The Painted Hall contains the most expansive decorative painting scheme in England. Built as a ceremonial dining room and painted between 1707 and 1726, Sir James Thornhill's murals span 4000m². But since its last renovation in the 1950s, the paintings deteriorated. After meticulous planning and fundraising (with support from The National Lottery), the Hall underwent its most comprehensive makeover in history between 2016 and 2019. The project finished in March, bringing the Painted Hall back to life with new LED light systems.
The Chapel (left) and Painted Hall (right)
As champions of accessibility, the College gave over 80,000 visitors open access to observe the conservators at work on a ceiling tour of the Painted Hall. Now the project's finished, they've introduced a brand new visitor experience – including guided tours, multimedia guides and family trails around the site. Check out the altarpiece by RA founder Benjamin West (The Death of General Wolfe) and the organ by Samuel Green. The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is also a neo-classical masterpiece, designed by James Stuart.
The site is steeped in British history, and was home to Greenwich palace in the Tudor era. The favoured Royal residence of Henry VIII now lies beneath the Old Royal Naval College. A small part of the excavated palace can be viewed in The Sackler Gallery.
Old Royal Naval College
The site's classical buildings are some of the most beautiful in Europe, and were built way back in the eighteenth century as the Royal Hospital for Seamen. Sir Christopher Wren was one of the architects, who also designed St Paul's Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace and the Sheldonian theatre in Oxford. After the 1860s the hospital turned into the Royal Naval College. The navy left in 1997, and a charity took over to conserve the baroque buildings and magnificent grounds. Luckily for us, this means the whole area is open to the public.
Book tickets now to marvel at the UK's most impressive eighteenth century feat, and find out more on a 500 Years of History Tour of the whole Old Royal Naval College site.
Gold Culture Whisper members can redeem a free pair of tickets to the Painted Hall on 19 & 26 October and 2 & 9 November 10AM - 5PM
|Visit the renovated Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College
|Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk , Greenwich, SE10 9NN | MAP
|North Greenwich (underground)
On 19 Oct 19, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
On 26 Oct 19, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
On 02 Nov 19, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
On 09 Nov 19, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
|£24 per pair
|Click here for more information