fbpx Skip to main content

A new exhibition invites you to discover the key role chocolate played in the revival of Greenwich. An immersive Chocolate House is opening this spring at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Based on the Enlightenment Era Chocolate houses, which people like Samuel Pepys and Christopher Wren (who designed the Old Royal Naval College) used to frequent.

This Easter, discover the history and irresistible appeal of chocolate at the Old Royal Naval College with the launch of their new immersive exhibition, Chocolate House Greenwich. The 18th Century was hot chocolate’s heyday and visitors can now step back in time to discover its key role in the revival of Greenwich and experience a recreation of Grace and Thomas Tosier’s famous ‘royal’ Chocolate House.

From its origins in Central America to becoming the mark of sophistication for London’s Enlightenment-era movers and shakers, the journey of chocolate and its impact on Georgian Greenwich society is traced in this new exhibition. Discover the complex history of chocolate, and its surprising role at the heart of new cultural and scientific conversations at the time.

In the early 18th Century, Greenwich became a popular destination for those in search of elegant surroundings, and was a hub for astronomy, science and culture, with Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic architectural project (now the Old Royal Naval College) at its centre.

The Tosier Chocolate House, located in what became known as Chocolate Row, became a social space for the leading figures of the day, run by Grace Tosier – which is recreated in the exhibition. Chocolate House Greenwich will reveal the architects, astronomers, scientists – and chocolate makers – that made Greenwich a centre of innovation in Georgian Britian.

Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in this historic Chocolate House, favoured by courtiers and ambassadors of the time. The audio and visual experience, created by Unusual Expo and actor – writer Jonathan Coote, presents the flamboyant proprieter of the original Greenwich Chocolate House Grace Tosier – who ran this social hub while her husband Thomas ran the chocolate kitchen at Hampton Court for King George I.

2BJ048W A caricature of Lloyd's Coffee House from the 17th century.

Listen in on the great minds of the day including architect and astronomer Sir Christopher Wren, writer and diarist John Evelyn, the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed, and playwright and architect John Vanbrugh.

A series of events will complement the exhibition, including an Easter Trail for families, a Choc-o-Late this summer, and a series of hands-on chocolate-themed and chocolate making workshops.

Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College is the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a long and celebrated 600-year history. Today it is a diverse cultural destination and one of 3 London’s most popular venues, filming locations and visitor attractions, attracting over 1.2 million visitors a year.

The site was originally home to Greenwich Palace, a Tudor palace favoured by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, excavations of which can still be seen today. After the English Civil War, Queen Mary II ordered the creation of the Royal Hospital for Seamen on the same site, which at its peak housed over 2,700 injured and retired sailors. These are the stunning classical buildings visitors can see today, designed by one of England’s greatest architects, Sir Christopher Wren.

The rich maritime history of the site continued after the departure of the Royal Hospital in the 1860s. From 1873 – 1997 the buildings housed the Royal Naval College, training naval officers for over a hundred years, including the first female members of the Royal Navy in the 1940s, known as the WRENs.

In 1997, the Greenwich Foundation was established to conserve the magnificent baroque buildings and grounds of the Old Royal Naval College for present and future generations and provides opportunities for wide and diverse audiences to enjoy and share their significance. Today this historic landmark is open to the public. The Greenwich Foundation spearheaded an £8.5 million award-winning and pioneering conservation project, which saw the Painted Hall restored to its full glory, and the Tudor foundations of the site excavated.

In 2019, following the reopening of the site, the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College won Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year at the Museum + Heritage Awards 2019. In 2020, the Old Royal Naval College won Gold in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, and in 2021 it won Tiqets Best Museum of the Year, UK & Ireland.

The exhibition will take place from Friday 29th March – Sunday 3rd November 2024 at the Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NN

Tickets Included as part of Painted Hall ticket (£15, rising to £16.50 from 1st April). Also included as part of a £3 Discover Greenwich adult ticket (excludes entry to Painted Hall). Kids Go Free.

You may also enjoy reading about Luxurious Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea In The Painted Hall.

Subscribe & Win