What to do in Greenwich at night?
January 4, 2008 4:34 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and her girlfriends are going to see the Spice Girls at the O2 Arena in London tonight, and I've been invited to drive them there. I'm not going to the show, so what is there in the area that I can do between, say, 6pm and 10pm?

I would've liked to go to the National Maritime Museum but it's closed at that time of night, as most things seem to be.

Is it safe to go walking around the area with my camera?

I don't know anybody in London and there'll be nobody else with me. My fallback plan is to sit in the car and hum Spanish Flea to myself, so I'm pretty desperate.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's a cinema and a bunch of stuff there too. There's also another big cinema about a mile away next to Sainsbury's in Greenwich (just off the A102(M)). I would not walk around that particular part of Greenwich at night myself and I was born there. It's not particularly dangerous in London terms, but there aren't many people milling around that end of Greenwich at night and there are lots of exposed car parks, cycle paths, and so forth.

One thing you can do, however, is practice your night photography from the O2 arena locale itself. Canary Wharf and the whole cluster of skyscrapers is perfectly set for photography from that location.

You could also hop on the tube that stops right there (North Greenwich) and be at Canary Wharf in 5 minutes, the Tate Modern in 15 minutes, or the West End in 20 minutes. If you're into taking photos and art, then the Tate Modern is a really easy option. It is open until 10pm tonight, last admission is at 9.15pm.
posted by wackybrit at 4:46 AM on January 4, 2008

There are also some bridges that go over the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach road. You could get some great night road shots here, but again I'd be wary. I have been around that area quite a few times at night and it's all a bit dark and foreboding compared to other areas of London. Rather Ballardian, in fact.
posted by wackybrit at 4:47 AM on January 4, 2008

Friday night at Canary Wharf is actually fairly populous (as all the suits get out from work and go to one of the many waterfront bars), and is quite good for taking photos in a modern, brushed metal and plastic kind of way. But there's not much to really do besides drink and look in expensive shops...unless you like ice skating, because they have a rink up at the moment.
posted by Sparx at 5:14 AM on January 4, 2008

At the O2 Arena there are some bars and restaurants you could hang out at there is also a cinema so you could catch a movie. You could also take a walk along the Thames path down to Greenwich (west) or to the Thames barrier (east), both would offer good photo opps even at night, although it would be damn cold. It would be quite deserted but pretty safe I would think.

Word of warning - parking at the O2 is a bit of a nightmare, there is an O2 car park, but they charge £20 I think, which is a rip off. The only alternative is to park in the tube station car park.
posted by juniorbonner at 5:18 AM on January 4, 2008

Apart from the O2 shop, a smattering of awful-yet-packed-out bars and restaurants, and the Tutankhamun exhibition there's not a lot to do there. Bear in mind that the Dome will be rammed solid with Spice Girls fans. The architecture of the interior is actually fairly poor, in that as soon as the concert guests start arriving, the thoroughfare becomes almost impossible to negotiate. So if you're planning to see a movie, make sure you reserve it in advance (I believe the cinema belongs to the Vue chain), and if you want to eat or drink, leave plenty of time to do so.

As other posters have mentioned, parking is expensive - it's far more sensible for your girlfriend to travel on the ultra-quick Jubilee Line underground if possible. The other cinema, Sainsbury's, Pizza Hut and B&Q located a few minutes' walk away on Bugsy's Way are not tremendously exciting, so the only other alternative source of entertainment for you would be in Canary Wharf.
posted by skylar at 5:43 AM on January 4, 2008

Drop them off at the 02, then drive back to the centre of Greenwich, a couple of miles away and park. Lots to do there. You would be fine just walking around. You can also see a film at Greenwich Picturehouse. There are lots of places to eat and drink.
posted by cushie at 5:51 AM on January 4, 2008

There's really not much there. Greenwich town itself is lovely but will be all shut. I'd take wackybrit's advice and take yourself off into Central London. North Greenwich station car park has 511 spaces and costs £6 maximum, but I suspect that fills up quicker than the expensive arena car parks.
posted by corvine at 6:04 AM on January 4, 2008

You might find it easier to park at Canada Water - there's lots of free parking at the Surrey Quays shopping centre and from there it's a couple of stops to the O2 for your friends, and a few stops in the other direction into town for you.
posted by essexjan at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. I parked in the O2 car park which was indeed a rip off, but there were no trains back at the time we wanted to return (and even if we had been able to return earlier, for three people, the cost of petrol, parking and congestion charge is still £40-50 cheaper than the train; so sad that it works out that way really). Then I went to see the crack at the Tate Modern! I know it's just a hole in the floor, but I really enjoyed it for some reason, as well as all the other cool things on display.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 1:48 AM on January 7, 2008

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