Travel Advice, United Kingdom

How to Photograph the Prime Meridian Line for Free

19 Comments 21 July 2011

Prime meridian greenwich

Zero Longitude aka Greenwich Mean Time

I was excited when my friend Vera invited me to Greenwich for a rainy Sunday afternoon. This was my chance to complete an important step in my global travels. I had already stood on the equator in Kenya when I began my travels in 2006, and now I would have the opportunity to straddle the Meridian line in Greenwich; I would experience zero longitude!

I hopped online to research the best place to get a picture of the famous line where time seems to stand still. Google delivered my answer swiftly. To get a picture straddling the Meridian line you would need to go to the Royal Observatory and head out in the courtyard where the center of world time is marked with a line and a monument. Perfect – mission accomplished.

Royal Observatory Greenwich

People queuing up to get their expensive picture taken at the Observatory

Ahhhh – but wait a second. On my Google search results another headline caught my eye.

“Greenwich Meridian Line Visitors to Pay £10 – Travel News”


My mood dropped as I read the article. As of March 2011, the Observatory started charging 10 pounds to get into the facility, which was the only way you could really take a picture of your feet in two different days. I was quite upset about the whole thing. 10 pounds is 16 US dollars – all for a picture. Sure you could go visit other part of the observatory, but I didn’t really have the time or desire to do that, I simply wanted a picture; and I know I’m not alone in that desire. This new charge comes at a very convenient time as the 2012 Olympics arrive in London and specifically Greenwich in a year’s time. Sounds like the Prime Meridian Line will be prime source of income.

Being a budget traveler, I drew the line at paying $16 for a picture. Hell, the line isn’t just in the observatory, it runs from the North to South pole…I didn’t need the crummy observatory for my picture – I was now on a mission to find a way to get a picture of me on the line for free.

I continued to research online searching and studying maps of the line and where it ran through the city of Greenwich and if there were any markings. The search proved harder than I initially thought. However, I did come across a picture of a street with little dots on it representing the Prime Meridian and it had the title Park Vista. I found the street on the map and was on a mission.

Where to find the Meridian Line outside the Observatory

As soon as I arrived in Greenwich, Vera and I set out to find Park Vista. The location I had identified was just north of the children’s boating pond in the Greenwich Park. Look at a park map and go to Park Row Gate, there you’ll see the beginning of Park Vista street. Walk east on the street and watch the road carefully. You’ll come to some raised metal ‘dots’ in the road – those represent the Meridian! If you look south, you’ll see a little plaque that identified the meridian line too.

Mission Accomplished!

So, if you are heading to Greenwich for the 2012 Olympics in London and want to see and photograph the Prime Meridian, then be sure to save money and go to Park Vista and have your own personal photo shoot for FREE. That’s exactly what Vera and I did…enjoy!

Prime meridian

Me in both Sunday and Saturday...

Prime Meridian greenwich

Vera balancing her time


Video of our free visit to the Prime Meridian:

Download a park map with the Meridian Line on it.

Your Comments

19 Comments so far

  1. Dominique says:

    Thanks for the post. I want to do that when I’m in London but don’t want to have to pay the entrance fee either. Yeah!

  2. Dalene says:

    This is awesome! You will be seeing the same picture of me, shortly! Thanks for the tip! :)

  3. chris says:

    sorry to disappoint but the prime meridian is not the same as the international date line. you can’t be in saturday and sunday at the same time in the UK. The date line is 180 degrees away in the pacific…a great next project for you!

  4. Linda says:

    Isn’t Greenwich lovely! I lived in England for forty years and had never been there until last year, when my son ran the London Marathon, which begins there. We went the previous day to suss it all out, and were blown away by all the spring blossoms. I have never, ever seen anything like them. That was in April, and I want to go back for each season to see the changes. I also decided that if I win the lottery that’s where I will live!

  5. Erik says:

    I’m a geography geek, so I enjoyed my trip to Greenwich many years ago (when the price wasn’t so exorbitant).

    This is a really helpful post for people who don’t want to spend that, but still want a piece of geographical geekdom! Thanks!

  6. Mark H says:

    Charging ten pounds for access to the Greenwich Mean Time line is highway robbery. The area does have great scientific history around astronomy and time.

  7. WAY COOL! I love getting around the man.

  8. I liked your video =). Very fun!

  9. Gray says:

    Cool! Can you imagine being a kid growing up there? I’d be jumping back and forth over the line all the time! “It’s Tuesday now. It’s Wednesday now. It’s Tuesday. No it’s Wednesday.” :-) I LOVE how you found a way around the fee.

  10. Brewster says:

    I live in London and am pleased that you’ve found a way of ducking the £10 charge.

    It’s all part of rip-off Britain.

  11. RNGnyc says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    We went to this exact spot today and it was heavenly. Great way to see an awesome sight!

  12. Joey says:

    Thank you for this!!! I’ll be going to London in August (yep as a spectator for the olympics) but my budget is already full as it is… but thanks to your post I can finally get to stand on the Prime Meridian!!! :o) Thank you! I’ll be on the lookout for Park Vista!

  13. Doris Palmer says:

    The Prime Meridian line is available for photographs free at Greenwich just outside the Observatory grounds!

  14. Sofie says:

    Indeed it is. I’ve been there last month and also took a picture just outside the Observatory grounds!

  15. Howard says:

    There is a public footpath just in front and to the north of the Royal Observatory.
    On the wall is a marker showing the line.
    At night a green laser is projected from the Observatory along the meridian

  16. sheryn says:

    Thank you for this tip. as a budget traveller i felt the same when visiting last year 10 pound is 20 dollars AUD.
    thanks to you though i will be getting my time warp pic this year on a trip with my mum as i drag her through the under river tunnel too.

  17. Christine says:

    At the Prime Meridian you can stand in both eastern and western hemispheres by straddling the line. The Prime Meridian is ZERO degrees longitude. The International Date Line on the opposite side of the Earth is where you can cross from, say, Tuesday to Wednesday, and back if you like!

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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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