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.
Ahhhh – but wait for 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 on 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 another 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 a 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 the 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 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.
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!
Video of our free visit to the Prime Meridian:
Here’s a park map with the Meridian Line on it.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
By Dominique July 21, 2011 - 10:31 am
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!
By Dalene July 21, 2011 - 2:50 pm
This is awesome! You will be seeing the same picture of me, shortly! Thanks for the tip! 🙂
By chris July 21, 2011 - 3:48 pm
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!
By Sherry July 21, 2011 - 8:20 pm
Thanks for educating me and giving me more work!! Sounds like a great adventure!
By Linda July 21, 2011 - 6:10 pm
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!
By Erik July 21, 2011 - 7:01 pm
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!
By Mark H July 21, 2011 - 7:26 pm
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.
By Barbara Weibel July 22, 2011 - 2:21 am
WAY COOL! I love getting around the man.
By Lori - The Unframed World July 25, 2011 - 5:59 am
I liked your video =). Very fun!
By Gray July 26, 2011 - 9:22 pm
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.
By robby October 4, 2015 - 2:19 pm
That’s actually not how it works. You are at the longitudinal mark. You can say you are in two different hemispheres you aren’t in two different days. That’s the international date line on the other side of the globe!
By Brewster August 3, 2011 - 6:17 am
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.
By RNGnyc August 29, 2011 - 4:45 pm
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We went to this exact spot today and it was heavenly. Great way to see an awesome sight!
By Sherry August 30, 2011 - 12:31 am
So glad you found the ‘secret spot’! Enjoy!
By Joey June 9, 2012 - 12:39 pm
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!
By Doris Palmer September 22, 2012 - 12:35 pm
The Prime Meridian line is available for photographs free at Greenwich just outside the Observatory grounds!
By Sofie October 24, 2012 - 8:47 am
Indeed it is. I’ve been there last month and also took a picture just outside the Observatory grounds!
By Howard November 7, 2012 - 6:18 pm
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
By sheryn April 9, 2015 - 8:53 pm
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.
By Christine April 10, 2015 - 9:48 pm
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!
By Ali June 19, 2015 - 12:28 pm
Thank you so much for sharing! The line was huge, but I searched on-line and your blog came up, so I was able to see this on my visit to Greenwich. Cheers! 🙂
By Sherry June 22, 2015 - 10:53 am
Ali – Glad you went and checked it out!! A fun little travel stop!
By Amanda September 25, 2015 - 11:56 am
I am also a perpetual traveler. In May I stood on the date line in Taveuni Fiji. It was a line with a sign by the local football field and very low key. As I will be in London later this month I thought it would be cool to stand on the Prime Meridian. I had the same reaction as you $16!!! because they have bothered to draw in a line? Thank you for posting an alternative! I am excited to hunt this down. I am looking forward to spending the money on a more worthwhile endeavorer like a drinking pints in a pub while watching World Cup Rugby.
By Sherry September 25, 2015 - 12:28 pm
So happy that this was useful for you and your quest to visit the Prime Meridian on a budget! 🙂 Enjoy the Rugby and your pint!
By Ivana January 12, 2016 - 7:25 pm
Thanks for this post! I’m heading to London in a month and I want a picture at the meridian and don’t want to pay 10 pounds for it! haha Cheers!
By Sherry January 14, 2016 - 9:56 am
Great! I hope you get the shot you want!! Good luck.
By Suma September 14, 2016 - 3:11 am
Thanks so much for your post. It helped me get a photograph of prime meridian without really paying for it. I found the exact spot that you have mentioned. I was so thrilled!!
By Sherry September 18, 2016 - 6:38 pm
Super! Glad it worked for you!
By Sherri Smith January 8, 2017 - 5:28 pm
I was going to download the park map but it doesn’t work. Where can I get it? Thanks
By Sherry January 8, 2017 - 6:27 pm
Thanks for letting me know! I just updated it with a new map and link. Thanks and enjoy your time in Greenwich!
By Nick June 22, 2017 - 12:17 pm
I used Google view and moved all along Park Vista Street and could nut see the point you mentioned not even the houses in your photograph?
By Nick June 22, 2017 - 12:30 pm
Sherry….with a bit more work I have discovered it , we will visit from Moscow Russia on Sunday and will let you know how we got on .
By Sherry June 22, 2017 - 12:48 pm
That’s awesome Nick! I actually need to do a little update to that post – so if you find anything useful that I should include – please let me know! Enjoy the trip!
By Alan September 10, 2018 - 7:22 am
Thank you so, so much!
My mum is in London this week and I want us to do as much as possible away from what she’s done before –the usual Tower Bridge, Piccadilly, Buckingham Palace, etc…– but I didn’t want to pay the £10 fee either!
Thanks so much!
By Sherry September 12, 2018 - 2:49 pm
Glad it was useful! Have a great trip!
By Alan Audrain September 12, 2018 - 3:58 pm
Once again, thanks so much. We went this morning, it was kinda weird to see it after your video, kind of like when you go to the scene of a film ? Found it very easily and I wonder why people still go to the observatory!
By Azie January 12, 2019 - 5:42 am
Thanks to your blog, we found it last Wednesday! When we were busy taking photos and videos, there was a small family, walked briskly, across us. He husband said to his wife, oh there is a prime meridian line here. His wife was surprised and shouted to us (while walking away from us), thanks for pointing us to the prime meridian. We don’t know that, we live here. They were too far if we also want to shout to them, thanks to this blog for pointing it to us. Thank you again. It was a nice experience for us too 🙂
By Sherry January 12, 2019 - 10:10 pm
I’m so happy to hear that it worked out for you!
By joanne fleming September 16, 2019 - 8:35 am
I’m from Greenwich. You cn straddle the Prime Meridian for free just outside the Observtory. Face the GMT clock and go left through a turnstile.
By joanne fleming September 17, 2019 - 5:25 am
Just to correct my earlier post. You have to face the GMT clock outside the Observatory and go right and through the turnstile to take your free photo of you straddling the Prime Meridian. Sorry!
By Subham June 14, 2022 - 6:17 am
Hey! Thank you so much! Just checked it out!