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 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.
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.