Climb Into A Dome Of The Old Royal Naval College

M@
By M@ Last edited 12 months ago

Last Updated 09 June 2023

Climb Into A Dome Of The Old Royal Naval College
One of the greenwich domes of the old royal naval college, seen from its twin

A rare chance to see inside the Greenwich landmark, with exceptional views and some ancient graffiti.

Ever wanted to climb up one of the towers of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich? Get yourself on the waiting list, and you might just get the chance.

The rare opportunity comes as London acknowledges the 300th anniversary of Sir Christopher Wren's death in 1723. Wren, who lived to 90, is the only man to design a major cathedral and live to see it completed. He built dozens of churches, St Paul's, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and, of course, the former naval college at Greenwich.

The view of greenwich naval college from one of its domes
View from the dome

The twin-domed Portland stone complex has been a riverside landmark for centuries. While large sections of the ground level are open to the public, the upper floors and towers are usually out of reach. But now, a handful of small tours (six people, max) up into one of the world-famous domes will take place over the summer.

Inside an old circular turret building, with diagonal beams, scrawled in graffiti
Graffiti from many eras can be found within the frame of the building

The dome tours are not cheap at £48 (which includes access to the Painted Hall). However, having scaled the landmark myself, I can attest that both the views and the historical insights are worth your coin.

Getting into the dome is something of an adventure, involving old wooden ladders and a fair amount of ducking and dodging under crossbeams. Needless to say, it's not an experience that can be opened to everyone, and you'll need to sign a waiver to be granted entry.

A wooden ladder leading up through the tower
As you can see, the tour is not for anyone who would have difficulty with ladders

To register interest in a tour, see the Old Royal Naval College's pages.

See more secret spaces inside the college, from our behind-the-scenes tour.

All images Matt Brown