Flamsteed House and astronomers' apartments
Entrance charges apply to Flamsteed House and the Meridian Courtyard (ages 5 and under go free). An adult day ticket costs £7 (£5 concessions). You can save money with a 'Big Ticket' (combined Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark and Visions of the Universe admission) or an 'Astro Ticket' (Royal Observatory admission + Planetarium ticket). See times and admissions for details.
See also floor plans.
Temporary closure of Astronomer Royal's Apartments: The Astronomer Royal’s Apartments in Flamsteed House will be closed for refurbishment from 17 June until 5 July inclusive. The Time Galleries, featuring the Harrison marine timekeepers, and the Christopher Wren-designed Octagon Room will remain open during this time.
Flamsteed House is the original Observatory building at Greenwich, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 on the instructions of King Charles II.
The Observatory was built on the site of Greenwich Castle, which originally belonged to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (brother of Henry V) and was often used as a guest house and hunting lodge by Henry VIII.
Astronomers Royal's apartments
Take a fascinating glimpse into the apartments where the Astronomers Royal and their families lived and worked.
The role of Astronomer Royal was created by Charles II in 1675, when he appointed John Flamsteed to draw up a map of the heavens with enough accuracy to be reliable for navigation. Since Flamsteed there have been 14 Astronomers Royal, including Edmond Halley and Nevil Maskelyne, each of whom have contributed to the world’s understanding of the stars, time and space.
The beautiful Octagon Room was designed to observe celestial events including eclipses, comets and planetary movements. However, the positioning of Flamsteed House meant that the original purpose of the Observatory could not be fulfilled from the Octagon Room. With big windows, the room was perfect for watching the sky, but not ideal for positional observations, because none of the walls were aligned with a meridian. Most important positional observations were actually made in a small 'shed' in the Observatory gardens, though King Charles II remained blissfully unaware of this.
The Octagon Room is open to the public and now houses a selection of timepieces and astronomical instruments.
The Time Ball
On top of Flamsteed House is one of the world's earliest public time signals, the bright red Time Ball.
Flamsteed House and the Octagon Room can be hired for corporate evening events.