What Is There To Do In Canary Wharf?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 13 months ago
What Is There To Do In Canary Wharf?
Photo: JAY

To many Londoners, Canary Wharf is an area best avoided. Full of suited workers in the week, and an apparent ghost town at the weekends, why would you visit it?

Whether you're purposefully visiting the area, or just need to kill some time, take a look at what there is to do in Canary Wharf.

Dose up on history at Museum of London Docklands

Visit Sailortown. Photo: Museum of London Docklands

Museum of London's eastern outpost sits in the corner of the North Dock, with 10 permanent galleries covering the history of the Docklands area, including Docklands at War. There's also a chance to wander through the Victorian reconstruction 'Sailortown'. These displays are topped up with temporary exhibitions.

The family-friendly museum, situated in an old warehouse, has a café and restaurant, and the Mudlarks Gallery offers somewhere for children aged 8 and under to let off steam and get hands on. A solid programme of events for visitors of all ages offers talks, gallery tours, and craft activities, as well as more unusual events including Christmas craft markets and family raves.

Entry to the Museum of London Docklands is free, and the museum is open every day. For more history of the area, sign up to a Derelict London tour (these sell out months in advance).

Get arty

Photo: Tabish Khan

Canary Wharf, a cultural wasteland? Think again. It's actually home to one of the UK's largest collections of public art — we've been exploring and picked our highlights.

Download an art map and plan your trail, or simply wander among the docks, parks and skyscrapers and see what you stumble across.

Indulge in some retail therapy

Crossrail Place is an addition to Canary Wharf's shopping offerings, which also includes stores at Jubilee Place, Cabot Place and Canada Place — altogether they comprise Canary Wharf Shopping Centre. While many of the high end stores cater to the budgets of the people who work in the area, there are also a sprinkling of high street stores for those with more modest budgets. See the full shop directory.

Visit the Roof Garden

Photo: Andrew McCarter

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden is part of the Canary Wharf Crossrail station, a free public indoor oasis where the plants are arranged according to which hemisphere they're from.

The garden also incorporates a performance space where you might find yourself watching drama, music, dance or spoken word shows. See the forthcoming programme.

Kick back in the parks

Jubilee Park. Photo: arjyKlondon

Green spaces do indeed flourish among those skyscrapers. Alright, it's no Hyde Park, but Jubilee Park — perched atop Canary Wharf station — is replete with benches (be prepared to be fight for them on a weekday lunchtime).

Canada Square Park is a small patch of green enclosed by roads and buildings which, if we're being honest, feels more Manhattan than it does London.

Visit the flicks

Crossrail Place is home to Canary Wharf Everyman Cinema, a boutique-style cinema showing a mixture of newly-released and classic films. Expect armchairs and sofas, with foot rests. Posh stuff.

A short stroll from the Museum of London Docklands is the 10 screen Cineworld West India Quay, which tends to stick to the newer releases.

Events

Concert in Canada Square. Photo: Matt Brown

With an ice skating rink in winter and open air concerts, food markets and vintage fairs in the summer, there's a decent programme of events going on in and around Canary Wharf — and plenty of them are free. See details of forthcoming events.

Eating and drinking

From Starbucks and Taylor St Baristas to The Breakfast Club, Wetherspoon and Jamie's Italian, refuelling in and around Canary Wharf needn't be expensive — although if you're looking to push the boat out, there's plenty of scope for that too. See the full guide to cafes, bars and restaurants in the area.

See also: inside the skyscraper forest of Canary Wharf

Last Updated 10 January 2017