Friday, 10 May 2013

Discover Woolwich

My first blog post will focus on Woolwich, a district I have lived in with my partner since 2009.

Woolwich is a leafy district in South East London and is located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

The district has an interesting history and has been inhabited since the Iron Age. The name Woolwich derives from the Anglo-Saxon name, "trading place for wool". It remained a small village until it started to become a leading military and industrial town. It was home to the Woolwich Dockyard which was founded in 1512 and the Royal Arsenal which dates further back to 1471.

Woolwich (Beresford Square) circa 1890

In 1889, Woolwich became part of London with the formation of London County Council. The bingo hall which is a short walk away from my apartment and can be seen from my balcony once hosted Buddy Holly in 1958 and Roy Orbison and The Beatles in 1963.

On the 13th November 1974, McDonald's opened its first UK branch in the town centre. Woolwich was chosen because it was considered to be a representative English town at the time.

Woolwich Town Centre

Set against the background of the historic Royal Arsenal, Beresford Square and Plumstead Road markets offer everything from knick-knacks to flowers and fruit & vegetables. Closed on Sundays. 

Woolwich Market (Beresford Square)

Woolwich is notable as a river crossing point. The Woolwich ferry transports vehicles and passengers across the Thames River every 15-20 minutes. There is also the lesser-known Woolwich foot tunnel under the river.  Foot passengers can travel on the ferry for free.

Woolwich Ferry

Visitor Attractions:

- Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum (Royal Arsenal).
- Greenwich Heritage Centre (Royal Arsenal).
- Royal Victoria Dock (Connaught Road).
- Thames Barrier Visitors' Centre (Unity Way).

Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the Thames River (Thames River Walk) from Woolwich to Crayford Ness. The scenery is beautiful and visitors will get to see the old and derelict piers. Some date back to the 1800's. Anyone attempting to walk the full route should wear comfortable shoes and carry water. It's a long walk and there are no shops or watering holes nearby.

Fast Food Eateries:

Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Nando's & Subway.

If you're looking for great pub food which is surprisingly cheap, I would recommend The Great Harry on Wellington Street. The pub was burnt to the ground during the Woolwich riots in August 2011.
The Great Harry was rebuilt and opened on 10 July 2012. This is my favourite watering hole!

The Great Harry's Mexican Chicken Burger


  1. A great mix of history and modernism.

  2. What a wonderful district of London to visit! Perfect for history buffs! We loved, loved, loved the Woolwich Market at Beresford Square! Not only did we load up on fresh fruit and veggies, but we bought lots of souvenirs and gifts for home! Do not miss a Market day!

  3. This looks like a wonderful place to visit if you are into the history of the land. I, having knowledge in Medieval Literature, know a lot about the Anglo-Saxon time period and would find myself enthralled in the (rich) history of Woolwich. So being able to actually experience the history through some of the attractions that you have listed would be great for any tourist interested in learning about English history.

    Furthermore, it sounds like the town has some gorgeous scenery that dates back several hundreds of years. I would love to be able to stand and watch the water lap against those piers while eating food that came from the local market. This definitely sounds like a destination that is perfect for nature and history goers.

    Talk about being rich in culture all the while having some modern aspects built in.

  4. London has always been a great attraction for everyone. I must say thanks for sharing your district with us your readers. I love the pictures of the district that you have provided. I have been in and out of London on many occasions, and I have to admit that I would love to go on that leisurely walk you so succinctly mentioned. This is going on my bucket list under historical places.