the queens house greenwich london se10 feature image

Explore The Queen’s House Greenwich London SE10

Recently, I explored the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London SE10. The Queen’s House is an architectural gem built from 1616 to 1635 on the old Greenwich Palace grounds. Inigo Jones, influenced by Italian Palladianism, built the house, first for Queen Anne of Denmark and then for Queen Henrietta Maria. It evolved from a royal residence to the Royal Hospital for Seamen. It is now a Grade I listed monument and part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, a UNESCO site including the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark.  It holds 450 maritime artworks. If you’re a fan of naval history, you’re looking for free art galleries in London or the best things to do in Greenwich, The Queen’s House beckons.

the queens house gallery

The Queen’s House Highlights

the queens house exterior

Pause to take in the grand architecture before entering. Inspired by Italian Renaissance and Palladian styles, Inigo Jones began the house in 1616 for Anne of Denmark and finished it in 1635 for Queen Henrietta Maria. The design, known for its unique central bridge and white façade, breaks from the typical Tudor style. Jones’s design incorporates elements like the Corinthian Order from his “Roman Sketchbook.”

the queens house great hall

Inside, The Queen’s House is famed for the Great Hall and the Tulip Staircase. The Great Hall, the house’s focal point, features a gallery above black and white marble floors. Its architecture is striking, forming a perfect 40-foot cube. Following Palladio’s principles, Jones applied mathematical proportions to the design.

the queens house the tulip stairs

The Tulip Staircase stands out as Britain’s first self-supporting spiral stair, a novel design for its time. Crafted from decorative iron, it uses cantilevered steps by mason Nicholas Stone. The steps interlock ingeniously, creating a floating effect. Inspired by Palladio’s Carita Monastery, Jones designed the staircase to draw light from a glass lantern above. Stone also installed the matching black and white floor, reflecting the ceiling’s pattern.

the queens house portraits

The Queen’s House showcases over 450 works of art displayed in stunning rooms. As you wander through, you can admire works of art, including tapestries, paintings and sculptures. Here are a few to look out for:

the queens house the van de veldes exhibition

“The Tides of History” at the Queen’s House marks 350 years since the Van de Veldes, father-and-son Dutch maritime artists, came to London in 1672-73. King Charles II provided them with a studio where they created royal commissions and influenced British naval art. The exhibition, “The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea,” celebrates their legacy.

the burning of the royal james at the battle of solebay tapestry

The 300-year-old Solebay tapestry illustrates the Battle of Solebay’s peak on May 28, 1672. It depicts a Dutch fleet clashing with English and French naval forces. It was part of a series commissioned by King Charles II, created from ‘cartoons’ by marine artist Willem van de Velde the Elder. He sketched the scenes firsthand from his studio in the Queen’s House.

the queens house feeling blue tapestry

A contemporary art piece, Feeling Blue, by artist Alberta Whittle and Dovecot Studios, is stunning. It’s now displayed in the Queen’s Presence Chamber of the Queen’s House opposite the Armada Portrait. It integrates over 150 colour shades and diverse materials like rope, pearls, cotton and linen, drawing from themes of migration, melancholy and mythology. The idea is that it reflects on the dialogue between museum collections and their viewers.

olaudah equiano african slave author abolitionist statue

The sculpture by Christy Symington represents Olaudah Equiano, a notable abolitionist. Equiano, originally from present-day southeast Nigeria, was enslaved at about 11 years old. He later purchased his freedom and wrote an autobiography, becoming one of Europe’s first Black African authors. The artwork features broken chains, symbolising his fight against slavery, and the outline of his shoulders suggests the shape of Africa.

armada portrait of elizabeth I painting

The Armada Portrait immortalises Queen Elizabeth I, adorned in pearls and posed with a globe, as an icon of sovereign might. Created by an anonymous artist, it celebrates the 1588 Spanish Armada’s defeat, marking Elizabeth’s most notable military triumph. The painting juxtaposes scenes of the approaching Armada and its subsequent destruction at sea. These are some of the amazing pieces of art you will see as you wander through the Queen’s House.

Watch My Queen’s House Video

Helpful Information About The Queen’s House

the queens house paintings

For more information, check out the Royal Museums Greenwich website. The Queen’s House address is Romney Road, London SE10 9NF, in the National Maritime Museum Gardens. Maze Hill Train Station, Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway and Greenwich Station are the closest. Opening times are 10 am until 5 pm daily. Although free entry, booking your ticket online in advance is advisable. There is a small gift shop should you wish to purchase a memento of your visit.

the queens house gift shop

If you want to explore the area, you may find these articles of interest:

Best Things To Do In Greenwich:

Greenwich Day Itinerary

Greenwich Helpful Area Guide

Ten Things To Do In Greenwich

North Greenwich To Greenwich Thames Path Walk

National Maritime Museum Greenwich

The Royal Observatory Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Best Places To Eat In Greenwich:

Goddards At Greenwich Pie And Mash

Breakfast At Peyton And Byrne Bakery Greenwich

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.