How to Explore the Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Rear View Of Man With Bicycle Walking At Greenwich Foot Tunnel
••• Adam Lucy/Eyeem/Getty Images

Greenwich Foot Tunnel is a pedestrian crossing under the River Thames between Greenwich on the south bank and the Isle of Dogs on the north side. It's 370 meters in length and free to enter 24 hours a day. There are about 100 steps at either side of the tunnel. 

The Greenwich Foot Tunnel was built to allow residents from south London to travel to work in the docks in the Isle of Dogs. The tunnel is still popular and is said to be used by 1.5 million people a year. It forms part of the National Cycle Route and the Thames Path

The Isle of Dogs forms part of the East End and is bounded on three sides by the river Thames. It's predominantly a residential area and popular with people who work in neighboring Canary Wharf. The views of Maritime Greenwich are impressive from this side of the river. 

Greenwich Foot Tunnel History and Essentials

The Greenwich Foot Tunnel was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie, a civil engineer, and was opened on August 4, 1902, at a cost of £127,000. The tunnel took three years to construct.

The cast iron tunnel is 370 meters in length and approximately 15 meters deep. It's lined with 200,000 glazed white tiles and the shafts at each end are located under glass tile domes.

The entrance to the tunnel is at Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London SE10 9HT. It's close to the Cutty Sark ship. The Isle of Dogs entrance is located between Island Gardens and Poplar Rowing Club. The nearest DLR train station is 'Greenwich'.

Why not have a day out in Greenwich? If you head to The O2 as well you can try the London cable car/Emirates Air Line as an alternative way to cross the river.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel Refurbishment

Thanks to a £11.5 million award from the Government's Community Infrastructure Fund, extensive refurbishment was completed in 2011.

Tunnel improvements include:

  • new lifts (although I've found them still not working so be prepared to walk up or down)
  • refurbished stairways and head houses
  • new CCTV and communications system, including help buttons
  • new lighting
  • new drainage
  • structural repairs
  • leak sealing
  • new signing
  • historical information murals.

Photography is apparently banned in both the Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels. I've heard non-flash photography is OK, but no promises.

Nearby, the Woolwich Foot Tunnel serves a similar purpose and is also operated by the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council.