Canary Wharf might not be an area of London you think offers much more than men in suits and skyscrapers galore but there’s more to it than meets the eye and it’s a far cheaper location for an overnight stay than some of the more central areas of the city. So what is there to do? Where should you go? My things to do series is here to help with a full days itinerary all mapped out for you. Follow it religiously or pick and choose the things that suit your schedule – it’s up to you! Just be sure to have fun exploring.
Discover the history of the London docklands
I spend a lot of time hanging out in West India Quay as I go to the cinema there quite a bit but until recently I hadn’t been to the Museum of London Docklands. Dedicated to the history of London as a shipping port it’s quite obvious that the museum is more aimed towards school-age children and especially school groups but there is still plenty for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable so if you want more in depth information I’d recommend joining one of their guided tours. Like many other London museums entrance is free although there is a suggested donation of £5 which goes towards the upkeep of the museum for future visitors.
Lunch at The Ledger Building
The Ledger Building might be part of the Wetherspoons chain of pubs but you know what? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The prices are cheap, the menu is varied and you know the quality of the food is going to be of a certain standard. It’s literally right next door to the museum too. It’s absolutely huge inside given that it used to house the ledgers of the West India Docks – if you hadn’t already guessed that from the name! My favourite thing about this place however is the bathroom though, it’s so huge you could totally throw a party in there.
Crossrail roof garden
The area is undergoing some development work due to the Crossrail project and one of the best things to come of it so far – apart from all the extra restaurants that have popped up – is the Crossrail roof garden. A positively peaceful environment which is perfect for a quick stroll after a heavy lunch where you can find out more about plants from some of the countries that would have docked their trading ships in the Quays 200 years ago including some unusual bamboos from the east.
Go on a shopping spree
It might not be the first place you think of for a shopping spree but did you know that there are actually four different shopping malls in Canary Wharf with more than 200 shops, bars, cafes and restaurants? Unlike both Westfield shopping centres that seem to be super busy and overcrowded people don’t seem to have caught on to the fact that they can visit most of the same stores here but without the crowds!
Dinner at Rum & Sugar
After all that shopping you’re going to need to refuel once more and I thoroughly recommend Rum & Sugar to you having been here multiple times. (You can read my previous review here.) They also do two for the price of one cocktails between 4-6pm and have recently launched a new Caribbean themed menu which I can’t wait to try. If you want to make an evening of it they have the most extensive menu of rum in London some of which you can taste as part of their rum masterclasses. Perfect for rum lovers!
After a long day you won’t want to have to go far before you can curl up in a soft, warm bed. There are a couple of big chains like Hilton and Marriott nearby but for a budget stay you can’t do better than Tune hotels. It’s a no frills hotel that charges for extras like towel rental, late check out and WiFi. The cheaper rooms don’t have windows but every room has its own en suite bathroom, 40″ TV with 50 channels, 3 power sockets per room and a separate USB charging point it really does have everything you need for an overnight stay.