London Blog

The 10 best things about Canary Wharf

We also have an updated Canary Wharf guide here for you to check out.

  1. Transport Connectivity: Having great transport infrastructure is sometimes a bit of a dubious accolade. This writer has often had to remind property developers that being easily able to escape an area isn’t always a fantastic selling point. That said we all need to get to work or to college or to the shops. Canary Wharf station will take you to Bond Street station in the heart of the West End in 18 minutes and you don’t have to change lines.
  2. Shops Galore: At the heart if Canary Wharf is One Canada Place, the tallest building in the UK, at least until they complete The Shard in London Bridge. Underneath, is a vast subterranean complex of shops, cafes and restaurants. As well as traditional high street staple stores like HMV and Marks and Spencers there is also a full compliment of high fashion labels. There is everything from Hugo Boss and Jaeger to Karen Millen and Reiss. It’s essentially a giant shopping mall and is very popular with young families because everything is in one place and there are lots of loo facilities etc.
  3. International Feel: Canary Wharf is the obvious place to live for many of London’s international students. There are enough flats so that most people can find something to suit their budgets. Transport is great into the centre as we’ve mentioned and there is plenty on new build property, which are particularly popular with some foreign residents. The result is a very broad spectrum of people. There are lots of east asian folk as well as middle easterners, Americans and Spaniards.
  4. Water water everywhere: The great thing about Canary Wharf that there is loads of river frontage. That means there are lots of properties with direct river views. This is particularly great as the river is really wide at this point. It’s a joy to see the pleasure craft going up and downs as well as the commuter craft which go from Greenwich to Embankment. Its fun to see the party boats blasting out ‘Wham’ songs to cheering revellers.
  5. Anchored in Heritage: A charge often levelled against Canary Wharf is that it’s a bit soulless compared to other older parts of London. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the Victorian times the area was a bustling centre of shipping at the heart of the British Empire. Goods were loaded and unloaded from ships into wharfs (which stands for WareHouse At River Front.) They came from far flung parts of the world, a fact which echoes in place names like West India Quay and Canada Place.
  6. Restaurants and Cafes: There are a whole host of restaurants and cafes, some of the best being in and around West India Quay. These include Browns and La Tasca which are in a fantastically converted old wooden maritime building. Possibly the fanciest restaurant is the Boisdale which boasts a cigar menu as well as a vast selection of meats and game.
  7. Space to breath: You might not think of Canary Wharf as being one of London’s greener areas, but there are some fantastic parks, particularly to the south. There are some fairly token parks like the wonderfully named ‘Sir John McDougal Gardens’. But further down there is some marshland that has a nice country feel and it is quite surreal to see the skyscrapers looming in the distance.
  8. Shhhhhh!: A simple but an important thing about Canary Wharf is that it is really quiet. It’s not got massive arterial roads or train lines (apart from the DLR which is almost silent) so it’s very quiet. The river adds to the tranquility.
  9. Car Lovers’ paradise: Most of the new build schemes in Canary Wharf have secure underground parking. Elsewhere in London its very common to have to put up with on street parking, even for really fancy housing. There is loads of parking in the shopping mall and its free at the weekends if you spend over £10 so it’s great for doing big super market shops in Waitrose.
  10. Fly me to the moon: The cherry on the cake for Canary Wharf is that it has its own International airport! Yes, London City Airport serves over 30 destinations with international connections to hundreds more. Direct destinations include Chambery and Zurich if you’re going skiing, Barcelona if you fancy some sun and Florence or Milan if you fancy some culture.
February 28, 2012 rentonomy Topical