Deptford to Greenwich Walking tour: 1 hour, 30 minute walk
New students! We know that many of you will be self-isolating or unable to visit campus as you're not yet in the UK.
Fortunately, Alfred from our SU Welcome Desk has been out and about filming a series of virtual walking tours to give you a feel for the local area and places you might want to visit nearby.
First up, Deptford to Greenwich! Below the video we have text and a map of the route Alfred took....
This walk can actually begin at Goldsmiths as well. You just need to walk towards New Cross Station, get to the New Cross Health Centre and then head right toward the Albany theatre and Deptford station (it’s about a 5-10 minutes walk). If you walk in front of the Albany theatre on Wednesday and Fridays you'll find a big, local flea market every week.
We recommend passing by the station as there are many new local businesses on the station square. Here there is plenty of choice for great restaurants and quirky cafes with outside seating areas which we recommend you go and try out! There is also a lovely cafe that sells outdoor and indoor plants.
From the station just walk all the way down Deptford high street. This area has a long-standing history as a multicultural, working class, maritime centre with rooted South East Asia and Caribbean communities. This history is still holding on despite recent gentrification. On the right of the high street there is also Saint Paul, an 18th century baroque church surrounded by a small yet pleasant garden. Along the high street there are market yards, Caribbean and vietnamese restaurants and grocery stores, plenty of pubs and cafes, and discount supermarkets which will help you to save up money while in pricey London.
At the end of the high street just cross the road and keep going straight ahead towards the river. The leafy residential area offers a lovely cocktail bar and the Dog and the Bell, a charming old pub. At the very end of the street, if you go to your left, you’ll get to the first dockyard, with a wonderful view of the Thames and a Chinese Cultural Centre with a huge library and a lovely cafe nestled in a monumental historic building. It’s a good place to stop for a nice view and a coffee.
If you go to your right, you’ll have to walk a few minutes along a residential road before getting to the Thames path. Just to let you know, the first part is currently under construction works until November and there will be signs for a short diversion route. Along the way you’ll see a curious looking statue called “Peter the shipbuilder”. Built in the 2000s by Mihail Chemiakin (sculptor) and Viacheslav (Architect). It commemorates Peter the Great's stay in Deptford in 1698. If you want to hear more about it follow this link!
After a 15 minute walk along the Thames path you will see a plethora of restaurants and cafes, you will finally arrive at Cutty Sark. It will be easy to spot it due to the massive merchant sip in the square. Students can visit it with discounted tickets, which will also take you to the Observatory at the top of Greenwich Park.
The ship, as well as the mighty Naval Hospital, Old royal Naval college, National Maritime museum, and the 17th century Queen’s house (designed by the London architect Christopher’s Wren) is a reminder of the mixed heritage of Greenwich as a centre of commerce and as a centre of power during the British empire. The problematic history of the area is however openly discussed by the Greenwich museum association. Beyond necessary critical self reflection, the museum is uncovering and celebrating histories of success and resilience of women and minority groups in maritime history. Go check out their website to hear more about this.
Once at Cutty Sark you can stroll around the 18th century open market (there you’ll find one Gottard’s, of the cheapest and best pie shops in London) as well as the gardens, squares, and the painted hall of the Old Naval College (this is also the main location of Greenwich University).
Across the road to the Naval college you will see the Maritime museums and the Queen’s house. Just behind it is Greenwich Park. Its 74 hectares are dominated by the Royal Greenwich Observatory and a wonderful vista of east and central London. At the opposite end of the park you’ll also find Ranger’s house, a little secret gem with a quirky art collection inside. However, be aware that the collection belonged to Sir Julius Werner, a german diamond hunter who benefited from the subjugation of South Africa during the height of the British empire. None of the objects have been stolen from this region (most are medieval and renaissance mediterranean artefacts) but the way they were acquired was problematic. Luckily going to see the object doesn’t benefit Werner’s family in any way as they managed to ruin themselves already and as the collection now belongs to English Heritage. They sure need to be pushed towards openly talking about this however.
In the park there is a cafe at the top of the hill as well as at the bottom entrance and inside the Maritime museum, where you can also see one of the most famous sculptures in greenwich: Nelson’s ship in a bottle by British-Nigerian Artist Yinka Shonibare. If you want to know more about the sculpture, follow this link!
Map of the route taken