Christmas opening times

Over the Christmas period the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark and Queen's House will be open as usual. We are closed to the public from 24-26 December. Plan your next visit

Explore the changing world of optical aids from telescopes and beyond. But beware – you may have to look hard!

What has a jug with a likeness of Nelson got to do with a theodolite such as you would see a civil engineer peering into on a building site? From sextants and telescopes to binoculars, come on a trail and find out what people peer through and why.

Portable reflector telescope

This is a portable Gregorian (reflecting) telescope.


A theodolite is a surveying instrument with a telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles.