What is it?
It’s a big tunnel over the Thames connecting Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. ‘Why would we visit that?’ I hear you cry. Children love tunnels and it’s a great way to get across one part of the river Thames. Find the southern entrance by the restored clipper ship Cutty Sark, while the Northern entrance is by a small area of park.
Age suitable for
Best for: All ages, even babies as it’s easy to push a buggy along the flat concrete floor. Just make sure the lifts are working at either end.
What’s on offer
This foot tunnel is over 110 years old. It was originally created so that the residents of South London could commute to work on the docks of the Isle of Dogs, but now it’s a piece of Victorian history running under the river.
It was originally opened in 1902, offering an alternative to the ferry. It’s now open 24 hours a day. Greenwich Foot Tunnel was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and is over 1200ft long (about 0.23 miles) and runs 50ft under the river. It takes around 5 – 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.
The tunnel provides pedestrian access between the Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich and Island Gardens, across the river Thames. At Island Gardens, you can enjoy the incredible views of Maritime Greenwich over a nice cup of tea at a riverside café.
There are two lifts, so it’s buggy friendly – unless, argghh, the lifts aren’t working.
Walking under the river Thames is pretty cool and will certainly impress young children. Unlike everywhere else in London, on a hot day the tunnel manages to stay a bearable temperature.
Play a game where your children guess the number of tiles used in the tunnel (Answer – 200,000).
What to watch out for
– On a busy day, the lifts might be busy too.
– If the lifts break, you will be required to walk down and then up approximately 80 steps. This could be challenging for some families with young children.
– Watch out for cyclists when you’re walking through the tunnel. They’re supposed to dismount and wheel their bikes, but a lot of them don’t.
– Impress your children with this little fun fact. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel cost £127,000 to build in 1902. That’s the equivalent of around £50 million today.
Make your trip through the tunnel a small part of a big day out in Greenwich, where you can visit the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory or Greenwich Park.