The Painted Hall Reopening

The Royal Hospital for Seamen was designed by Sir Christopher Wren with assistance from Nicolas Hawksmoor. The design for the hospital included a Chapel & a large dining area (The Painted Hall). The young artist James Thornhill was commissioned to paint the hall. The agreed price was £1.00 per yard (roughly one square meter) for the walls & £3.00 per yard for the ceilings, after 19 year’s Thornhill had painted over 40,000 square feet earning him £6,685 & a Knighthood from King George I.

The ceiling of the Lower Hall depicts “The Triumph of Peace & Liberty over Tyranny.” Historical characters including William III, Mary II & Louis XIV of France are depicted with mythological figures including Apollo, Hercules, Medusa & Aries inside a golden oval representing the heavens. The Lower Hall paintings depict the story of William & Mary’s victory over tyranny & arbitrary power (King Louis XIV). William is portrayed as a bringer of peace surrounded by kingly virtues. The Upper Hall depicts Queen Anne of Great Britain with her husband Prince George of Denmark. The painting is a showcase of British naval supremacy & depicts the four corners of the known world (America, Europe, Asia & Africa) in awe of British maritime power. The West Wall of the Upper Hall depicts ‘George I – His family and his virtues’. In this painting King George I, the new Hanoverian king of England is depicted with his family.

Over the past two years the Painted Hall has undergone an £8.5 Million restoration project to conserve the painted surfaces bringing the paintings back to life. The hall reopens on Saturday 23rd March 2019 with a new visitor experience. Visitors will now enter the Painted Hall through the King William Court Under Croft where are new gift shop, café & Sackler Gallery are located. Tickets for the Painted Hall are £12.00 per adult & include a hand-held multimedia tour. Live tours of the Painted Hall & the Old Royal Naval College grounds are also operated at regular intervals throughout the day.

The Reopening Weekend, 23rd-24th March 2019

The Old Royal Naval College have planned two days of festivities to celebrate the reopening of the Painted Hall. A ceremonial parade in the grounds will begin at 09:30 on Saturday 23rd as preparations to cut the ribbon & officially open the Painted Hall begin. Over the two days there will be live music, entertainment, a world street food market in Cutty Sark Gardens & the chance to meet historical figures from the Old Royal Naval College’s past including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James Thornhill & Samuel Pepys.

Travel to or From the Old Royal Naval College by Boat

Thames River Sightseeing

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).

Thames River Sightseeing Routes

Westminster to Greenwich (Blue Route)

Travel between the City of Westminster, City of London & the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Between April & October you can extend your cruise and travel through the Thames Flood Barrier.

Westminster PierSt. Katharine Pier (Tower of London)Greenwich Pier (Cutty Sark)

Hop-On-Hop-Off (Pink Route)

Book at 2 Day Riverpass & enjoy unlimited travel between 6 piers on both Thames River Sightseeing Routes.

Westminster PierEmbankment PierFestival PierBankside PierSt. Katharine Pier (Tower of London)