Elite naval officers from across the world studied at the Royal Naval College between 1873 and 1997. In 1873 the Naval College in Portsmouth acquired the buildings of the old Royal Hospital for Seamen in Greenwich – and so the Royal Naval College was established.
In an age of world wars and developing technology, the Royal Naval College provided state-of-the-art training for promising young officers. It would also see thousands of Wrens trained here during World War II. The Navy left in 1997, and the Old Royal Naval College is open for the public to visit.
The centrepiece of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, the classical buildings of the Old Royal Naval College were designed by England’s greatest architects and are considered amongst the finest in Europe. Featuring the sumptuous Painted Hall and the neoclassical Chapel, the site has seen a variety of uses, as Greenwich Palace, the Royal Naval Hospital of Seamen and then the Royal Naval College.
The Visitor Centre and Chapel are both brightly lit. Light levels in the Painted Hall have to be kept lower for conservation reasons.
Members of the visitor services team have been trained to assist with guiding. If you are planning a visit and would benefit from a guide or support getting to the site from Cutty Sark DLR station please call 020 8269 4799 or email [email protected]
Following a major project to conserve the ceiling of The Painted Hall, it re-opened in March 2019, with increased visitor facilities. VocalEyes has created a recorded audio-described guide to the Hall, which is available on site.
Guided audio-described tours are also available. Tours are led by staff and volunteers who have been trained in audio description by VocalEyes. Check VocalEyes events listings, where any upcoming tours will be featured. It is also possible to arrange tours for groups and individuals on request with at least two weeks’ notice. Please call 020 8269 4799 or email [email protected] for more details.
Guide dogs are welcome in all areas of the Old Royal Naval College including the Visitor Centre, Chapel and Painted Hall. Grassy areas off the site can be used as spend areas and bins are provided.