This morning we took the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Woolwich Arsenal where we enjoyed breakfast in the ‘Great Harry’ pub which was in the main square. Woolwich is a historic naval and military town situated three miles to the east of Greenwich. Leaving the pub we walked towards the river passing the historic site of the Royal Artillery, at one time the world’s largest manufacturer of guns and explosives, employing over 70,000 people at the outbreak of the First World War. Nowadays a small part of the building is a museum Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum. The Military Academy was also based in Woolwich but since its move to Sandhurst the area has suffered severe hardship and decline, most noticeable on its high street. There are now signs of regeneration as smart riverside apartment blocks are being built to coincide with the new Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) station which will cut journey times, speeding passengers across the capital in minutes from 2018.
Walking along this section of the Thames Path we could see the free Woolwich Ferry which transports vehicles and foot passengers across the river. Near the ferry lies the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, one of only two pedestrian tunnels beneath the Thames. The tunnel features a Grade 2 Listed entrance at both sides.
The refurbished lifts are spacious, retaining elegant wood panelling having ample room for several bicycles. On reaching the other side, (North Woolwich) we continued along to the nearest DLR station (King Gerorge V) travelling along to its terminus at Bank, taking 25 minutes.
It was then time for a coffee near Monument followed by a short walk to the delightful Leadenhall Market. (See feature photo above). Located on Gracechurch Street in the City of London this Victorian covered market is a hidden gem. A market since the 14th century it has an old fashioned butchers, cheesemonger, fruit and vegetable stalls as well as some inviting delis, bars and cafes. It’s open 10.00 am until 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and we really like it.
Our next stop was to the nearby Royal Exchange, this magnificent building was founded in the 16th century as a centre of commerce, being occupied by the Lloyds Insurance Market for almost 150 years. Today it contains offices, luxury shops and restaurants, making a delightful lunch venue.
I’ve split today’s activities into two posts, part 2 follows.