Since the 1850s, Greenwich’s Prime Meridian has been the meeting point of the western and eastern hemispheres. Today, travellers from every corner of the globe converge on this fascinating riverside borough – and here’s where Culture Trip thinks you should lay your head for an unforgettable stay.
Sitting on the southern bank of the Thames, the Royal Borough of Greenwich offers a leafy retreat from hectic central London. It’s home to London’s oldest enclosed royal park, the capital’s only cable car cruising above the river and a vibrant marketplace. There are also historic landmarks like the Royal Observatory, the 17th-century Queen’s House and the Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper sailboat.
Although there’s plenty to see and do in Greenwich, it’s not blanketed by quite as many hotels as the rest of London, so Culture Trip has sniffed out the best places to stay in the area.
Built in 1801 to serve the workers who lived in the adjoining Georgian cottages, the Pilot is believed to be one of the oldest buildings on the Greenwich Peninsula. Its 10 boutique bedrooms are old-school in a very unique way, each carrying its own theme – there’s one furnished with vintage Polaroid photos, others with retro maps and album covers and even the cosy Captain’s Cabin, decked out with wood panelling and porthole windows. The pub itself is a time capsule of early 19th-century Britain – a classic British bar decorated by exposed beams, ship’s wheels and nautical paintings, with a sunny beer garden to boot. Situated 10 minutes’ walk south of the O2 Arena, room rates start at £89 a night.
Sitting in the shadow of the white dome of the O2 Arena, this five-star hotel’s 453 rooms and suites epitomise all the businesslike elegance the InterContinental brand is known for, with a subtle seafaring theme throughout. Greenwich’s largest hotel boasts a buffet of dining options, including imported Indian teas in the Meridian Lounge, rum and gin in the maritime-inspired Clipper Bar and modern meals at the Market Brasserie and Peninsula Restaurant. Don’t check out before sipping a cocktail at the Eighteen Sky Bar, which soars over the Canary Wharf skyline from the InterContinental’s 18th storey.
Maurice Drummond House was an award-winning architectural landmark when it was unveiled in the 1930s, before a head-to-toe overhaul transformed this eight-storey police building into a four-star hotel in 2011. Formerly flying the Mercure flag before adopting the Hilton banner in 2017, this quiet Catherine Grove property features one of the most unique hotel dining experiences you’ll find anywhere in London – the opulent Restaurant Oasis 01 in a converted shooting gallery – as well as 146 sleek rooms from a refreshingly affordable £92 a night.
This red-brick Georgian hotel is steeped in the history of the borough, as it was built in 1783 for the Greenwich Hospital before becoming part of the Royal Naval College. Devonport House retains the stately character of the two-centuries-old structure, from the tall white columns on the facade to the immaculate private gardens out the back, which include a small cemetery. Surrounded by Greenwich Market, the National Maritime Museum and the northern lawns of Greenwich Park, Devonport House is one of De Vere’s growing collection of country estate hotels, with 99 airy rooms starting from £98 a night.
Opening its doors in 2014, this modern apartment hotel sits in the historic heart of Greenwich, just a stroll from the railway station. These 68 studios and one-bedroom apartments have all the amenities of a hotel – 24-hour reception, fresh towels and linen, cleaning service, room service and breakfast each morning – as well as homely touches like living rooms, dining tables, work desks, flatscreen TVs, on-site parking and fully equipped open-plan kitchenettes where you can prepare your own meals. Stays start from £105 a night.
There’s another Staycity Aparthotel only five minutes’ walk down the road, sitting right next door to the Deptford Bridge DLR station. Preserving the building’s original brick facade while adding 98 contemporary apartments, this stylish property features contemporary art on the walls, exposed timber and hardwood floors plus Staycity’s signature black and gold decor. The Deptford Bridge option is also slightly cheaper than the Greenwich High Road location, with rates beginning at £95 per night.
The Clarendon has been owned and operated by the O’Donnell family for the past 50 years, but its ties to the Greenwich area run a lot deeper than that – the Meridian restaurant takes its name from the Royal Observatory Prime Meridian of the world, and the nautical-themed Chart Bar is inspired by the trailblazing seafarers who first navigated the globe. The 175 regal rooms suit the postcard-pretty Blackheath Village south of Greenwich, gazing across the grassland past the towering All Saints’ Church. Rooms start at £129.
A wave of glamorous ‘poshtels’ is sweeping Europe, and Greenwich’s St Christopher’s Inn sits near the front of the pack. Also boasting trendy properties in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Prague, St Christopher’s southeast London location showcases the brand’s trademark common areas and chic, comfortable rooms, with backpacker bar Belushi’s ensuring a lively atmosphere downstairs. The hostel’s uber-convenient location at Greenwich station means your bed is less than 20 minutes on the Tube from the middle of the capital, and the £14 dorms and £58 privates are a bargain by London standards.
The Angerstein is a beautifully preserved Victorian pub dating back to 1888, but the selection of hotel rooms upstairs is a lot more modern than that. This family-run property sits on the Charlton edge of Greenwich, close to Westcombe Park station, with a welcoming watering hole beneath a range of single, twin, double, triple and family rooms. The accommodation is simple, but the price is right – you can grab a single room with a shared bathroom for less than £50 a night.
This historic buff-brick building is one of London’s top-rated budget-friendly hotels, with 120 polished rooms starting at £109 a night. Tuck into breakfast on the Café Rouge’s breezy terrace and put your feet up at the 24-hour lobby bar, or save your appetite for the pubs, cafés and markets in nearby Greenwich Village; this ibis enjoys an enviable location, only a block from the Herb Garden and St Mary’s Gate in the northwest corner of Greenwich Park.