Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

26 February 2011

Stand on the Prime Meridian, for free

As readers may have noticed elsewhere, next week, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is introducing a charge of £10 to stand on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, whilst currently the experience is free.

For today, at least, the experience remains free, and whilst the meridian does extend beyond the courtyard of the Royal Observatory itself, this is certainly the place at which it feels most significant. For this is the home of time.

The significance of this site dates from 1884, when the Prime Meridian was defined by the position of a large telescope at Observatory’s, which had originally been built by Sir George Biddell Airy, the 7th Astronomer Royal, in 1850. The cross-hairs of the telescope were chosen to define 0° Longitude around the world, as a reference point for astronomical observations and time itself.

Your author isn't going to go into the rights and wrongs of charging a tenner to gain access, especially as the courtyard has just become a queue of foreign tourists in recent years, and if you go this weekend at least, you won't have to worry about it either.

For more information, click here.


  1. I'm glad I did this for free the last time we were in London. I guess it makes sense for them to do this before the big Olympic crush starts. I love Greenwich but I'm not sure I'd pay a tenner for the photo op. I guess it will go to supporting the rest of this historic site however.

  2. What a cheek! £10 is a rip-off and it really annoys me when councils do this. Blatant money-making and aimed at tourists who may not realise quite how much £10 is. Take your kids and spend £40 standing on Time - bah!

  3. To be fair they're charging for entry to the whole observatory, and there's a lot to see there, not just for a a photo op on the meridian. And as you point out the line runs right through Greenwich and the world! Not that I don't think that it's a shame it won't still be free, but then on the other hand I don't expect all museums to be free when I go to other countries...

  4. They start charging on the 8th March, not the 1st don't they? I hope so!

    And Stuffy - don't worry, kids will still go free!


  5. Thanks for all the input all. And tim, you're right. I'm sure they've changed that.