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Docklands and Canary Wharf
Docklands are a less known part of London for tourists. It's located east, where Thames makes a U-shape bend. The currently named Docklands area is the former Port of London, at one time the largest port in the world.
At the north part of the Docklands (at the top of the U-shape of Thames) is Canary Wharf, with glass skyscrapers, resembling the La Defense area in Paris, France.
The Canary Wharf tube station is designed by my favorite architect Sir Norman Foster. The HSBC Bank headquarters (second picture) is also the work of Sir Norman Foster.
The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) - see my next tip - makes a cross east-west and north-south in the Docklands.
Museum in Docklands
This museum is housed in a former warehouse built by the West India Dock Company to store, sugar, rum and coffee from the Caribbean plantations, and is part of the Museum of London.
There is a permanent exhibition entitled 'London, Sugar and Slavery' which explores London's connections with the slave trade. Other permanent displays cover the history of the port of London and the Docklands area.
Admission is free for under 16s, and £5 for adults (but the ticket is valid for a year).
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
A walk on the weather side
The Thames Walk was something completely unknown to me, like most of London! However, Rosemarie's son suggested we take it in order to get to the Tower Bridge. It's only about three quarters of an hour away.
Armed with this knowledge we toddled off, following this most meandering of tracks. Sometimes Thames side, sometimes along the road, depending on whether or not a new developement has allowed punters access to the river or not. At times it's a bit tricky, at times the pavement is in need of an update, but it's never boring.
What a wonderful way to spend what ultimately turned out to be over three hours, including lunch at an historical tavern en route. The rejuvenated dockside has much to offer and I was amazed at how many of the old warehouses have been lovingly restored, at least on the outside. It's also a great walk to get the feel of what the docks used to mean to London and dropping in at one of the truly historic pubs will add further to your enjoyment and knowledge. Highly recommended.
(Pictures to follow in April when I get back home)
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Canary Wharf Business City
We took an evening tour around the busiest area of Canary Wharf on friday and found a lively atmosphere of people heading to the weekend and sharing their last pint until next week. It's a very modern area, with amazing skyscrapers. It was sunny and really enjoyed the pint!
The docks were formerly part of the Port of London, at one time the world's largest port. They have now been redeveloped from a not very salubrious area into a district principally for commercial and residential use. We were having meetings in this area and reached it by the Docklands Light Railway.
Although most of the old Dockland wharves and warehouses have been demolished, some have been restored and converted into flats. Most of the docks themselves have survived and are now used as marinas or watersports centres.
- Business Travel
Canary Wharf area
Reichmanns from Toronto were and still [?] involved in the property development,
for anyone interested in architecture nad town planning, inetersting buidlings, and you'll come across global corporate names too.
Canary Wharf and Docklands
In the 1980's there was a concerted effort to move the business focus of London towards the East. Some still refer to the Canary Wharf tower (the highest building in the UK) as 'Major's last erection' (ex- Uk Prime minister). In those days it looked somewhat forlorn, as the gleaming skyscraper was still surrounded by the architectural wreckage of what was once the thriving port area. It took a long time for the enterprise to catch on, and the main tower itself is known as 'One Canada square' after it was taken over by Olympia & York the Canadian developers.
Despite being Britain's tallest, it does not have an observation platform, with the public limited to the marble encased lobby and the basement levels.
The tower is now surrounded by a number of similar buildings, so that a new 'mini-Manhattan' skyline has been created for London. For most visitors it is well off the main tourist trail, and unless you are interested in the history (see the Docklands museum) or the architectural remains of the port then there is little to specifically recommend visiting.
On the other hand, a journey through the area on the driverless Dockands Light railway (DLR) is well worth it. As it weaves between the vast office buildings, the modern architecture it reveals can be quite impressive. If you are visiting Greenwich, then it is an ideal form of transport to use, as you can take it all in without getting off the train. Best of all, it is included in the London Travelcard.
Museum of Docklands - Part II
Different scenarios have been created to separate the sections of the museum, including a receration of some old streets: threading your way past the pub down slimey alleys certainly brings it all to life.
The museum focuses on London's docks and the River Thames but it covers all London life, especially in the East End. One of the most moving parts is the section on The Blitz: during the Second World War this area was very heavily bombed and many local people were killed or injured. There can have been few places in Britain that lost so many of its inhabitants to the unseen bombs raining down on most nights. A short film and a hall explains the story.
The museum manages to tell the story right up to the present day, complete with coverage of Canary Wharf, the Jubilee line extension, the DLR and the Thames Barrier. There's hardly a topic that isn't covered here.
If this isn't quite enough, there is a section called Mudlarks which allows the youngest children occupied. There is a coffee-shop on the ground floor and next door - with access to the lobby - is the excellent Bar 1802 restaurant.
The museum is open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm and is definitely worth a visit - allow at least 3 hours and much of the day if industrial archaeology is your thing.
Museum of Docklands - Part I
Recently opend, the superb Museum of Docklands is spolit only by a truly absurd photography policy that allows you to take pictures if you list every single photograph on a form and provide more details than for your last passport application. Truly ridiculous.
The Museum itself is alongside the Port East complex in a huge converted warehouse, a building that remains the most attractive building for several kilometres. Its ochre sandstone face and grilled windows remains lines the north side of West India Quay close to the point where originally a channel and a lock provided entry to the dock from the nearby River Thames. Behind the museum there were formerly masses of railway lines and the huge dock wall but now there is just masses of roads and viaducts taking the Docklands Light Railway past.
The museum follows a sequence from the top (third floor) and despite only covering the top two floors, the clever design makes it seem so much bigger. I ended up returning the following day (the GBP5 ticket is valid for a year from issue, but it's free after 4.30pm) to spend more hours slowly making my way through the incredibly rich and interesting collection. The artefacts - and there are really surprisingly few of them - are interspersed with maps, charts and paintings. The history starts in prehistoric times and cleverly uses short videos to tell the story: these all allow for a degree of interaction to get progressively more information, so catering for the wide diversity of visitors.
I came across this area on my visit to greenwich.I really like this place.Especially the combination of the river n the high rises and how the train passes all the high rises and one can see people in their respective offices working from the train.The modern high rise london.I came across the reuters building i love this building i thought i was too cool.
This is the largest farm inside the M25, located in the centre of Isle of Dogs, London. It is a good way for young children to spend a few hours. There are budgies, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, turkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, lama, cows, and donkeys. If the animals come close enough, the children can touch them. There is also a riding school. There are some trails going around the original Mudchute which can take half an hour to walk. You can also cut across the field where the cows sometimes graze. Obviously, this place will be no big deal for folks coming in from the country.
From their web site, listed below: "The Mudchute was originally created over 150 years ago. The spoil from the construction of Millwall Dock was dumped onto nearby land. Later, when the dock was completed, the silt that accumulated in the dock was also pumped away and dumped on the land. The spoil and the silt together formed an area the locals referred to as 'The Mudchute'. Over time, a wild habitat developed and this became a magnet for youngsters to explore, even though the public were not officially allowed access to the land."
- Family Travel
Take the DLR
The Docklands used to be a run down area ridden with crime and warehouses etc
for the past few years a lot of re-development has taken place and it is now one of the most sort after areas in the property market. When Canary Wharf became one of the hot areas for large businesses to be the rest of the area began to benefit. Spectacular views of the thames and the city are great selling points here, and the driverless DLR trains offer great views on every journey.
It's worth taking the DLR just to have a look around Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas especially on a sunny day when the light reflects off the buildings in as many colours as you can think of.
The main people that work here are Stock Market Traders and every year there is a free Motor Expo showing off some of the newest cars on the market, from Audi to Zonda...
In the Excel Centre the largest car show in England happens in july.
I remember being quite impressed with the Millennium Dome when it was hosting the Year 2000 celebration. It made for a fun day out and was quite unusual. Roll the clock on 6 years however, and it's starting to feel like a spare part. No money is being spent to refurbish things around it, so the area immediately surrounding the dome is looking a little delapidated. I still like the Dome itself, and hopefully they will find a new and interesting use for it. It is of course important to note that you cannot go into the Dome anymore because it has been closed since the Millennium event it hosted during the year 2000.
The Dome has of course featured in a James Bond Film, The World is Not Enough. Bond has a running fight with the hit-woman Maria Grazia Cucinotta from the MI6 Building to the Dome. In true Hollywood style, the buildings appear to be a short journey apart in the film, although this of course is not actually the truth!
During the Year 2000, the Dome actually staged a real life attempted diamond heist, just like something out of a Bond movie. There were some ridiculously expensive diamonds on display, and a gang decided to break in by crashing a bulldozer into the dome and smashing open the diamond case. Unfortunately for them, the Police were already in on the heist and had substitued the diamonds for paste. The gang were all caught. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/1827559.stm for more info.
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
St- Katharine's Wharf
St. Katharine’s Wharf has numerous shops and restaurants within a couple of minutes walk of the "Thistle Tower hotel" (highly recommended)
Best known of all the restaurants is the Dickens Inn (a minor experience), a 18th century brewery . This wharf complex also offers an ice cream parlor,coffee and art shop and restaurants featuring Indian cuisine (a major experience)
Passing Through on the Light Rail
The Docklands Light Rail goes from either BANK or Tower stations out past Greenwich. I couldn't figure out BANK on my schedule, so we went to the Tower. It is included on the weekend ticket out to Zone 2.
Since the Cutty Sark station is a Zone 2/3 I was afraid I'd be in trouble, but actually either a zone 2 or a zone 3 ticket is OK at this station.
You can also get off on the Isle of Dogs and walk across under the river. My daughter did this and some people seem to think it is an important thing to do. I didn't do it because
a) I felt that there would be nothing to see,
b) I wanted to save my limited energy for the museum and observatory, and
c) I've been in other underwater tunnels so that isn't a big deal to me.
We were aiming to go to Greenwich so we didn't actually stop in Docklands. If you wanted to stop off in Docklands, or stay there (there are a good variety of hotels) you can go to MUSEUM IN DOCKLANDS .
The history of London's river, port & people includes Warehouse of the World, Mudlarks and Sailortown galleries. Programme of events. Shop. The Museum in Docklands has both a small café and a fully licensed bar and restaurant. East to West India walk
Open 10-6 daily.
Students & under 16s free
All tickets valid for 1 year and are valid for exhibitions at the Museum of London.
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