Walking tour:: Canary Wharf


Walking tour of Canary Wharf

I must admit, Canary Wharf can be a bit daunting, with its towering skyscrapers, like giant redwood trees, surveying the sea of ant-like activity below. But similar to life in a redwood forest, what's happening on the ground, at the ant level is fascinating. So, let's get moving and start explore the hidden treasures of Canary Wharf!

We start our day at the Canary Wharf Tube Station, on the Jubilee Line. (see below for all the ways to get to Canary Wharf). There are 20 escalators in the Canary Wharf Tube Station, but if possible, try to come up on the Montgomery Square side and directly in front of you will be the Jubilee Shopping Place underground mall. 

With a quick turn to the right and about-face, you will discover one of Canary Wharf's many green areas, the very pretty Jubilee Park, with its meandering paths and above-ground stream. Canary Wharf is home to over 20 acres of green space, including 4 urban parks such as this one.

Jubilee Park, situated above the Canary Wharf Tube Station
As we leave the park, if we look straight ahead, we have a good view of one of Canary Wharf's many waterways, (there are 340,000 sq. meters of open water habitat) and the Docklands Light Rail (DLR) train that connects northern and southern London (you can get to Greenwich in 10 min from here)

Crossrail at Reuter's plaza waterway

But we will take a right, and wander into Reuter's Plaza, with its many clocks, scrolling billboard of headline news and multitudes of pubs.

We walk through the building, (catching a glimpse of the mall inside) and out the opposite door, finding ourselves at Crossrail Place. Looking like a floating submarine (they call it a floating island) Crossrail Place is a fabulous spot to come and enjoy some fun on one of its five levels. Check out the ground floor restaurants and street food, but also don't miss the beautiful open air roof garden. 

In addition to the roof garden, the top level also has two large restaurants, The Big Easy and Giant Robot. If you want to get your fill of Texas/Lousiana cuisine, you can do no better than the lively atmosphere of The Big Easy. 

Next, it's back down to the first level, and we take the walkway into the Adams Plaza Bridge, which brings us out onto N Colonnade Street. We turn left, and cross the street into a quiet park.
Adam's Plaza Bridge

We now enter the charming and uncrowded Canada Square park. This park has it all--great restaurants, like The Ivy and The Parlour, outdoor movies and concerts on the grass in the summer, an ice rink in the winter. There are several great outdoor bars to serve up drinks, and benches to sit and relax.


Let's walk around the park to the right, and come out at the other side, crossing Upper Bank Street. Now it's time to really explore the underbelly of Canary Wharf, as we enter through Waitrose to the largest of Canary Wharf's 3 underground malls.  (If you want a nice view of the park, first go up the elevator to the third level and enjoy a drink and view at Plateau restaurant and bar).

Down on the bottom level of Waitrose, you can enter the Canary Wharf Shopping center, a whopping mall, which stuns me with how incredibly busy it is.  I was in retail for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like lunchtime at the Canary Wharf Shopping Center.  (I personally think that most of the 120,000 people who work in the Canary Wharf area come here during their lunch hour) But whether you are in the mood to shop or eat, the mall is something to experience--It's a good way to stay out of the rain, and it's a straight shot to our next stop, Cabot Square.
Canary Wharf Shopping Center/ Cabot Square Shopping Center
Leaving  the other end of the shopping center, you will be facing Cabot Square. Walk around the fountain, and partake in some very nice public art.  The One Canada building will be above you, towering at 236m high. It is as of today, the 2nd tallest building in London, after the Shard.
We now take a segue to West India Quay.  If our back is to the One Canada building, we will leave the square to the right, cross the street and head into Wren Landing (with more public art and eateries), then will cross the footbridge into the West India Quay development.

Derelict until the 1980's, these docks were once the world's busiest seaport. Thirty years ago, Margaret Thatcher pounded the first stake into the development of Canary Wharf and this area has now become a destination for fun, good food and drink.

At lunchtime, with street vendors and stationary restaurants like The Sipping Station, you wont have trouble finding a bite here. The Quay is also home to a cinema, the Docklands Museum, a cooking school and a new launch--Hot Tugs. Why not charter your own hot tub and navigate the waterways while being immersed in bubbly hot water and sipping champagne!? ( I admit that we did this activity in Angel and it was one of the highlights of our fall!)

Heading back over the footbridge, we will continue to the right, around the curve onto West India Avenue, with our final destination as Westferry Circus, where you can rent bicycles and explore the area further if you haven't had enough.

From Westferry Circus, we will continue out the back side of the circle, towards the water. There are many restaurants (again!) in which you can sit outside and enjoy the view of the River Thames. We live on the river and can say that it never ever gets old watching the boats go by, and this spot is no exception. The MBNA Thames Clipper has service every 30 minutes or so back to the city. My stop is at Tower Bridge, and with just an Oyster card tap, I think this is the most enjoyable way to travel. The ferry has stops all along the river, including the London Eye. So, to make a perfect ending to a perfect outing, we will enjoy waterside seats on our ride home.

Hope you have enjoyed visiting the underbelly of Canary Wharf!
Stay tuned for my blog on things to do in Canary Wharf.                                                         

 Happy Travels!

Ways to get to Canary Wharf: (I recommend downloading the free Citimapper App, which always gives up to date information on the various transportation options)
Crossrail (opens 2019)
London Tube
ThamesLink Ferry
longggg walk


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