would be to call the Planetarium, or if it's out of hours you could see if you're able to book tickets to the day you want to attend: www.maximweb.co.uk/NMM/SelectDay.aspx

Will all of your facilities be open on Easter?

We will be visiting from the U.S. April 4 - 10 and we would like to tour the Royal Observatory on Easter Sunday (April 4) if possible. Wanted to make sure you will be open and what your hours will be. Also, will the Explorers Gallery with the Titianic video be open?

2 Replies

THe Royal Observatory is open between 10:00 and 17:00 seven days a week, with the same hours over Easter.

The Explorers Gallery is down the hill in the National Maritime Museum which has the same opening hours as the Observatory.

discounts for oap's

do you give a discount for the over sixties please?

1 Reply

There's a concession discount for the over 60s. Planetarium shows are an average of £2 cheaper when you show proof of your concession.

costs

Hi, I have some friends (all over sixty) and we would like to see the Planitariam at Greenwich could you tell me the costs please and times of opening?

many thanks

Steve Brown

1 Reply

The Observatory is free except for Planetarium shows - there are different shows each day so you'll need to check the website for times and shows and potentially book in advance so that you don't miss out.

Is the Greenwich Planetarium open on Sunday 14th Febraury

Are you open tommorow and what time please. Do we need to book anything

?

1 Reply

You don't need to book unless you you want to see one of the planetarium shows. And, yes, the Observatory will be open between 10am and 5pm. The last planetarium show is at 4:30.

Internet site of the boutique

I'm searching for the Internet site of Royal Observatory's boutique to order something I saw.

1 Reply

www.nmmshop.com

I WISH TO BOOK TICKETS BY PHONE. WHAT IS YOUR BOOKING OFFICE NUMBER

1 Reply

The Observatory is free, the best way to book Planetarium ticket is online or via email: bookings@nmm.ac.uk. The phone number is (0)20 8312 6608

where is the best place to park if i am bringing a car full of children tomorrow ?

Car Parks near by please

1 Reply

There's a car park right near the Observatory in Greenwich Park, you get to it via the Blackheath approach.

what are the opening times

What are the opening times ?. what are the addmission fees for adults and children? What is the best of of getting there?

1 Reply

The Planetarium shows vary in price from about £3.50 - £7 for adults, but the Observatory is free - you have to get a ticket though, but you don't have to pay.

Opening hours are 10 am to 5pm.

There are buses, London Overground trains and the DLR to Greenwich station, the closest DLR station is Cutty Sark, from where you can walk up the hill. Or you can go to Blackheath and walk across the heath and enter the park that way. The nearest Tube stop at North Greenwich is quite a walk away.

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