Greenwich London England

Greenwich is one of London's most historic areas with the city's lifeblood, the River Thames, running right through it. It's the river that helped Greenwich emerge as one of England's main naval centres in the 18th and 19th centuries and allows Greenwich to reinvent itself continually. Maritime Greenwich is a UNESCO heritage site and, along the waterfront, you'll see its great naval history and remarkable baroque facades by architects such as Wren, Hawksmoor, and Vanburgh.

Many visitors come to Greenwich to experience Prime Meridian -- "zero" for the reckoning of terrestrial longtitudes -- where each hour, day and year officially begin. It's what we learned about in school, right? However, once you've seen its home at the Royal Observatory, you'll want to take in the expansive views across the oldest of the Royal parks, Greenwich Park, to the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Its bucolic setting has been used in films from Four Weddings & a Funeral to Sense & Sensibility.

Greenwich, first made popular under the Tudors, was where King Henry VIII was born and it will be a Royal Borough in 2012. You can move from the Old Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum, and Queen's House (with works by Hogarth and Gainsborough) to Greenwich's quirky, independent shops and the famous Greenwich Market.

In 2012 Greenwich celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Olympic events and even gets London's brand-new cable car, but to get a real feel of the place just jump on a Thames Clipper boat and just go with the flow.

Mark Henshall is the editor of Frommer's England & the Best of Wales 2012 among many other Frommer's titles. He can be found on Twitter @M_Hensh.