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The Painted Hall is a true masterpiece, boasting one of the most spectacular Baroque interiors in Europe. The extraordinary ceiling and wall decorations were conceived and executed by British artist Sir James Thornhill.
The epic painting scheme, known as ‘Britain’s Sistine Chapel’ took nineteen years from the start of the commission to its completion in 1726. By turns extravagant, playful, thoughtful, naïve and politically shrewd, Thornhill’s scheme earned him a knighthood and payment of £6,685.
The grandeur of Thornhill's composition, which covers 40,000 square feet, reflects the importance of the new Royal Hospital’s main Hall. Originally intended as a grand dining room for the naval pensioners, it soon became a ceremonial space open to paying visitors and reserved for special functions. Perhaps the most significant of which was the lying-in-state of Lord Nelson in January 1806, drawing large crowds to view the hero’s body. The exact spot where the coffin lay is marked by a plaque on the floor.
For a hundred years from 1824 the Hall was given over to the first National Gallery of Naval Art, before becoming home to the Royal Naval College in 1869 after the last Greenwich Pensioners left the site. From 1937 to 1997 the Painted Hall functioned as a dining space for trainee officers of the Royal Navy.
In 2019, after an £8.5m restoration project to clean and conserve the magnificent 17th Century paintings, the Painted Hall was reopened to the public.
- Assistance dogs welcome
- British Sign Language
- Disabled access
- Disabled toilets
- Ear defenders available
- Facilities for hearing impaired
- Facilities for visually impaired
- Video/virtual tours
- Wheelchairs available - Manual wheelchairs are available to hire from the Tourist Information Centre in the Visitor Centre open 10am–5pm. These are allocated on a first come, first served basis. There is a deposit of £50 which is refunded when the wheelchair is returned. For further information please call 020 830 55235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booking & Payment Details
- Credit cards accepted (no fee)
- Currency Exchange - Available at the Tourist Information Centre in the Visitor Centre, open 10am–5pm. For further information please call 020 830 55235 or email email@example.com.
- On-site catering
- On-site light refreshments
- Picnic site
- Baby changing facilities
- Children welcome
- 1m distancing in place
- 2m distancing in place
- Capacity limit - Tours are currently limited to 5 people.
- Clear signage
- Contactless payment only
- COVID-19 measures in place
- Deep cleaning between visitors
- Face mask essential (not provided) - It will not be mandatory for visitors to wear masks in outdoor spaces, however visitors taking a tour, entering the Painted Hall and/or Visitor Centre must wear a mask or face covering for the duration of that part of the visit.
- Face masks required for staff in public areas - All visitor-facing staff and volunteers will be issued with a plastic face shield.
- Hand sanitizer available to visitors & staff
- Hygiene screens in place
- One way system
- Online booking possible
- Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
- Coach parking - If you are travelling by coach, there is a coach drop off point in Stockwell Street (SE10 9JN) which is a 10 minute walk to the grounds. There is free coach parking on Norman Road (SE10) and Charlton Way (SE3) or paid coach parking on Park Row/Romney Road (SE10 9NL).
- Drop Off Point - If you are travelling by coach, there is a coach drop off point in Stockwell Street (SE10 9JN) which is a 10 minute walk to the grounds. There is free coach parking on Norman Road (SE10) and Charlton Way (SE3) or paid coach parking on Park Row/Romney Road (SE10 9NL).
- Guided tours for groups
- French signs/guides
- German signs/guides
- Italian signs/guides
- Spanish signs/guides
- Parking with charge - Please note that there is limited parking in Greenwich, particularly at weekends and we encourage you to use public transport if possible. Paid car parking is available in Park Row (SE10 9NL) and Cutty Sark Gardens.
- Gift shop
- Onsite Catering
- Public toilets
- Smoking not allowed
- WiFi or internet access - Free WiFi is available at the Tourist Information Centre in the Visitor Centre.
- Accepts groups
- Coach parties accepted
- Single sex groups welcomed