Canary Wharf often gets a bit of a bad reputation for being, well, a bit boring. We all know there are lots of offices there, and that a lot of financial activity goes on, but don’t generally think of it as a destination for a day out – well think again! Sure, on the surface it might appear to purely a financial center, but look a little closer and you’ll see that there really is plenty to do! It’s also an excellent place to stay while you explore the rest of the city due to the convenience of transport from here into the centre of London, and the modern fixtures that are common in this area of the city that may be harder to find elsewhere in London.
Here’s a guide to give you a little taste of what to do on a trip to Canary Wharf.
Perhaps unexpectedly, there’s a huge amount of culture to soak in at Canary Wharf. For example the Museum of London Docklands, which goes over the growth of the Docklands area and the revitalization of the River Thames. It wasn’t always a banker’s paradise, and in fact the area has a really rich and interesting history. You can even walk through a reproduction of a historical dock area, to get a true sense of what it would have been like.
Check out Surrey Docks Farm if animals are your thing, or you’ve got the little ones with you. At this urban farm kids can hang out with some donkeys, cows, and pigs – so close to the financial hub! It’s also the only farm in the city where a blacksmith will put on live demonstrations. It’s certainly an interesting craft that few of us have ever seen done in person!
If architecture is more your thing then check out the Balfron Tower. It was an intriguingly designed social housing project that has many unique architectural features; and while the former residents have been moved out to make way for a more upmarket tenant after renovation, for now it has been converted into a temporary museum of sorts.
Retail is a thriving industry in Canary Wharf, with over 200 shops, bars, cafes and restaurants to be explored. They’re divided up into four shopping malls, and a few riverside locations as well. Here you can find stores for brands of all kinds – though primarily luxury brands such as Crockett and Jones. There are also a few smaller independent shops and designer boutiques. Of the four malls, Canada Place alone houses the flagship Waitrose Food Home store, Plateau Restaurant, Bar Grill offering fine dining, and incredible views – so maybe make this your hub for the day and explore from there.