Living in Greenwich

Kings and Queens have lived there, and it is graced by some of Britain’s finest buildings and leading tourist attractions. Greenwich has always felt like a retreat from the hubbub of Central London, and that is why properties there are so popular, from riverside apartments to Georgian and Victorian terraces. Find out more about what it’s like to live in this historic borough with our Greenwich area guide.

History of the area

Greenwich is an illustrious part of London. As the home of the National Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College, it is synonymous with seafaring and royal history.

Over more 600 years it has played a major role in national life. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were born at Greenwich Palace, and Charles II founded the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park in 1675. The Old Royal Naval College was built on the site of Greenwich Palace. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor and originally served as the Royal Naval Hospital. The Meridian Line runs through the Royal Observatory and was formally accepted as the Prime Meridian in 1851.

Maritime Greenwich, encompassing all its historic buildings and the royal Greenwich Park, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. In 2012 Greenwich became a Royal Borough, and Greenwich Park hosted the equestrian events at the London Olympics in the same year.

The property market

What’s not to love about living in Greenwich? There is however a premium for the privilege, and to afford a property here you will be paying more than the London average, with the average property price in 2023 being £629,000.

New build homes

With stunning riverside and city views, there are plenty of new build developments in the borough, with no shortage of competition for 1, 2 or 3 bed apartments. Flats in No.3 Upper Riverside in Greenwich Peninsula are highly sought after. 

First time buyers

Given the status of the area, buying for the first time in Greenwich isn’t easy. A 1-bed flat will cost just over £300,000 on average. However, help is at hand in the form of shared ownership and help to buy schemes.

Renting in the area

The average rental cost in Greenwich varies across the borough, with the highest near Greenwich town centre and the Ashburnham Triangle and the lowest in Charlton and Deptford. The Royal Borough of Greenwich council run the Meridian Home Start scheme, which offers high quality homes for local working families at discounted rents.

Schools and education

The schools in Greenwich are some of the best in London. State primary schools rated ‘outstanding’ in their latest Ofsted report include St Peter’s Catholic Primary and Heronsgate Primary in Woolwich. Primary state schools with ‘good’ ratings include Cherry Orchard Primary in Marlborough Lane. Harris Academy in Eltham is an ‘outstanding’ state secondary school. The University of Greenwich has two campuses in the borough, one at the World Heritage Site itself and another in Eltham.

Transport links

Greenwich can sometimes feel like an escape from Central London, but it is never very far away. The DLR connects Greenwich with Canary Wharf and Bank, and there are regular overground services from Greenwich and Maze Hill stations to London Bridge, Blackfriars and Cannon Street. For a more scenic trip, TfL river buses run from Greenwich Pier to destinations along the Thames. Get to Tower Pier in 23 minutes and Westminster Pier in 45 minutes.

Lifestyle and leisure

Places to eat and drink

Greenwich town centre has a plethora of independent and chain restaurants and cafés. Along with Bill’s, Pizza Express and Byron, you have Papa Charlie, serving Mediterranean food for all the family, and Heap’s Sausages, a butcher’s and café with arguably the best breakfasts in Greenwich. The Gipsy Moth is a famous old pub next to the Cutty Sark and the glorious riverside location of the Trafalgar Tavern is the perfect spot for an after-work summer pint.

Where to shop

Greenwich is a great place for finding a bargain. Greenwich Market is held every day except Mondays, and the Greenwich Vintage Market sells everything from retro radios to handmade jewellery and second hand books. It is on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Church Street.

Things to do

In such an area steeped in history, you will not be short of things to do. In fact there’s few places in London so densely packed with attractions! All the main sights – the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College and the Royal Observatory – are within walking distance of each other. Stand on the Prime Meridian and have a foot in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres, or gaze up at the ceiling of the Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College, often referred to as ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’ for its astonishing beauty. 

Greenwich Park is the oldest of all London’s royal parks, and as well as being the dramatic backdrop to the Royal Observatory it boasts some of the best views of the city skyline you could wish for. Climb to its highest point on a clear day and you will not be disappointed! A little further out in North Greenwich you will of course find the O2 – the biggest indoor entertainment venue in London. As well as seeing the world’s biggest acts in concert, you could go Up at the O2 and climb the roof of the venue.

Felicity J Lord can help you buy, sell or rent in Greenwich

If you like what you’ve read about the Royal Borough, we can help you buy, sell or rent there. Get in touch with the friendly team at our Greenwich branch and they will be happy to help.