Three years ago, Mr. New Yorker and I decided to purchase a property here in Greenwich and claim our stake in the London property market. What made us decide to call Greenwich home was because we never got tired of coming here.
You can go for a run along the calming river side lined with colourful mini yachts or take your puppy for a walk in the lush greenery of historical Greenwich Park. And thanks to the extension of the transport system, you could be in central London in just under 20 minutes.
Fast forward to today and the town has certainly changed a lot. The local area has been transformed into one that is unrecognisable as cranes popped-up with new building projects everywhere. The charm of the original town remained untouched however and there were some welcoming new additions of arty coffee shops and hipster eateries.
This Valentine’s Day, we decided that it was time to be a tourist for a day in our own hometown. Because, why not? Every time I visited Greenwich again, I always discovered something new. Whether it was through chatting to the local food stalls in Greenwich market selling the latest trends (ramen burger, anyone?) or found out through a neighbour that a new restaurant just opened around the corner.
To kick it off, we decided to opt for the best transport London has to offer. The big red double decker bus had always been overlooked in London. I have to admit, it is definitely not the fasted way to get around. However, the bus system in London had always been a top contender for me as one of the best connected. Plus, it will never disappoint on giving you the most amazing views of the city!
And here is an expat tip: If you are new in London, taking the the red double decker buses will give you the same experience of the sight seeing buses for just £1.50 (that’s a single Oyster card journey) 🙂
Look, we had this lovely top floor of the double decker bus to all to ourselves! Thumbs up indeed.
The 129 bus dropped us off at the Royal Naval College. Situated next to the river side, this is one of the most photogenic areas in all of London. I definitely felt the impressive power of the Royal navy’s past once I stepped into this place. I was especially surprised by how well all of the buildings have been preserved with so much care and love.
As once the site of Greenwich Palace, no wonder this was Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence. I can definitely see why!
Greenwich also played a huge role across Hollywood and the British film industries as one of the most in-demand movie sets. On the day we were there, Pirates of the Carribean was shooting on site for yet another sequel. No sign of Johnny Depp unfortunately. This was in addition to being the set of Les Miserables, Sherlock Holmes, Gulliver’s Travels, just to name a few.
Out of all of the buildings in the Royal Naval College, Painted Hall was definitely my favourite. It was the ultimate banqueting hall covered in elaborate artwork designed by the famous Sir Christopher Wren and painted by James Thornhill.
As I stepped inside, I could almost see the historical banquets taking place in here with experienced naval veterans reciting elaborate stories from battles at sea. The paintings also reminded me of the intricate details inside the Vatican in Rome, guaranteed to make you feel in awe of the work that was put into this.
Don’t let the fact that Greenwich is located in the South East side of London deter you from making a visit. You can get here by DLR, bus and get this, a comfortable boat ride on the Thames Clipper! Departing every 20 minutes, the clipper boat will take you from London Bridge to Greenwich in just under 30 minutes. Commuting in style!
The Cutty Sark was just a short walk along the river from the Royal Naval College. Can you believe that it had suffered not one, but two destructive fires in the last 7 years? This poor ship had endured so much in its long history, but stood tall and beautiful after being restored to its former glory. Go Greenwich!
Next stop, we headed off to Greenwich Market. I was jumping with glee by this point as I was absolutely starving! You can imagine which stalls I was going to head to first…
First, we proposed a challenge for each other to find the best food stall in all of Greenwich Market. And…we were off to the food hunt…
Hmm…beef sandwich with hot melted cheddar? Yes please? Let’s see, what was next…
I turned around and Mr. New Yorker presented me with his selection of the day, Portugese chorizo stew with potatoes and baby carrots, piri-piri chicken in chef’s special sauce served on top of herb couscous. Not bad! Let me see if I can do better…
But first, a girl has got to eat. Time to chow down!
The taste of smoked paprika in the chorizo stew was incredible and was such a winter warmer. The piri piri chicken literally just melted in my mouth with its tenderness.
Oh, look what I found here. A lovely Italian couple at Stand 57A have produced this gorgeous dish. A tender BBQ pulled-pork wrap with home-made juicy slaw (low carb option and delicious!) What’s not to like?
Judging from the look on his face, I think it was a solid choice I’d say… Polished up in minutes!
Tough competition as it was very difficult to pick our favourites from all that deliciousness surrounding us.
Feeling slightly more satisfied with the hunger bug subdued, we spotted this lovely lady with her extensively decorated stall. It was like being transported into one of India’s buzzing night market and we were hit with a full-on aroma of strong spices. 3 freshly made onion bhajis and 2 chicken & lamb samosas for a total of £3 (such a bargain). I don’t normally eat fried dishes, but these were worth every crunchy bite.
As a foodie, one thing you always wished for was a bottomless stomach. Once we were full, I was suffering from an episode of foodie remorse. I spotted these guys at the end of the market making lamb and falafel wraps. The smell was intoxicatingly good. But my stomach told me otherwise. Unfortunately!
Greenwich Market was not made up of all food stalls. The other 2/3 of the market made up of individual vendors selling their specialist craft. According to the rule governed by the market, no two stalls can sell similar items of any kind, so you are bound to find an original gift you are looking for.
I found these cute key rings from Amy Lee, who created these from sewing puppets out of socks. I had my eyes on Kermit the Frog.
For a shoe lover like myself, I absolutely loved this shop located on the right hand side of the stalls. All of the shoes were handmade with leather and the quality was superb. Look at these cute red boots, very Greenwich indeed.
Have you been to Greenwich yet? I hope I have made a compelling case for you to make that long awaited trip. And if you have been before, I hope this tempts you to re-visit again sometime soon!