Canary Wharf and the Docklands area has come a long way since being one of the busiest ports in the world. It’s now mainly known as London’s financial center and not really much of a tourist destination to begin with. It initially catered for business workers and travelers during the week and (Excel) convention visitors during the weekend.
I learned how cold and grey it was when I worked in the nearby Blackwall. In the few years that I was there, I saw the area slowly change as more and more highrises for residents were built, which meant other types of food places started to open up. Places that were not just lunch meeting friendly.
In addition to the increasing hotel prices, more and more tourists end up booking a hotel in the East East of London as those are still reasonably priced. While most tourists will spend much of their time in Central London, keep the below in mind for a morning or evening in Canary Wharf.
10 Great Things To Do In Canary Wharf
Visit The Museum Of London Docklands
Housed in a historic warehouse, the museum tells the story of London’s history as a major port and covers the period from the Roman settlement of Londinium to the present day. Learn about the significance of the slave trade in the dockyards and its impact on the city. There’s also a recreated Victorian Street that you can explore, complete with shops and alleyways, which is always a joy for me.
Visit The Canary Wharf Crossrail Place Roof Garden
One of my favourite rooftop gardens in London. This one offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city, with a variety of plants and flowers and insightful information about their trade and history. Great place to take a break, and reached via the Adams Plaza Bridge futuristic walkway that definitely inspires the imagination.
Eat / Drink / Chill At Cargo Market Hall
The indoor food hall chain has made it to Canary Wharf! Market Hall has opened and currently has 7 vendors, ranging from the moreish Mexican at D/F Tacos to the addictive burgers at Black Bear Burger to Malaysian curries to die for at Gopal’s Corner. I have a particular soft spot for Gopal’s Corner’s beef rendang roti canai, but I’d honestly take anything on their menu!
Grab A Coffee At Grind
Grind serves up delicious locally-sourced coffee, as well as pastries, juices and smoothies in stylish surroundings. If there’s a Grind around, I’ll always be first in line for my caffeine boost. They also sell coffee accessories to take their experience home. You’ll find Grind on the top level of the Cargo Market Hall.
Take A Stroll Along The River Thames
There are a surprising amount of walking routes taking you around the vicinity that let you explore the wider area, because, yes there is more than just the big buildings. Check out the Lea Valley Walks and pick one for a strolling adventure at your own pace.
Let Out Your Inner Child At Fairgame
This adults-only game hall includes various iconic funfair games with a new twist as well as 6 food vendors, including Burger & Beyond, Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza and Dos Mas Tacos. I would go even if it’s only for the truffle tots from Burger & Beyond, everything else is extra.
Walk The Adams Plaza Bridge
Adams Plaza Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that connects the Jubilee Place shopping center and the Canary Wharf complex, but it has the distinctive and futuristic vibe it has become a popular spot for filming and photography. Most recently it was featured in the Andor show. Even though it’s a short walk, it definitely leaves an impression with its vibe, so don’t blame yourself if you want to go back and forth a few times.
Hop On The Emirates Air Line Cable Car
The cable car is one of the many 2012 London Olympics leftovers and they have been trying to rebrand themselves as a tourist attraction. I’ve said before that there is no reason to travel all the way out for it, but if you are staying near it … why not take it to Greenwich? You can use your Oyster or contactless card to pay as you go so it won’t cost you much. On clear days, the views from the cable car are pretty decent, so you can enjoy the views of SE London and beyond.
Take A Break At Canada Square
There is always something going on in Canada Square. You can skate at the Canary Wharf Ice Rink during the winter months, watch Wimbledon Tennis in Summer and enjoy all the other pop-ups in between. Roka and Wahaca are situated on Canada Square and are also both good places for lunch or dinner when you can’t make up your mind.
Visit Mudchute Park And Farm
Moving on to the wider Docklands area, this 32-acre park is home to a working farm and offers a chance to see a variety of animals, including cows, sheep, and horses. It’s quite a sight to see grazing animals with a skyscraper city backdrop, so I’d recommend hitting this place up if you’re nearby.