Greenwich is located on the banks of the Thames river in East London. It seems quite laid back for London and it has lots of open green spaces to wander around. The Maritime Greenwich is on the UNESCO world heritage list as well as loads of other cultural, historical and artistic attractions to visit. It makes a great place to explore over a weekend. In fact, the next time I visit London I will probably stay here as you can get everywhere in London quite easily with great access to the DLR, train, tube, bus and Thames ferry services.
One of my crazy cousins suggested a family trip to London for the weekend to catch up. I signed up and booked the flights. Somewhere along the way they also decided to book tickets to see Mamma Mia the party in the 02. Now, I am not an ABBA fan by a long shot, I have never seen Mamma Mia and I had no idea what I was getting myself in for. They said it would be fun, they said my 40th was coming up and they all seemed very persuasive, so I said yes. Months later, trying to explain to friends that I was going to London to watch an ABBA show in the O2 Arena was met with howls of laughter! So I flew with Ryanair from Dublin to London Gatwick to start my cultural adventure in Greenwich!
It was an easy 1-hour journey from Gatwick to Ibis hotel in Greenwich via train. I just topped up my Oyster card (Transport card) and I was good to go. I met the others in Mitre pub before checking into the hotel. It was a typical cosy British pub serving up frothy pints of beer, wine, pub grub and also offers accommodation.
STAY AT the IBIS Hotel Greenwich
Our rooms were great value coming in at around €80euro/70stg per night for a twin en-suite room. They were small and basic but sparkling clean and were designed well with funky modern lamps and fittings. I would definitely choose to stay here again if I was going to London. You can signup to become a member for extra discounts. Also booking ahead will give you much better rates. The girls greeted me with a bottle of bubbly and even decorated my room with banners for my 40th! Which wasn’t for another 10 days. But who’s counting…
Click here for more information on IBIS Hotel Greenwich
GO FOR A FAMILY DINNER IN LIMEHOUSE
We met our uncle in his apartment in Limehouse a few stops down on the DLR. We met his nephew and his girlfriend who had arrived earlier in the day from Boston. Hungry at this stage we walked across the road to a lovely Italian restaurant called La Figa. I would recommend not trying to Google translate the name of the restaurant halfway through the meal. You will end up giggling your way through your pasta. The menu was immense and catered to everyone. We shared starters of focaccia and bruschetta san danielle. For mains, I ate a lovely vegetarian cannelloni oven dish while others had the lamb shank, pizza’s, a seafood dish and fresh homemade ravioli.
HAVE A WEEKEND BRUNCH IN GREENWICH
Bill’s was packed on Saturday morning but we didn’t have long to wait for a table upstairs. I loved the decor in the cafe, in particular, they had a wonderful selection of black and white prints by the stairs. The services was attentive and the food options for brunch were great. However, it was VERY expensive. Our bill came to 65 pounds for 3 people including service charge. We had 1 main, a coffee & a juice each.
I had the Omelette with spinach, feta and spring onion which was delicious. The others choose pancakes and bacon sandwiches. The coffee was excellent and the service was good but a little slow. It was a quieter and much more spacious than bills with lots of room for our luggage which was very handy.
STROLL AROUND THE OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE
View this post on Instagram
On a trip to London last weekend to see Mamma Mia the party in the 02. We took a stroll around the old naval college in Greenwich before the show and soaked up some decadent culture. We walked through underground passageways, past classy indoor bowling halls and spotted a spiral staircase made from stone. Walking up it we found this impressive chapel. The sunlight flooded through the windows intact with original glass and filled the ornately decorated neoclassical interior. It’s completely free to walk around and aparently music students from the campus perform a lunchtime classical recital on Mondays & Fridays which would be amazing in such beautiful space. Maybe next time! @oldroyalnavalcollege @trinitylaban #visitgreenwich #familyweekend #musicrecital #visitlondon #weekendgetaway #greenwich #chapel #neoclassical #oldroyalnavalcollege #navalcollege #thingstodoforfree #thames #02London
We took a stroll around the old naval college in Greenwich before the show and soaked up some decadent culture.
We walked through underground passageways, past classy indoor bowling halls and spotted a spiral staircase made from stone. Walking up it we found this impressive chapel.
The sunlight flooded through the windows intact with original glass and filled the ornately decorated neoclassical interior.It’s completely free to walk around and apparently music students from the campus perform a lunchtime classical recital on Mondays & Fridays which would be amazing in such beautiful space. Maybe next time!
BROWSE THROUGH THE GREENWICH MARKETS
POP INTO A BROCANTE POP-UP MARKET
We stumbled upon this tiny gem of a gallery down a lane just off the main market square. Once through the door, we were greeted with a glass of rosé and a platter of cheese. We were invited to have a look at the jewellery, ceramics and artwork on display. The gallery owner had a lovely dog that was ‘helping’ and visitors also brought in their own pooches. The work was eclectic, modern and vibrant. I bought a lovely vintage necklace and hooped earrings to match for only 5stg. Upstairs there were lots more paintings. I particularly loved the portrait drawings on scraps of paper and the ‘dial god’ piece.
Mamma Mia the party was a hell of an experience. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect not being an ABBA fan or not having ever seen the movie nor the musical. It certainly left an impression.
As you walk through the entrance into the hallway, everything is decorated as if you were in Nikos Taverna in Greece. It was just like walking into the movie set. They even turned up the heating so you feel like you are actually there. You are greeted with a free drink on arrival and then shown to your table.
The food was far better than expected. In fact, if I had a meal that good in a restaurant I would be very happy. The dishes are unlimited and you can order as much as you want. Soon the table was filled with a selection of yummy bread and dips, a plate of tomatoes in olive oil and herbs, olives, octopus (urgh) and other nibbles. We struggled to find space on the table as more dishes arrived.
Between courses, the actors and musicians would perform between the tables or sometimes even climb a ladder to the balcony upstairs to serenade. Some of the serving staff doubled as actors and there was so much going on you didn’t know where to look sometimes.
Then the mains came with a selection of delicious beef and lamb and a vegetarian oven dish with mushrooms covered in a cheesy sauce. The meat was cooked to perfection and the vegetarian dish was so good we ordered another portion. The orange cake for dessert and baklava was absolutely divine. We washed this all down with bottles of excellent red wine ( the wine costs extra!).
There was a circus performance with acrobatics spinning from the ceiling. I glanced at the bar and the bar staff was suddenly doing a contortionist act right on the counter. Projections of sunlight and night scenes with shooting stars were projected behind the ‘bar’. Giant flames shot up from the ‘fountain’ in the centre. There was some audience participation but we didn’t get ‘picked on’ to my relief. As the wine flowed, everyone started joining in with singing and dancing. Then the tables in the middle were rearranged and a stage put in its place for the audience to dance on. This was pure entertainment in itself, just watching everyone drunkenly gyrate to ABBA tunes I was in hysterics. I have to say it was an excellent production and a great show. Not something I would normally choose but I had a great time to the extent I was sore from laughing the next day!
If you enjoyed the info provided PLEASE share them!
PIN ME, PLEASE!