Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College


The Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College is one place you must visit when you are in London, the amazing architecture and the beautiful painted ceiling will take your breath away. It certainly will on a cold dreary day as when I went on a tour organised by the Old Royal Naval College.

After 2 years of restoration, the painted hall is back to its magnificent splendour and is now open! The hall which is also known as “Sistine Chapel of the UK” is 4000 square feet and cost £8.5million to restore. With £3.1million coming from Heritage Lottery funding and the rest from many donors. It was painted by Sir James Thornhill in 1707 and took 19 years to be completed, as a result, he was the first artist to be knighted.

Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College

The restoration project was taken on by Hugh Broughton Architects, they have reversed years of decay and brought it back to its former glory for future generations. Six people have done the painstaking work which equates to over 23,000 hours!

Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College

The Painted Hall building was designed by Christopher Wren as part of the Royal Naval College. The Hall was originally a ceremonial dining room for the Royal Hospital for Seaman. It was finished in 1705 and took 2 years to be completed.

We are delighted to have already welcomed so many people to the beautifully conserved Painted Hall and are overwhelmed with the fantastic response we have received so far. The Painted Hall project is the template for our future ambitions for the Old Royal Naval College. It strikes the perfect balance of conservation excellence and audience inclusion. We have put visitors and local communities at the heart of our thinking throughout this project. With the new multimedia guides, tours and family activities there is something for everyone.
Angela McConville, Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College

You can now visit the restored part of the old naval college plus several new parts which were uncovered during the restoration. One of these is a room which held bees over the winter, you can view this from the viewing window in the Welcome Centre. There are a new cafe and gift shop below the painted hall, it is now a ticket entrance but the ticket can be used to visit again any time during the year. From April, the site will introduce a brand-new initiative to ensure the Painted Hall remains as accessible to as many people as possible with its ‘Pay as you wish’ every first Wednesday of each month. Find out more information on the link below.

Painted Hall – Welcome Centre

There are guided talks in the Painted Hall, a multimedia guide, handling objects, and a kids trail. You can now catch a glimpse of the foundations of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s former royal home which was uncovered in the Undercroft as part of the renovation works.

Photographs of the Painted Hall

Painted Hall entrance at the Old Royal Naval College

Painted Hall – beautiful bound information packs.

Original wood benches restored

Painted Hall multimedia tours

Many thanks to IgersLondon and the Old Royal Naval College for organising our visit. You can see more of my photographs on the Flickr link below or on Instagram. If you have visited leave a comment below, thanks for reading.


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