My Dutch cousin and her partner were visiting me and I was trying to think of new interesting things for us to do. Looking in the local paper, I saw that they now do tours of the Painted Hall Ceiling at The Royal Naval College in nearby Greenwich.
The tickets were £10 each which did not seem too expensive and they offered a lift service for disabled people so I booked this for my cousin who has problems walking. (Please note though that this must be booked in advance as it only holds one or two people).
Greenwich is always a delight to visit and when we arrived we took a while to take some pictures of the river and of the Observatory which we could see up the hill in Greenwich Park. We had to arrive 15 minutes before our appointment time which was midday. On arrival we were given hard hats and fluorescent vests so that we looked like a trio of Bob the Builder look-a-likes! We had a very informed guide and wore headphones so that we could hear her clearly even if we weren’t standing right near her. We were seated in the Painted Hall and given a short history of the Hall before we climbed 60 feet up the scaffolding steps.
I was a little taken back at how close to the ceiling we were. The beautiful paintings which are in the middle of being renovated are so close it is difficult to get definition of the characters portrayed. However we were supplied with mirrors so that we could look down into the reflection (this had the added advantage of stopping us toppling over as we craned to look up at the paintings!)
Painted between 1707 and 1726, the Painted Hall hides many surprises. The guide told us some interesting facts and pointed out things we may not have spotted on our own. Within the paintings are portraits of John Flamsteed (an Astronomer in charge of the project). Diana Goddess of the Moon, Apollo, Galileo. Hercules and many more that I don’t have the space to mention. It was an interesting visit especially for anyone who likes art or history.
So if you are around the Greenwich area I would strongly suggest that you visit this historic building.