The Greenwich meridian is marked by a timeball tower, like the one at Deal. While the one at Deal is black, this is red - nice!
The phrase "The day starts and ends here" amused me, although places in France, Spain and a number of African countries, not to mention Catford, can make a similar claim to be on the meridian. After some thought, however, (the brain works slowly these days) I realised that the claim is wrong....the day starts and ends on the other side of the world, as the celebrations of the new millennium made clear.
At the bottom of the hill is a fine collection of buildings making up the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and now mostly occupied by the University of Greenwich. One of two main domes has a clock-face showing the wind direction, presumably moved by the weather-vane above it.
Between the Royal Observatory and the Hospital is the Queen's House, built to compliment the Palace of Placentia which stood on the site of the Hospital, and which was the main palace of monarchs including Henry VIII and Elizabeth, both of whom were born there.
The Queen's House is by Inigo Jones for Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I.
As the buildings have recently been relinquished by the Navy, many are now open to the public, and, with the Royal Observatory and Maritime Museum, provides a fascinating area of museums and art galleries - all free. The extensive parkland gives a great sense of space, while the town is attractive and interesting too. If you find London oppressive, the World Heritage Site of Greenwich is a fine alternative.
Across the river, of course, stands Canary Wharf. When the first tower was built, it was stunning, like a building places there by a God. Now it looks rather cluttered.
Which is the taller - the Natwest Tower (alright, number 42) or the gherkin? A clue is that the latter was built later.