Overview

Commissioned in 1616 by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, the Queen's House is the first purely classical building in Britain and represents a turning point in english architecture.

Designed by Inigo Jones as a private royal retreat, it was completed in 1638 after Charles I had given the House to his queen, Henrietta Maria.

Part of the National Maritime Museum, the House now serves as the principal showcase for the Museum's superb art collection, which includes world-class marine paintings and the largest national collection of British portraits outside the National Portrait Gallery.

The Queen's House is also a superb setting for special events, in keeping with its original role as a 'House of Delights'. 


Today
Today’s opening hours

Year round, every day, 10am to 5pm.

Closed 24 to 26 December.

Opening
Opening

2020

Year round, every day, 10am to 5pm.

Closed 24 to 26 December.

Find Us
Find us

Enjoy your trip to Greenwich by rail or river, it takes no time at all. We're just 8 minutes from central London by rail, 20 minutes by DLR, or make the journey part of the fun and arrive by boat. 

For Greenwich town centre, the nearest stations are:

  • Cutty Sark DLR
  • Greenwich rail station and Maze Hill rail station
  • Greenwich Pier

Read more

Parking

  • Parking is limited in Greenwich, contact if you require accessible parking.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Access statement available
  • Hearing loops
  • Accessible toilets
  • Brail leaflets and signage
  • Large font signs and leaflets

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Today
Today’s opening hours

Year round, every day, 10am to 5pm.

Closed 24 to 26 December.

Opening
Opening

2020

Year round, every day, 10am to 5pm.

Closed 24 to 26 December.

Find Us
Find us

Enjoy your trip to Greenwich by rail or river, it takes no time at all. We're just 8 minutes from central London by rail, 20 minutes by DLR, or make the journey part of the fun and arrive by boat. 

For Greenwich town centre, the nearest stations are:

  • Cutty Sark DLR
  • Greenwich rail station and Maze Hill rail station
  • Greenwich Pier

Read more

Parking

  • Parking is limited in Greenwich, contact if you require accessible parking.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Access statement available
  • Hearing loops
  • Accessible toilets
  • Brail leaflets and signage
  • Large font signs and leaflets

Other opening

Guided tours

Come on a guided tour and discover the art, architecture and royal history that make the Queen's House an unmissable royal attraction.

The tour will:

  • Discuss the history of Greenwich from a royal residence to today.  
  • Guide you through the artwork on view, including works by Willem Van De Velde (both the Elder and Younger), J.M.W. Turner, Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth and the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. 

Commissioned by Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, and built between 1616 and 1638, the Queen's House was the first building in Britain built in the classical style as well as the only part of the royal palace complex at Greenwich still standing. The house was recently restored in time for its 400th anniversary with the addition of a major commission by the Turner Prize- winning artist Richard Wright.

Tours subject to staff availability.

 


The Queen's House's history and features

Queen's House is a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 in Greenwich, a few miles down-river from the then City of London and now a London Borough. Its architect was Inigo Jones, for whom it was a crucial early commission, for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I. Queen's House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in the country. It was Jones's first major commission after returning from his 1613–1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance, and Palladian architecture in Italy.

Some earlier English buildings, such as Longleat and Burghley House (also members of Historic Houses), had made borrowings from the classical style, but these were restricted to small details not applied in a systematic way, or the building may be a mix of different styles. Furthermore, the form of these buildings was not informed by an understanding of classical precedents. Queen's House would have appeared revolutionary to English eyes in its day. Jones is credited with the introduction of Palladianism with the construction of Queen's House, although it diverges from the mathematical constraints of Palladio, and it is likely that the immediate precedent for the H-shaped plan straddling a road is the Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano by Giuliano da Sangallo.

Today the building is both a Grade I listed building and a scheduled ancient monument, a status that includes the 115-foot-wide (35 m), axial vista to the River Thames. The house now forms part of the National Maritime Museum and is used to display parts of their substantial collection of maritime paintings and portraits. It was used as a VIP centre during the 2012 Olympic Games.


Fun Facts

The iconic Armada portrait of Elizabeth I, housed inside The Queen's House, commemorates the most famous conflict of her reign – the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588.

The painting is on permanent public display in the Queen's Presence Chamber in the Queen’s House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace, which was the birthplace of Elizabeth I. 

  • In 2016, the Armada Portrait was acquired for the nation following a joint appeal with the Art Fund.
  • Our conservators then undertook essential work to preserve the portrait's fragile painted surfaces which are over 400 years old. See the result and discover more about the conservation story.
  • The Armada Portrait summarizes the hopes and aspirations of the state as an imperial power, at a watershed moment in history following the British defeat of the Spanish Armada. What were the causes of the Spanish Armada?
  • The portrait was also designed to be a spectacle of female power and majesty, carefully calculated to inspire awe and wonder.
  • Like many Tudor portraits, it is packed with meaning and metaphorFind out more about the painting’s symbolism.