Docklands, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 Reviews

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  • Canary wharf buildings.
    Canary wharf buildings.
    by londontraveller01
  • Docklands light railway. (DLR)
    Docklands light railway. (DLR)
    by londontraveller01
  • Docklands. 02 arena in the distance.
    Docklands. 02 arena in the distance.
    by londontraveller01
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    St. Katharine's docks.

    by breughel Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    As they are located just east of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge they attract many visitors.
    It's a surprising mix of new buildings among which an hotel (rather ugly architecture) looking out on the Thames and Tower Bridge, former warehouses restored and converted into flats and offices, a dozen pubs/restaurants, shops and marinas for up to 200 boats, linked by bridges and accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames.
    This transformation of the docks started in the 1970s.

    The original St. Katharine's docks date from 1828 after destruction of more than 1000 slum houses and the St Katharine's Hospital from where its name. St Katharine Docks were handling mainly valuable cargoes.
    Between the two world wars trade ships grew too large for St Katharine's Docks who were badly damaged by bombing during WW II and never fully recovered thereafter.

    Visitors can walk in most parts of the docks and watching yachts arriving via the historic lock bridge on the Thames is one of their favoured occupations as well as drinking a pint at the Dickens Inn.
    I discovered St. Katharine's docks ten years ago and also on my last visits I have questions because as harbour it looks so artificial. Anyway new developments have been announced:
    "One of Britain's wealthiest property entrepreneurs, Nick Leslau, has bought St Katharine Docks near Tower Bridge in London for £156m. He will refurbish the six buildings around the marina and hopes to lure financial services firms and other tenants from the City of London." (The Guardian 28 June 2011).

    St. Katharine's docks - contrasts. St. Katharine's docks - contrasts. St. Katharine's docks - contrasts.
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    The Dickens Inn; an initiation to UK way of life.

    by breughel Updated Sep 3, 2011

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    Ten years ago with my son and his wife, on a trip to London with the aim of making them discover the British way of living we ended here at The Dickens Inn on the St. Catharine's Docks after a look at the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
    The three storey balconied inn with geraniums hanging on the balconies made us think of … Tyrol. Indeed that's the way houses look in Tyrol!
    We found some seats at a large table outside in the beer garden and then I teached my heirs how to order a drink at the bar and bring it to our table without losing precious liquid on the stairs.
    Indeed on our side of the Chanel we have waiters who take your order at your table and bring your drinks there where you are seated.

    This year I came back, got my pint of Guinness at the bar (4.10 £) and sat at the only not occupied chair at the terrace. End of the afternoon is the best time here because you get the sun in your face. I even socialized with my neighbours. Inns are made for this.
    It was Friday afternoon and there were some workers from the City ending there hard financial week standing around, talking loudly and sipping some white wine. You can buy here a whole bottle at the bar and get the glasses.
    I presume they were drinking Chardonnay. This is another main cultural difference between Anglo-Saxons and Latin's. They appear only to drink Chardonnay and we drink Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rueda, Rías Baixas, Soave, Frascati, Orvietto and many more even the acidic Muscadet or Gros Plant Nantais.
    Is that the Clash of Civilizations from Huntington?

    The Dickens Inn -St Katharine Pint of Stout at The Dickens Inn. The Dickens Inn - View from the marina.
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    The Dickens Inn - a bit of history.

    by breughel Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    With all the flowers at the balconies The Dickens Inn is not a chalet from Tyrol like some tourists from the old continent might think but a genuine wooden warehouse building that stood on a Thames side site just east of its current location.
    In the 1820’s its timber frame was encased in a more modern brick shell to make the warehouse conform to the architectural style of St Katharine Docks. Although untouched during the bombings of WW II it was condemned to demolition when the site was needed for redevelopment in the early 1970’s.

    Fortunately the interesting timber frame concealed inside was discovered but the building could not stay where it was and the 120 ton timber shell was therefore moved some 70 meters and erected on its present site. The original timbers, tailboards and ironwork were used in the restoration and the building reconstructed in the style of a three storey balconied inn of the 18th century.

    It was called after Charles Dickens because his works are stocked with characters and scenes memorably linked with the area of Thameside and it is of course a good commercial name. There are three parts in the present inn: ground floor with the bar, first floor as pizzeria, second floor as grill restaurant.

    The Dickens Inn -St Katharine
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    St. Katharine Docks - The Lock

    by breughel Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    Visitors of the St. Katharine Docks like to watch the Locking In of yachts between the river Thames and the present marina. The lock operates from 2 hrs before High Water till 11/2 hours after HW. The lock entrance reconstructed in 1956 is rather small.

    Even when in the 19th c. the docks were fully operating the entrance lock was only 55 m long, 14 m wide and 8 m deep so that only small vessels of maximum 1000 ton capacity could use the system. Katharine Docks were primarily designed for sailing ships at a time where ships progressed from sail to steam and the size of the steam vessels grew.

    Presently you will see several yachts locking in together in what is London's leading yacht marina. Situated alongside Tower Bridge, it is advised as the ideal berthing place for anyone wishing to visit the capital.

    But what does it cost?
    I f you you happen to have a yacht you can find all details and prices on www.skdocks.co.uk
    To give you an idea (if I did read correctly) a dayly berth per Metre LOA cost 4.50 £. (weekly berth costs 20 £). So if you have a 10 m yacht it will cost you 45 £ plus electricity (daily supply = 4.60 £).
    If I compare this with an hotel room in London (150 - 300 £/night) it is cheap.
    Of course you need to have a boat!

    St. Katharine Docks - The Lock.
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    The Dickens Inn

    by easyoar Written Feb 9, 2005

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    The Dickens Inn sits in the Middle of Saint Katherines Wharf, which is a couple of minutes walk from the Tower of London.

    The building itself dates back to 1740 and is famous for its timber frame on the outside. Originally it was a brewery, but these days it is one of Londons better known pubs/restaurants.

    If you want to eat there, a starter will set you back between £6 - £8, a main course is between £15 - £20. They also serve pizzas, and if you want the biggest size they do, which feeds six, you can pay over £35 for one!

    It is open from Mon-Sat 11.00-23.00
    and on Sun between 12.00-22.30

    The Dickens Inn - Saint Kather
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    Millennium Dome

    by easyoar Updated May 21, 2006

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    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.

    Millennium Dome, London
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    London Docklands

    by HORSCHECK Updated Feb 1, 2004

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    The former London Docks were the world's largest merchant port. Nowadays the area is home of lively marinas, riverside walks and splendid office buildings like Canary Wharf which includes Britains tallest building (244 m). The best way to explore the Docklands is by Dockland Light Railway (DLR) which drives on elevated tracks from the Tower of London to Greenwich.

    Docklands and Canary Wharf
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    Take the DLR

    by Cham Written Aug 17, 2006

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    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.

    Canada Square, Canary Wharf Docklands at sunset

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    Historic Pubs

    by Durfun Written Nov 2, 2010

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    St Katherine's Dock is a good locale. On the opposite bank (by the Design Museum) is Butlers Wharf Chop-House, 36e Shad Thames, SE1 2YE. British staples, with sensible prices & good ambiance.

    For a good, historic pub, head for the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping. It was used for many years as a den for smugglers and Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens are said to have drunk here.

    It lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520. It was formerly known as the Devil’s Tavern, due to its dubious reputation. Before that it was officially called "The Pelican". All that remains from the building’s earliest period is the 400 year old stone floor. In former times it was a meeting place for sailors, smugglers, cut-throats and footpads. Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from here in 1533 in a disastrous attempt to discover the North-East Passage to China.

    In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of "Hanging" Judge Jeffreys, scourge of the Monmouth Rebellion. He lived nearby and a noose hangs by a window, commemorating his custom. He was chased by anti-Royalists into the nearby Town of Ramsgate, captured and taken to the Tower for his own safety.

    According to legend, criminals would be tied up to the posts at low tide and left there to drown when the tide came in. Execution Dock was actually by Wapping Old Stairs and generally used for pirates. This is where another old pub is located..

    Try the neighbouring 'Town of Ramsgate', equally old, and about 10 minutes walk to the west. Address: 62 Wapping High Street, E1W 2PN. It's next to the alleyway known as Wapping Old Stairs.

    The pub as seen from river Thames The hangman's noose Street view of the PofW
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    Floating church in Docklands

    by Britannia2 Written Dec 27, 2009

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    St Peter's Barge is the only floating church in London, and to the best of my knowledge in the UK and although I am not a church attender nor have I been on the barge I have included it here as it is certainly unique.
    The barge is an old Dutch working barge that was refitted in 2003 and sailed to England where is has a permanant mooring at West India Quay.
    St Peter’s Barge is an Anglican evangelical church.

    St Peters Barge Church
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    Trains without conductors?!

    by arv1 Updated Aug 1, 2003

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    Docklands light rail...it is true that these trains are run purely by computers. ensuring a seat at the front of the train will allow you to see the infamous london docks and their surroundings. this also amazes younger children, knowing there is no one to control the train, they become strangely silent and relieve thier parents from stress!

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    Butler's Wharf and Shad Thames

    by eviltooth Written Jun 24, 2003

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    Completed in 1873, Butler's Wharf
    was once the largest warehouse complex on the Thames, this early SE1 development is perhaps best known for Terence Conran's restaurants such as Le Pont de la Tour, where the Clintons and Blairs famously dined. The empty warehouses of Butler's Wharf were once London's largest post-war artists colony.

    Shad Thames, the narrow street at the back of Butler’s Wharf, has kept the wrought-iron overhead gangways by which the porters used to transport goods from the wharves to the warehouses further back from the river, and is one of the area’s most atmospheric alleyways. Take a stroll along Shad Thames, you'll love it, or dine in one of the restaurants such as Butler's Wharf Chop House.

    Shade Thames
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    HMS Belfast

    by eviltooth Written Jun 25, 2003

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    This majestic ship is Europe's only surviving WWII cruiser, moored on the River Thames as a floating museum with displays about her history and the Navy.

    HMS Belfast led the naval bombardment off Normandy in support of the Allied landings of D-Day in June 1944 and last fired her guns during the Korean War.

    Brought alive by sound effects and specially created smell, HMS Belfast is part of history not to be missed.

    HMS Belfast and River Thames
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    Cutty Sark

    by IrishFem Written Aug 29, 2003

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    The Cutty Sark was a clipper ship when it was launched in 1869. It was the fastest sailing ship that ever sailed with an on board cargo of Tea and wool. Open from 10am to 5pm daily and a charge of 3.50 per adult. You can really get a feel of what it was like on board. I truly enjoyed the experience.

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  • Canary Wharf and Docklands

    by sabsi Updated May 11, 2003

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    Canary Wharf is the highest building in Great Britain. It doesn't look as high as it is though (245 metres) because there are some buildings around it that are almost the same height.

    A trip to the Docklands by DLR (Docklands Light Railway) is a nice way to spend a few hours if you like modern architecture. It's a bit too clean and too stylish though. At least it was when I was there but that's about 6 years ago!

    The DLR trains are spooky! There's no driver in there. Perfect to do "pretending to be driving the train" pics ;)

    Canary Wharf behind Tower Bridge
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