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The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Greenwich & Blackheath

There is one part of London that doesn't feel like London at all, which is exactly the way its residents like it. It's not on the tube (well, not really – North Greenwich station isn't near to anywhere except the O2); and it lies in what are historically the capital's two most unfashionable directions – east AND south of central London, which was always going to make it somewhat cut off. Yet Greenwich is one of the city's most historic neighbourhoods, home and custodian of the nation's maritime history and perhaps the only London neighbourhood to resonate worldwide to quite such an extent, having lent its name all those years ago to time itself.

If Greenwich is historic, Blackheath is suburban, its centre one of London's most picturesque villages and the streets around representing the capital at its leafiest, most genteel best – stroller territory, no question, but with an identity and style that has endured since the 1960s, when Sandi Shaw opened her own fashion boutique here, the first of a host of musicians that have hailed from here over recent years – indeed Kate Bush, Squeeze, Boy George, Dire Straits and more besides made their first tentative steps towards greatness from here. 

Why do people love the area so much? Well, there's the heath for a start (always the 'heath', never the 'common'), which spreads out in all its glory as you crest the top of Blackheath Hill, a vision of green pleasantness after the grimness of Deptford and the Old Kent Rd – indeed between them Greenwich and Blackheath have more green space than perhaps any other London neighbourhood.  As a former happy hunting ground of Henry VIII, Greenwich Park is arguably London's most historic park, but also perhaps its most diverse and picturesque, with genuinely ancient trees and a dramatic vantage point overlooking over Docklands and the Isle of Dogs and the centrepiece buildings of maritime Greenwich that is among London's greatest views. Greenwich's maritime past is everywhere: in the Georgian streets of the town centre and the salty walkways of the waterfront, where the Cutty Sark tea clipper dominates and there is many a riverside pub to enjoy beyond; in the showpiece structures of the Royal Naval College; and in the august collections of the National Maritime Museum. Nowadays people come from far and wide to Greenwich, a bit less so to Blackheath – for the weekend market , the maritime attractions, to fly a kite or have a pint at one of the village or heath's many pubs, and of course to visit Greenwich Park. Then they go home again, leaving us all in peace, and rather smug in the secret knowledge that we live in the best part of London, bar none. Is it really such a different part of London? We like to think so, but would you like it? Probably not.  

Greenwich park see do parks gardens original large

Greenwich & Blackheath

Slightly cut off from the rest of London – which is just how the locals like it.
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