Take a 360º virtual visit to the Old Royal Naval College in London!

Old Royal Naval College

Take a 360º virtual visit to the Old Royal Naval College in London!

For those of you who may we planning a short stay or your annual vacation or holiday in London, let the VR Tour Bus be your virtual tour guide to London!

With so much to see, so much to do and so many different places to visit in London, it’s not always easy to know where to go.

The VR Tour Bus 360º online virtual tour is one of the best ways to explore London’s top visitor attractions, and to discover some of the famous city views. With over thirty-six fabulous and photogenic places to discover and see on our virtual tour, it’s sure to be an enjoyable virtual journey! Just click the tour link, and let us whisk you away to this wondrous and historic city, all in the comfort of your own home.

The online “Demo” tour showcases four of London’s most popular tourist locations, it’s also completely free. If you decide to unlock the reamining locations, it’s just £9.99. A small price to pay for a couple of hours of armchair exploration!

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at one of these four locations … the Old Royal Naval College.

Panoramic photo of the Old Royal Naval College seen from across the River Thames in Greenwich London.

The Old Royal Naval College seen across the River Thames, from Island Gardens.

The Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC), is an architectural masterpiece that is situated along the lower banks of the River Thames at Greenwich. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ORNC is considered to add ‘outstanding cultural and universal value to the world.’ It is a jewel in the royal crown of maritime Greenwich, and has been described as the ‘finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles’.

Constructed to act as a Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, the Greenwich Hospital was approved by King William III in 1694, and built between 1696 and 1712. It was established upon the grounds of the Palace of Placentia, an English royal residence, which later became known as Greenwich Palace. This royal palace, was the birthplace of several Tudor monarchs including Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The original hospital was closed in 1869, but it was then repurposed as the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Today, it’s one of London’s leading cultural and historical sites, and home of the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music.

Canaletto painted this view across the River Thames towards the Old Royal Naval College in London.

London Greenwich Hospital, from the north bank by Canaletto (1753).

The Painted Hall was originally commissioned by Queen Mary II, and designed as a dining room for retired and convalescing naval officers. The elaborate, baroque interior was painted by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726. Thornhill was an English artist and architect, who specialised in classical paintings. He was also responsible for painting the interior of the great dome at St Paul’s Cathedral, Chatsworth House, Blenheim Palace and Wimpole Hall.

Self portrait of the main artist Sir James Thornhill on the wall in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.

Sir James Thornhill painted a portrait of himself in the wall frieze of the Upper Hall.

The Painted Hall ceilings and walls, depict over two-hundred figures, including kings and queens, as well as mythological creatures. The ornate, large scale paintings, tell the story of political change, cultural history and some of the great sea battles that forged the British Empire. It covers an area of over 3,700 square meters (40,000 square feet), and is considered by many to be Thornhill’s greatest achievement. The magnificent and fantastical depiction of historical and mythical scenes, has earned the Painted Hall the reputation of being the “Sistine Chapel” of Great Britain.

Interior photograph of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.

The Painted Hall seen from the grand entrance hall.

The Old Royal Naval College has featured in many leading Hollywood movies and television series. These include The Bounty, Patriot Games, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mummy Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider amongst many others.

For more information, please visit www.ornc.org.


Don’t forget to try the free tour by clicking this demo link! You can also view the free demo tour on the VR Tour Bus Apple app store or VR Tour Bus Android smartphone app, just search the App Stores for “VR Tour Bus”! For an even more immersive experience, why not buy the official VR Tour Bus Google Cardboard viewer – it’s available from Amazon UK.

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