This guest post comes to us compliments of one of our fabulous Wendy McCooey, who chronicles her life as an American expat in London at her blog, The McCooey’s of London (where this post originally appeared June 30th, 2010).
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After a tasty brunch with friends, we headed out to explore and ended up in Canary Wharf and Greenwich.  We had not done a lick of research, so we had no clue what to expect.  We show up and at first think hmmm Canary Wharf is a bit, well…not worth the trip… It’s a financial district (YAWN!).  We keep walking and then we see a nice riverbank area and cool buildings, TALL buildings, and then we turned another corner and it was glorious, yet another riverside area with cute restaurants/pubs, even a floating church for those who like to take their lord to the water.  Mike actually went from “Let’s get out of here” tooooo “Now this is my kind of place, ‘corporate and sterile,’ everything looks brand new.”  As for what I thought, it was nice, everything looked brand new, nothing like London; it reminded me of the area near the river in Chicago, and, well, I HEART CHI-TOWN.

Then we were off to check the time in Greenwich

The name Greenwich comes from the Saxon term for ‘green village’. There is evidence of Bronze Age barrows in Greenwich Park as well as a Roman villa or temple.

In the Domesday Book, the manor of Greenwich is recorded as held by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, and a royal palace or hunting lodge has existed here since before 1300. From the 15th century, the town became the site of the royal palace of Placentia, the birthplace of many Tudor monarchs including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Now off to the Royal Observatory

Come and stand on the world-famous Greenwich Meridian Line, which represents the Prime Meridian of the World – Longitude 0º. Every place on Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from the Greenwich Meridan. The line itself divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Center of Time

During the evenings, the position of the Meridian Line is often marked by a green laser in the sky.  Since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has served as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time. It can now claim to be the centre of world time, and was the official starting point for the new Millennium.

Is Greenwich worth a visit? I say Yes! It’s a great way to spend a few hours.  As always, there is a market (Greenwich Market) full of your typical market stuff, pubs, cute boutiques, a pier, and the Royal Observatory, which is wrapped in green space to have a picnic after you check the time and even the University of Greenwich.

Cheers,

WMMc