Renowned as one of London’s major business hubs, Canary Wharf’s also fast becoming a trend-setting destination for curious tourists visiting the UK capital. To be found in the city’s Tower Hamlets borough of East London, it’s well-known for being a showcase of sleek, modern, world-class architecture, lending it an irresistibly vibrant, cosmopolitan feel. However, as more and more people flock to the area for work, thousands have also laid down roots and now live in the district, which has ensured it excels as a cultural centre for art, film, music, museums and theatre – and not just for locals, but visitors from all over the world…
Canada Square Park
A man-made pasture of green slap-bang in the middle of the Canary Wharf area, Canada Square Park was created not just to offer local workers a pleasant place to go at lunchtime, but also as an open space to be filled with events that might attract families and visitors of all kinds at different times of the year. To this end then, there’s a multitude of things going on there during the warm summer months.
Whether it be open-air theatre (fun shows for kids or serious efforts like Shakespeare), outdoor cinema, public screenings showcasing the best major sporting events (including the Olympics and Paralympics), ballet and classical music concerts, sports activities or food markets; there’s something for everyone going on in the park at some point – check what’s on right now by visiting the Canary Wharf events website. Plus, open during the autumn and winter months (between 29th October and 25th February), the park’s ice skating rink is the ideal spot to indulge the kids during a family day out. Its features include London’s only skate-path, a glistening trail of fairy-light-illuminated trees set beneath the soaring towers of the surrounding buildings.
Museums and monuments
An extension of the comprehensive Museum of London located in the St. Paul’s area of The City (which isn’t far from the Montcalm Brewery hotel London, in fact), the Museum of the London Docklands is a fascinating attraction which brilliantly fills in the historical gaps of this intriguing area that, after all, contains so many echoes of its maritime and industrial past (thanks to all the factory-like brick buildings and Victorian-looking crane equipment dotted about here and there). Inside the museum, you’ll discover a large collection of artefacts, models and pictures from across the many different eras of significance in the wharf’s history, from when the first Roman port was built on the Thames right up to the closure of London’s docks in the 1970s – as well as the later transformation of the area via commercial and residential developments that resulted in how it appears today.
For art-lovers in particular, there’s also a pair of unique monuments; two Canary Wharf attractions that no visit to the district would be complete without discovering. The first is Traffic Light Tree which, created by Pierre Vivant, comprises 75 traffic lights and supposedly conveys the district’s hectic identity and personality, specifically its ‘impatience and keenness’. The other structure you should check out is Centaur in Montgomery Square; created by Igor Mitoraj, it’s a take on the half-man, half-horse creature of Greek mythology.
Cafés and restaurants
Canary Wharf has achieved real notoriety over the years for the quality of its eating-out options. If sitting back to enjoy a relaxed brunch of a weekend sounds good or letting time idle by as you enjoy a glass of something bubbly to the tune of live jazz is to your taste, then it’s not only the place to be – it’s also the place to be seen. Carluccio’s especially is very popular for its sweet treats and Sunday morning/ afternoon experience, while Le Pain Quotidien offers fine food and a laid-back vibe.
For food on the go, Tom’s Kitchen Deli is ideal – its selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and cakes goes down a treat with busy visitors, while other dining options include Hibiscus, Galvin at Windows, Hakkasan and L’Etalier de Joel Robuchon. You might also want to sample successful restaurants such as Amerigo Vespucci, The Pearson Room, Plateau and Poncho 8. Finally, if you can’t get enough of Italian cuisine then you have to try Obica Mozzarella Bar’s cheese specialties along with its pasta, pizza or smoked salmon.
The main shopping mall in the Canary Wharf area is Jubilee Place, which features a fine selection of high street stores offering apparels and accessories like Banana Republic and Michael Kors, as well as homewares outlets such as The White Company. Meanwhile, the Cabot Place shopping centre at Cabot Square contains high-end brand stores including Alfred Dunhill, Church’s English Shoes, Jaeger Menswear, Pandora, River Island and jewellery giant Tiffany & Co. – which would make for a gem of a shopping trip, for sure!