Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN
The Old Royal Naval College is honouring its rich military history by launching a new Armed Forces concessions policy, hoping to welcome serving and former members of the British Royal Navy and Armed Forces to this must-see London destination.
As Trafalgar Day approaches, the Old Royal Naval College reflects on its pivotal role in Britain’s maritime heritage and its significant links to Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson. The new Armed Forces concessions policy includes free entry for serving Royal Navy personnel, and a concession rate for current and former Armed Forces personnel.
From its important beginnings as Henry VIII’s Greenwich Palace, to becoming a hospital for retired sailors, it then served as a crucial training facility for Naval Officers for over a hundred years from 1873 – 1997. The magnificent Painted Hall within Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic Old Royal Naval College was also the site of Lord Nelson’s laying-in-state after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Trafalgar Day annually celebrates the Royal Navy’s victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets on 21st October 1805 under the command of Nelson. The Old Royal Naval College are marking the occasion by running free Nelson-themed tours for all Painted Hall ticket holders, Old Royal Naval College members and patrons, exploring Nelson’s important role in the Battle of Trafalgar and his significant links to the Old Royal Naval College.
This fantastic new concession scheme aims to open up the Old Royal Naval College for those interested in its rich maritime history to explore the stunning riverside grounds and tour the magnificent Painted Hall. The UK’s finest Baroque interior, the Painted Hall’s vast decorative scheme took Sir James Thornhill 19 years to complete and tells the story of Britain’s triumphant naval power.
The Painted Hall reopened earlier this year having had its remarkable painted interior brought vividly back to life. The two-year conservation project, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, reversed years of decay and conserved the Painted Hall for generations to come. Day beds have even been provided to encourage visitors to spend time appreciating the spectacular ceiling and new multimedia guides are available in seven languages, along with expert talks and interactive packs for children. History buffs can explore the room where Admiral Lord Nelson’s body lay in state and can see the recently discovered Tudor foundations of Greenwich Palace in the King William Undercroft which also houses a new café, shop and interpretation gallery.
The Painted Hall entry fee is valid for a year for return visits and includes a 45 min – 1 hour guided tour, taking in all aspects of Wren’s riverside masterpiece including the famous Water Gates, Grand Square and Chapel. It also includes access into the Skittle Alley and the opportunity to play a game of Victorian skittles with your friends and family. The brand new multimedia guide provides an informative and playful introduction to the paintings. Visitors looking for a more sensory experience will enjoy a collection of 13 exquisite touch objects inspired by characters and items depicted on the ceiling, such as a replica of Athena’s shield with its depiction of Medusa. To ensure the Painted Hall remains accessible to as many people as possible People’s Wednesday, on every first Wednesday of the month, is a pay as you wish initiative.
Don’t miss visiting the Old Royal Naval College and the Painted Hall, an essential destination in Greenwich.
Notes to Editors
Title: Old Royal Naval College
Events: Trafalgar Day Tours Free with Painted Hall
21st October, 2019 ticket
King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NN
Armed Forces Concessions Serving Royal Navy Personnel Free, with valid ID
Serving Armed Forces Personnel £8.50 Visitor Centre, £7.50 online, with valid ID
Veterans, Royal Navy and Armed Forces £8.50 Visitor Centre, £7.50 online, with valid ID
Old Royal Naval College and events tickets available online at www.ornc.org/booktickets
Old Royal Naval College
Old Royal Naval College is the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a long and celebrated 500-year history. Today it is a diverse cultural destination and one of London’s most popular venues and visitor attractions, a site that attracts over 1.2 million visitors every year.
The classical buildings that adorn the site today were built as the Royal Hospital for Seamen between 1696 and 1751. Designed by England’s greatest architects, including Sir Christopher Wren, the buildings are considered amongst the finest in Europe, featuring the sumptuous Painted Hall and the neo-classical Chapel. Prior to that the site was home to the celebrated Greenwich Palace, the favoured Royal residence of Henry VIII. A small part of the excavated palace, revealed during recent conservation works, can be viewed in The Sackler Gallery in the King William Undercroft.
The rich maritime history of the site continued after the departure of the Royal Hospital in the 1860s. From 1873 to 1997 the buildings housed the Royal Naval College, one of the world’s
foremost naval training establishments. After the departure of the Naval College an independent charity was established in 1997 to conserve the magnificent baroque buildings and grounds for present and future generations and to provide opportunities for wide and diverse audiences to enjoy and share their significance. Today this historic landmark is open to the public.
The Painted Hall, built as a ceremonial dining room, has the greatest grand-scale decorative painting in England and has been described as ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’. The abundant and complex painting scheme covers some 4,000 square metres and was designed and executed by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726. An extensive National Lottery Funded renovation project was completed in 2019. The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is a neo-classical masterpiece by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. Featuring a Samuel Green organ and an altarpiece painted by Benjamin West, it is one of the country’s finest 18th-century interiors.
All enquiries, high res images and further information:
Isobel Jaffray, Chloé Nelkin Consulting
M: 07772 643 959
Read more at https://www.ornc.org/old-royal-naval-college-launches-armed-forces-visitor-concessions#CPr3txolS3Divsg8.99
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