[ Feb.2019 ] After visiting the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich in the east of London, we detoured the National Maritime Museum and entered the huge Greenwich Park.
This park is a gentle hill and around the top of it, there is the Royal Observatory.
Greenwich Park is one of the 8 Royal Parks in London.
It was enclosed in 1427 and, in the 1500s, the deer were introduced to the park for Henry VIII to hunt.
Apparently, the deer are still here in the area called “The Wilderness” in the southeastern part of the park.
By the way, ‘Royal Park’ refers to land originally enclosed for the Royal family for hunting purposes.
It was a nice sunny day and from the top of the hill, we could see Docklands, the O2 Arena and many other London landmarks.
After enjoying the view, we went into the site of the Observatory.
However, we found that to visit inside and to stand over the world famous meridian, we had to pay £15 (€17.5, $20) per person.
Isn’t that too expensive?
I looked it up and found that it used to be free, between 2001 and 2011.
I had been inside before and had stood over the meridian, when it was free, in the past.
Apparently, when they made it free in 2001, the number of visitors increased to four times more than before.
The wear and tear of the premises also increased and to keep the place up to the standards of health and safety laws, they needed money.
Also, they wanted to update and add some facilities, which they could not do because of the prolonged period of limited investment, so in the end they reintroduced the fee.
The fee in 2011 was £10, apparently.
From zero to £10 is a huge jump and now, after 8 years, it is £15, which is unreasonable considering the inflation rate of the period.
Even so, some visitors from the other side of the globe would pay that for this once in a lifetime experience.
For us, who live in London, we thought, ‘if we wanted to come, we can come again anyway’, so we decided not to go in this time.
Some of the overseas visitors seem to think it’s too expensive, too.
We noticed that a child from Italy wanted to enter, but the parents were saying ‘no’ to her.
I know it sounds mean, but we saw the meridian through the fence anyway.
By the way, this meridian was set up in 1851.
The observatory itself was designed by Christopher Wren, the same architect who designed the Old Royal Naval College, and was completed in 1676.
Because we were looking for a gift for a friend of ours, we went to the shop in the observatory.
There, we had some good news.
There were some photos of the lovely architecture of a place called Queen’s House.
My husband went and asked about this building to the shop assistant and he was told that it is within the National Maritime Museum and it’s free to visit there.
We headed for it right away.