Tuesday 21 February 2023

Let's draw Greenwich - Saturday 18 March 2023

Let's draw London - Find our 2023 sketchwalk programme here

Stop press!
Rail strikes are now scheduled for the weekend of 18 March.
But we will meet and sketch in Greenwich as planned, as buses and most London Underground lines should still be in operation, albeit busy and with delays.

Travel update
Ongoing maintenance works at Cutty Sark DLR Station are posing a challenge for visitors. We suggest you alight at Greenwich DLR instead -- it's just a nine minute walk from our meeting point at the National Maritime Museum (see below).

The City from Greenwich
Photo by Mike Whalley

[Mike Whalley writes]

This March we return to a favourite London location, Greenwich. 

There are many excellent subjects to sketch here, including historic and modern architecture, important buildings by Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren, and a panoramic view across the river to the city. There are opportunities to draw from both sides of the River Thames, as a foot tunnel runs under the river here to Island Gardens, the site of Canaletto's famous painting 'A View of Greenwich from the River'.

Set in 17th century parkland, Greenwich feels separate from and different to London itself. Thanks to its strategic location on the River Thames, Greenwich was a centre of trade and navigation from Tudor times to the 19th century, and in 2022 celebrated its 25th anniversary as the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark are managed by Royal Museums Greenwich. The Old Royal Naval College is a registered charity under its own management.

The day is run by Mike Whalley and Olga Mackness.

Meeting point

We will gather near the entrance to the National Maritime Museum SE10 9NF, in the open space beside the cannon, just to the east of the Cutty Sark (see location map below).

If the weather is wet, meet under the colonnade that runs between the Maritime Museum and the Queens House.

The Colonnade, our wet weather meeting place
Photo by Mike Whalley

This plan of the site and individual site maps can be
downloaded from the Royal Museums Greenwich website 

Options for drawing

Royal Museums Greenwich include the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory, and the Cutty Sark. Entry is free to the National Maritime Museum and the Queen's House, but advance booking is recommended to guarantee entry. There is a charge for entry to the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark. Visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website to book both paid-for and free tickets.

The Old Royal Naval College includes the Chapel (free entry) and the Painted Hall (paid entry). Visit their website to book your tickets


    The Observatory
    Sketch by Mike Whalley


    If it rains (it’s March, so who knows!) there are plenty of options to sketch and stay dry. If in your chosen venue you find there are restrictions on drawing media (for example dry media only) do be prepared to respect the rules.
    • Old Royal Naval College is open daily from 10am till 5pm. The Chapel (free entry) is a place of prayer and worship. The Painted Hall, also known as Britain's Sistine Chapel, reopened in 2019 after a two year conservation programme and is now open for visits and tours. There is a fee to visit the Painted Hall, and advance booking is recommended.
    • St Alfege Church - the historic Georgian baroque church of St Alfege, 11th century Archbishop of Canterbury 
      • Greenwich Market - There has been a Royal Charter Market in Greenwich for a thousand years. The Arts & Crafts Market is open on weekends, with stalls selling food and arts and crafts. 

      Key times and meeting points

      11 AM

      Meet near the entrance to the National Maritime Museum, in the open space beside the cannon, just to the east of the Cutty Sark.

      If the weather is wet, meet under the colonnade that runs between the National Maritime Museum and the Queens House.

      1 PM

      Meet at the same place for the sketchbook throwdown and group photo before lunch.

      3.30 PM

      Meet at the same place for the afternoon throwdown and group photo.


      For those who would like to linger, we will meet at the Gipsy Moth for more sketching and conversation.

      Gloucester Circus, Greenwich
      Sketch by Olga Mackness

      Practical information

      Food and drink and conveniences

      There are plenty of places to get food and drink in Greenwich. Greenwich Market opens every day 10 am to 5.30 pm, and offers a variety of food stalls. The Gipsy Moth is an excellent pub with a large outdoor seating area. There are public toilets inside the visitor centre, by the Cutty Sark, in the National Maritime Museum, and in the park (King William Walk).

      Getting there

      Public transport

      Tube and DLR (Docklands Light Railway) -- UPDATE: Although Cutty Sark Station on the DLR is closest to our meeting point, access is restricted at the moment due to ongoing maintenance works. We suggest you alight instead at Greenwich DLR Station, which is a nine minute walk away from our meeting point at the National Maritime Museum. The DLR connects with other Underground lines at Bank, Tower Gateway and Stratford stations.

      National Rail -- Greenwich Station is also nearby. Trains run direct to Greenwich Station from London Cannon Street and London Bridge. Greenwich Station platforms have step-free access via ramp, lifts or underpass. The ticket offices and car parks at these stations are also step free.

      Bus -- Check the TFL website for bus connections to Greenwich.

      Accessibility -- 'Greenwich for an accessible day trip' has useful information on travel to and from Greenwich.

      River boat

      Uber Boat operates the Thames Clippers service at Greenwich Pier, next to the Cutty Sark. Boats depart from all major London piers every 20 minutes. Travel time to Greenwich is 45 minutes from the London Eye Pier, 25 minutes from London Bridge Pier, and 20 minutes from Tower Pier. 

      Greenwich Pier has installed Europe's first Ramp Rider, greatly improving access for wheelchair users getting on and off boats at low tide. For more information about disabled access to Royal Museums Greenwich, please email the bookings team.

      Cycle routes

      Located on the National Cycle Network, Greenwich can be reached by traffic-free routes that run through parks and alongside the rivers Thames, Lea and Ravensbourne. Cycle racks are located in the National Maritime Museum car park in Park Row, and you can access the Royal Observatory via cycle paths in Greenwich Parky. Free illustrated London cycle guides are available from Transport for London


      All Royal Museums Greenwich sites have accessible toilets, and cafes and gift shops are wheelchair-accessible.

      Further information

      If you're new to Urban Sketchers London, have a look at Mike Whalley's brief history of the international Urban Sketchers movement.  

      Covid guidance

      Urban Sketchers London remains alert to national guidance about COVID-19 and its variants. Even though restrictions have been lifted, it's sensible to take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe throughout the event. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:
      • Please do not attend if you feel unwell
      • Wear a face covering when you're close to others
      • Give people space
      • Practice good hand hygiene.

      Location map

      See you at Greenwich!

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