London’s Christmas village > Maritime Greenwich

Posted On September 29, 2007

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Maritime Greenwich, London’s Christmas Village, has an exciting programme of festive activities, exhibitions and events running through December into New Year 2008.

This beautiful corner of south east London will take on a special festive atmosphere with open-air ice skating, shopping, twinkling fairy lights and decorations, a giant Christmas tree and visit by Santa Claus and his helpers. Visitors will be able to soak up the unique ambiance and join in a variety of events.

Festivities will kick off with the Switch On of Greenwich Market’s Christmas lights on Friday, 30 November with a huge programme of family entertainment running from 3-7pm. Father Christmas will be there from 3pm and the lights will be turned on at 5pm by the cast of Greenwich Theatre’s pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’.

The famous, indoor Greenwich market, www.greenwichmarket.net, is home to a quirky collection of interesting and unusual shops. In addition from Thursday, 6 December there will be a special Christmas Market trading everyday until 7pm right up to Christmas Eve. Festive shopping in Greenwich Town Centre is also a breath of fresh air for those tired with the lack of choice offered by crowded, cloned high streets across the country. The historic town is packed with unique shopping opportunities stretching from Royal Hill to Creek Road. Many of the restaurants and bars will also be offering special Christmas party menus.

Greenwich Ice Rink > The Greenwich ice rink, www.greenwichicerink.com, will be open from Saturday, 8 December to Sunday, 13 January (10am – 10pm) in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. This year the CaféIce, serving hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies, will be re-sited in the colonnades giving skaters uninterrupted views across the Thames to Canary Wharf in one direction and Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory in the other. Other events at the College will include a Christmas evening concert with supper in the beautiful Painted Hall and a family festive craft workshop, www.oldroyalnavalcollege.org.

The Greenwich Theatre annual pantomime production of ‘Dick Whittington’ will run from Tuesday, 4 December to Saturday, 5 January with Andrew Pollard writing the script and joining the cast as the dame, returning after his record-breaking success in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ last year. The show will be packed with comedy, magic, music and adventure entertaining an audience across all ages, www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk.

Mince Pounds > Maritime Greenwich will also have its own currency, Mince Pounds, available during the festive season. Every time visitors spend £10 in a local shop or market displaying a Mince Pound sign, they will receive one Mince Pound, which can be put towards either tickets to the pantomime, skating at the ice rink or a visit to the new Peter Harrison Planetarium.

Maritime Greenwich’s many attractions will be open to visitors over the festive period including the Chapel and Painted Hall within the Old Royal Naval College; the National Maritime Museum, which also takes in the Queen’s House, Royal Observatory with its new Time and Space Galleries and the Peter Harrison Planetarium; the Fan Museum, St Alfege Church and Wernher Collection at the Ranger’s House.

This year also marks the tenth anniversary since the centre of Greenwich was awarded World Heritage Site status for its architectural, scientific, maritime and royal associations.

Christmas events at Maritime Greenwich will vary from day to day; for full details and to check Christmas opening times for local attractions and accommodation suggestions visit Christmasingreenwich.com. Local information can also be found on www.greenwichwhs.org.uk.

Maritime Greenwich is easily reached via the Docklands Light Railway alighting at Cutty Sark, or by main line train from four central London stations, namely Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and London Bridge. Alternatively there are several bus services coming through Greenwich or visitors can arrive by passenger boat at Greenwich Pier.

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