Canary Wharf in one day
As one of London’s main business districts, Canary Wharf might not immediately pop up in the brainstorming session when planning a fun day out. However, whilst the skyline is made up of towering skyscrapers and the sparkling head offices of major banks, you just need to peek a little beyond the glare of the bright lights to see a whole other side to the district.
With nearly a hundred thousand people working in the area, there are more than a few great watering holes nearby to quench the thirst-pangs of after work drinkers and plenty of shops to go for a bit of a splurge.
However, delve past the crowds of suited and booted professionals and you’ll also find eclectic art quarters and cosy country farms hidden in the shadows of the sky-high towers. We take you through a jam-packed 24 hours in the unique district:
9am – Museum of London Docklands
Start your day by indulging in a little back story to the Canary Wharf area. Set in a 200-year-old warehouse which was once used to store sugar, coffee and rum, The Museum of London Docklands has a more interesting past life than most. Guiding you through the development of the area from Roman settlement to bustling port and shining business district, you’ll get to venture into a full size recreation of the darkened alleys of a Victorian era Wapping and see hidden curiosities stashed inside sailors’ bunks onboard trading ships. Little nippers won’t be left our either as they can get a taste of working life damming a river, cargo loading and playing with a DLR train in the Mudlarks interactive play area!
12pm – Mudchute Park and Farm
At the next stop, swap suits and boots for fur and feathers at one of the largest city farms in the whole of Europe. At the 32 acres of countryside at Mudchute Park and Farm, you’ll be able to meet and greet pigs, sheep, goats and donkeys as well as some of their more unusual residents, such as llamas and alpacas. The closest you’ll get to grabbing a little slice of countryside without venturing out of Zone 2, the farm is also home to one of the most unique views over London. Picture llamas grazing on the greenery whilst Canary Wharf’s skyscrapers loom large in the background!
2pm – Lunch at Royal China
Sometimes to get the very best dim sum, you need to get yourself out of Chinatown. Royal China is one of our favourite places to get our fix and with six branches scattered over London, it seems that popular opinion agrees with us! The franchise is famous for its upmarket design and high quality dim sum with the Canary Wharf branch being no different. Head there to fuel up on Shanghai pork dumplings and fried minced squid balls ready for the day’s afternoon explorations.
3pm – Shopping
With so many workers in the area, it’s unsurprising that there are also a lot of places to let your credit card take a bashing! And, with a whopping three arcades and over 200 shops, restaurants and bars, there’s no shortage of places to treat yourself in Canary Wharf. High street favourites, such as Topshop and HMV, sit alongside luxury brands, like Montblanc and Tiffany & Co, and smaller, boutique shops in the stunning riverside centres.
5pm – Trinity Buoy Wharf
Home to London’s only lighthouse which stands tall surveying its growing creative empire, Trinity Buoy Wharf is an unexpected treasure hidden just a short journey away from Canary Wharf. Just over 20 years ago, the site stood derelict and unloved but head there now and you can expect one of London’s most eclectic arts centres complete with a charmingly incongruent 1940s American diner, colourful shipping containers transformed into affordable accommodation, a quirky sculpture park and a trail of mini artworks painted on discarded pieces of chewing gum.
7pm – Dinner at Boisdales
Set over two grand floors with a distinctive Boisdale design of mahogany panelling and lacquer red walls as well a mammoth cigar terrace with views over Cabot Square, Boisdales is THE destination for an entertaining and sophisticated dinner in Canary Wharf. Renowned as one of London’s best jazz venues, you can enjoy the very best in jazz, blues and soul whilst you chow down on classic British dishes and Scottish favourites, such as Haggis. End the meal by sampling one of the fine whiskies on offer at the 12 metre wall of liquid gold… it would be rude not to, really.
9pm – Thames Clipper Ride
Kiss goodbye to stuffy taxis. The coolest way to get around London is with the river bus service. Make sure you have your sea legs ready and jump aboard to be taken over to the O2 from Canary Wharf on the fastest fleet on the river. As well as getting a guaranteed seat, you can sit back and enjoy amazing views over passing attractions, such as the Cutty Sark, Royal Naval College and Old Brewery.
10pm – Up at the O2
As the oblivious diners and concert goers enjoy the O2’s facilities inside, you’ll be enjoying the venue’s very best attraction right above their heads! Set off on one of London’s most exciting twilight walks as you take the 90 minute climb across the roof of the world’s most popular entertainment venues. At the summit, you can feast your eyes on 360 degree views over London lit up at night. Then enjoy the thrilling descent before you touchdown on terra firma for a well deserved rest!
This guest post was written by Jess Astbury, Online Content Assistant at Check-in-London.com who provide serviced apartments in London. For more insider tips and guides to London, make sure to check out their blog.