News: Old Royal Naval College to reopen with outdoor and digital offerings from 12 April

The Old Royal Naval College will once again be able to safely welcome visitors from 12th April 2021, with online and outdoor events including digital workshops by illustrator Nick Ellwood, outdoor guided and self-guided tours, and the reopening of the gift shops and café.

Illustrator Nick Ellwood, whose wonderfully mischievous drawings feature in the Painted Hall Family Trail, will have a physical exhibition Mischief and Misadventure when guidelines allow, opening from May 2021. Running in advance of this will be online drawing workshops for children and adults. Release your inner child with Ellwood’s April workshops, where participants will be guided through practical assignments to learn children’s book illustration. The May workshops will bring history life as Ellwood guides participants through drawing tips and practical activities in these illustration masterclasses. If budding illustrators wish to learn more with family or friends, Ellwood will also be offering online group workshops in the spring, so larger groups can enjoy learning to draw from the comfort of their own homes.

Those visiting the Old Royal Naval College will be able to enjoy exploring the stunning grounds from 12th April, with the help of guided and self-guided tours. Guided tours, provided by the excellent and knowledgeable volunteers, will run four times daily showing off the beautiful grounds and exteriors of the Sir Christopher Wren-designed buildings. Guided tours will be limited to 5 people and must be pre-booked. Visitors can also download any of the 3 free self-guided tours of the Old Royal Naval College on the Smartify app. The Building Detectives tour takes families on a treasure trail around the outdoor spaces, allowing children to enjoy some time learning about their local history outside. The architecture tour takes visitors on a journey around the outside of the iconic domed buildings and the Greenwich Pensioners Tour, launching in April, will allow users to follow in the footsteps of the former naval officers and mariners who lived here.

The gift shops, in the Visitor Centre and King William Undercroft, will also be reopening from 12th April, allowing visitors to the Old Royal Naval College to pick up souvenirs or buy presents for their loved ones. The Old Brewery is resuming outdoor service from 12th April, and is taking bookings on their website. Pop-up food stalls on the King William Lawn every weekend will feature hot and cold foods, a bar and delicious pre-made picnics and afternoon teas to enjoy on the lawns. Visitors can hire a deckchair or picnic blanket for use in the grounds to enjoy their picnics and the riverside views. For any visitors who can’t wait, the popular ice cream cart and food van will be open for take away in the grounds over the Easter weekend, and then every weekend from 12th April onwards.

Exciting digital offerings include award-winning British-Nigerian playwright Adeola Solanke’s Phillis in London, which will be available to watch on the Old Royal Naval College website. The play, filmed in the magnificent Painted Hall, follows Phillis Wheatley, the first Black poet published in English, on her 1773 visit to London and the Old Royal Naval College. The vital and fascinating exhibition Black Greenwich Pensioners is closing after a successful run since September, and the Old Royal Naval College is making the exhibition available online for free so the public can still learn about the important and complex history of Black naval mariners in Greenwich.

2021 promises to have a great spring and summer with fun events for all the family; with a wide-ranging offering including art, culture, history, outdoors and great food and drink the Old Royal Naval College really does have something for everyone. Events will be subject to government Covid-19 restrictions.

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