25 May 2010

Quirky London 13 of 20: Crossing the meridian

Where is it? Greenwich observatory, in the park overlooking the old naval college - but possibly not quite where you think.

What's quirky about it? Your chance to straddle the meridian line. Here, balanced on a knife edge, are the two hemispheres: on one side the mystic east of Woolwich and Dartford and beyond; on the other, the wild west of Lewisham and Brixton.

A steel monument and strip by the Royal Observatory, heavy with queues of visitors intent on Twitpic-ing a holiday snap, show the zero line.

Except it's not the GPS zero. The line shown by the observatory is the 1884 meridian; today's zero, at least the one that your GPS will show as 0.0000 longitude, is a hundred metres east in the park (map, right: the marked line is in blue, the GPS zero line is in red).
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Why bike there? Greenwich is a lovely, mostly traffic-free, bike ride along the Thames path. In the park, it's a nice ride up to the observatory for that view . You can see the splendour of the old Naval College, now home to Trinity College of Music, with the blocks of Canary Wharf behind and, over to the east, the exoskeleton of the O2 dome.

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  1. Greenwich is definetly a fantastic place to ride along the Thames, great post - can't wait to try it out myself in the summer.

  2. Been there, done that, got the hot dog.

    HOT DOG ?

    Yep, cycled from Victoria Coach Station to ROG (armed with GPS, of course!) The return trip headed back south to the A2 and had a hot dog (£1·50) from a burger van. Apart from the coach cost, that was the only expense for a weekend in London!

    I'd suggest the 'burger van' gets added to quirky London - it turned out to be the Blackheath Tea Hut - Est. 1924 (or was it 26?), with own website and two facebook pages!