May Day in Greenwich

On Friday, I donned my flowery skirt and went down to Greenwich to enjoy some May Day celebrations.

I met up with a friend at Surrey Quays station, and we got the bus to Greenwich. I spotted this lovely bird mural on the way to the bus stop, does anyone know who painted it?

mural in Surrey Quays // a raised bridge

While we were on the bus, we had to stop for the road over Deptford Creek to raise, which was a surprise to me as I had no idea the road did that!

Once we were in Greenwich we took a wander through the Old Royal Naval College. Sounds from a music class spilled from an open window, and we stopped to admire the spectacle of the Painted Hall.

Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

We wandered along towards the old Edwardian power station down by the river, past the Trinity Hospital Almshouses, and around the old wall with the story embedded into it. (We were curious about the purpose of that little hexagonal tower at the back of the power station, with the little windows at the top, any ideas what it was for?).

Greenwich Power Station

At the Star & Garter we stopped for a drink, and waited for the revellers from the Jack in the Green parade. It’s one of the few unspoiled pubs in that area, with wooden beams, a dartboard, racing on the telly and a brassy blonde barmaid who calls you “luv”. Just my kind of pub.

Jack in the Green at the Star & Garter

Jack in the Green at the Star & Garter

When the parade arrived we went outside where one of the revellers was telling a tall tale of the Leviathan which seemed to involve a lot of roaring. We hung around enjoying the sunshine and admiring the costumes, before setting off along our way again.

spring flowers and bright colours

We wandered towards Greenwich Park, where we stopped to admire the view from quiet One Tree Hill where we were more-or-less alone, and again outside the Observatory, which of course was full of tourists. We relaxed for a while inside the tiny Observatory Gardens, which always feels surprisingly secluded, despite being so close to where so many tourists congregate (and long may it stay that way!)

around Greenwich Park

We heard the drums from the Jack in the Green parade as we headed down through the park and side streets towards the Richard I pub, another stop on the parade route.

wisteria galore

We stopped here for a drink and some (overpriced) chips, and bitched about the refurbishment of what was formerly just a nice boozer rather than a posh gastropub with shabby chic pretensions.

Jack in the Green at the Richard I

By the time we’d finished our drinks, it was getting towards evening, so we walked over to Greenwich Station and headed homewards.

You can learn more about the Jack in the Green May Day traditions here and check out the Company of the Green Man‘s picture archive here.

17 Comments to “May Day in Greenwich”

  1. That looks like an absolutely lovely day.

    I miss both of you so much. <3

  2. Wow, some beautiful architecture on display here. I love the Old Royal Naval College. It’s always a shame about tourists. They spoil everything! Looks like my kind of day x

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed that virtual trip, Anna. Thank you.

  4. Love the hexagonal tower, whatever it is for :-) Very pretty pictures!

  5. Sounds like a perfect day to me! Love your photography, it tells stories all in itself. How wild that the road can rise! The tower reminds me of a water tower of a similar period in one Seattle park, also with small windows on top – you can climb a narrow staircase and see the city and vicinity all around you… I once participated in May Day celebration at the historic festival called Camlann (northeast of Seattle), we danced around the Maypole, it was sweet! I’ll have to learn about Jack. :)

    Your skirt is lovely, such vivid colors! Loved your shoes. Would love to see the rest of the outfit. :)

    • I was just wearing a black top — not very exciting, but the skirt was the main feature :)

      I’ve actually heard of the Leshy, but I don’t know much about him. Thanks for the link.

  6. The Russian equivalent of Jack-in-the-Green would be Leshy (Woodsy Man) – there is a wonderful article in the Russian language in Wiki, but only a short one in English. He was always one of my favorite mythological creatures. :)

  7. We are off to Greenwich next weekend, it’s the first time I’ve ever been so I’m really looking forward to it.

  8. That looks like a really good day. I haven’t been to Greenwich for donkey’s years. Fabulous photos, Anna. You should come to Sheffield, everyone will call you love! xxx

  9. Looks like a great May day. :)

  10. I’m loving this! how blooming wonderful! I have never been to a Mayday celebration and I think it’s such a shame we have nothing here (at least to my knowledge) I would totally be there, Iv’e really enjoyed this, I’m off to read your links now x x x

  11. What a great descriptive post – makes me feel like I’m there! This May Day tradition is completely new to me – it looks like great fun.

  12. Thanks for the virtual tour. I really must get back to Greenwich this summer. It’s been too long!

  13. Greenwich is lovely and I really enjoyed your photo tour. All those lovely doors and that wisteria is glorious. Did it smell nice? I’ve never been to a May day celebration like that although in the dim and distant past, I remember a maypole with ribbons. Actually I bet there were Morris dancers too, now I think of it, but no green man. That road looks like something out of an action movie. Lovely mural. Xxx