Europe > Northern Europe > United Kingdom > A Cinematographic Experience at The ORNC

A Cinematographic Experience at The ORNC

By José Ramírez |

Enjoy a cinematographic experience at the Old Royal Naval College and discover which Hollywood movies have been filmed here!


When you travel to England, you must visit the Old Royal Naval College, better known as ORNC. As a traveler, you’ve surely heard about this place because it’s one of the main attractions in Greenwich, London. Its architecture is deemed as priceless for the British Island and for the world. That’s why it was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Today DINKtravelers wants to invite you to visit the ORNC as a moviegoer, because this place has been used as set for over 80 films and TV shows.


In 1443 they built Greenwich Palace, although it was demolished a few years later. Then, in 1692, Queen Mary II gave the instruction to build the Greenwich Hospital where the palace had been before. The hospital’s purpose was to tend the wounded in the naval battle of La Hogue. Later, the building was turned into the Naval College and by 1998 they created the namesake foundation that helps keep the history of this former palace alive.


The Old Royal Naval College has been used as location for so many films and TV series that in the article titled “Is This The Most Popular Filming Location in The World”, Empire magazine published that the ORNC could be the most famous set in the world, suggesting that it was more frequently featured in films than Paris or even New York.

The building’s cinematographic history began in 1958 with the movie Indiscrete, a film about love in which a married, rich and elegant man falls in love with Anna, a famous actress. However, in more recent times, the ORNC has been used as set for many successful and Oscar-winning feature films such as Les MiserablesThe King’s Speech, or even Cinderella, featuring Lily James.


The Four Feathers is a movie starring Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson. It tells the story of a lieutenant that relinquished his post in order to avoid going to war in Sudan. As a result, he is given four feathers as a symbol of cowardice: one from his fiancée and the other three from his friends. However, his situation changes and he’s finally forced to go to war, where he proves his courage and skills. We suggest watching The Four Feathers before visiting the Old Royal Naval College, because the scenes that were filmed there will also help you understand how life at the naval college was like.


How could we forget Meryl Streep’s superb performance as Margaret Thatcher? Actually, she was Best Actress Academy Award winner for this role. In the movie, Streep portrayed the different stages of this British politician’s life, as she struggled to become part of the conservative party and then become the United Kingdom’s Primer Minister. Some scenes of The Iron Lady were filmed at the Old Royal Naval College. If you want to relive them, visit the Painted Hall, created by Sir James Thornhill in honor of several kings and queens. This hall that’s full of murals appears near the end of the movie and it’s the most beautiful hall in the building –we recommend viewing the paintings on the ceiling reflected on the mirrors that are placed throughout the hall. In the movie, that’s where Margaret Thatcher had a meeting with other politicians to celebrate the end of the Cold War.


The novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has filled England with mystery and suspense through the adventures of this famous private detective. When the stories were taken to the big screen, starring Robert Downey Jr., the exterior of the Old Royal Naval College was used as scenery for some scenes. You will remember them particularly when you visit Queen Anne Court, with its ample garden and its massive white structure.


The legendary hero of DC Comics is, without doubt, Batman. His fame is very well deserved because this character has been portrayed in films since the 1940s. One of the most successful trilogies was created by Christopher Nolan as director and Christian Bale as Batman. Surely, you remember that in the last scenes of The Dark Night Rises Bruce is drinking a coffee in Florence. You’ll be surprised to learn that this scene was not filmed in Italy but in the Old Royal Naval College. Discover the secret behind this scene at Queen Mary Court.


The famous Disney franchise has been mostly filmed in Jamaica; however, several scenes from the fourth movie, On Stranger Tides, were filmed at the Old Royal Naval College. In fact, there were so many scenes that it took them over a month of filming at this location. In the movie you will find images of the interior and the exterior or the ORNC. In order to enjoy the interior, again, visit the Painted Hall, where they filmed the scene where Jack Sparrow is escorted by two guards to see the king. Also, if you wish to see where they filmed the scenes of the carriages, take a walk along the main avenue; some of those scenes were filmed en front of King Charles Court.

These are only some of the movies that were filmed at the ORNC, but there are several others, for example: Patriot Games starring Harrison Ford, Lara Croft starring Angelina Jolie, The Duchess with Keira Knightley, James Bond: Sky Fall with Daniel Craig, Thor, and more.

Enjoy a cinematographic experience at the Old Royal Naval College!