Painted Hall Ceiling Tours, Kids Go Free

About the Royal Hospital for Seamen & Painted Hall

The Royal Hospital for Seaman at Greenwich was built under the instructions of Mary II. Mary had been inspired by the sight of injured sailors returning from the Battle of La Hogue in 1692 & wanted to provide a naval counterpart to the Chelsea Hospital for soldiers.

The new hospital was designed by Sir Christopher Wren & his assistant Nicolas Hawksmoor. The original design featured a large structure topped by an enormous dome, Mary II ordered that the buildings be split to preserve the view from the Queens House (completed in 1935 by Inigo Jones).

The new design for the Royal Hospital featured four main wings & two smaller domes. Queen Mary Court housed the hospitals Chapel & King William Court housed the painted hall.

James Thornhill & the Painted Hall

The young artist James Thornhill was commissioned to decorate the painted hall, the agreed price for the work was £1 per square yard for the walls & £3 per square yard for the ceiling. After 20 years Thornhill had finished one of the largest painted ceilings in Northern Europe at 40,000 square foot. The masterpiece earned him a fortune & a Knighthood from King George I.

Old Royal Naval College

The Royal Hospital for Seamen closed in 1869 & in 1873 the buildings were turned into the Royal Naval College. For 124 years naval officers from around the globe studied at the Royal Naval College. In 1997 the Royal Navy left & the Old Royal Naval College is now open to the public free of charge.

Click the link below to visit the Old Royal Naval College website & learn more about the sites rich history.

The Painted Hall Project

The Painted Hall is currently undergoing an extensive conservation project, 40,000 square feet of paint is being carefully cleaned & conserved. A range of ceiling tours are being offered by Old Royal Naval College allowing visitors to ascend 60 feet to view the ceiling up close & unlock the secrets of James Thornhill’s masterpiece.

Kids Go Free!

Throughout the school holidays Painted Hall Ceiling Tours are being offered to children for free. Bookings can be made on the Old Royal Naval College website or at the ticket desk on site, child discounts are applied automatically.

(Children aged 6-17 are eligible to take advantage of this offer. Maximum 4 children per adult.)

Painted Hall Ceiling Tour Ticket Prices

Adult | £10.00 / £11.00 (With donation)

Child (6-17) | £5.00 / £5.50 (With donatino)

National Art Pass Holder | £5.00 / £5.50 (With donation, please bring your art pass)

Arrive / Depart Greenwich By Boat

To Greenwich Pier:

 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00

To Greenwich Pier & Thames Flood Barrier:

 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30

To Greenwich Pier:

 10:20, 10:50, 11:20, 11:50, 12:20, 12:50, 13:20, 13:50, 14:20, 14:50, 15:20, 15:50, 16:20, 16:50, 17:20

To Greenwich Pier & Thames Flood Barrier:

 10:50, 11:50, 12:50, 13:50, 14:50

To St. Katharine Pier & Westminster Pier:

 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30, 18:00

To the Thames Flood Barrier:

 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30

About Thames River Services

A visit to London isn’t complete without a cruise on the River Thames. Thames River Sightseeing operate regular services from six piers on the River Thames including Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Tower Bridge Quay (St. Katharine Pier) & Greenwich Pier. Thames River Sightseeing cruise 361 days a year & operate a fleet of all-weather vessels with spacious open decks perfect for the summer months & heated saloons with panoramic windows for the colder months. The vessels range from more traditional River Thames passenger boats (London Rose) to more modern vessels purposefully built for the River Thames (Thomas Doggett). A cruise between Westminster & Tower Bridge Quay takes just 30-40 minutes & passes numerous London landmarks including the New Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge & Tower Bridge.

Passengers can embark at Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier, Tower Bridge Quay or Greenwich & take advantage of a range of ticketing options. Single tickets are suited for day trippers or passengers travelling in or out of London & return tickets allow passengers to disembark & explore before joining a return sailing later the same day. A 2 Day River Pass is the perfect option for anyone visiting London over multiple days. A River Pass allows unlimited travel on our services for just £21.00 per adult, a family River Pass is just £42.00 (for 2 Adults + 3 Children).

Thames River Sightseeing also offer excellent group rates & discounts which are perfect for families, tour companies or travel trade. Toilet facilities & a Multilingual Audio Guide are available on all sailings. The Multilingual Audio Guide is an informative commentary available through our onboard Wi-Fi in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Mandarin (Smart device & headphones are not provided, Read More).