A Canary Wharf Area Guide

Located in the West India Docks region of the London borough of Tower Hamlet, Canary Wharf is one of London’s main business districts. Here, clusters of office skyscrapers and luxurious high-rise residential buildings tower the picturesque West Indian dock, creating a beautiful blend of the old and the new.

Despite being a business district, this scenic area has virtually infinite fun things to do. Check out the history, interesting facts, and some of the must-visit spots in Canary Wharf.

The Making of Canary Wharf

The London docklands have always been critical to London’s financial health and the UK at large. Before Canary Wharf came to be, the West India docks were one of the busiest shipping ports in the entire British Empire. This, however, went down the drain fast after the mass bombing of the area by German troops during the Second World War. Regeneration began in the early 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1988 that the foundation works on Canary Wharf kicked off.

The first buildings in the area were completed in 1991 and included One Canada Square, a 50-story building that was London’s tallest building until 2012 when the Shard, a 95-storey building was launched. Since then, this area has grown in leaps and bounds and is one of the UK’s leading business hubs.

It has an estimated 14-million square feet of office space that accommodates the over 150,000 employees who work in the area. Canary Wharf got its name from No. 32 West Wood Quay, a berth built specifically for Fruit Lines, a fruit trading company that would import fruits and veggies from the Canary Islands and export them to other areas through ships.

Interesting Facts about Canary Wharf

Here are three- interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Canary Wharf:

  • Canary Wharf hosts over 100 art events annually
  • The Canary Wharf’s tube station is enormous enough to accommodate One Canada Square in a vertical position
  • The Isle of Dogs, where Canary Wharf is situated, is said to have been where Edward III kept his greyhounds

Fun Things to Do in Canary Wharf

Here are some fun things to do during your visit to Canary Wharf:

Explore Public Art Installations

If there’s one thing Canary Wharf founders did right, is add artistic touches throughout this district. Canary Wharf is dotted with over 100 pieces of sculptures, paintings, and all sorts of public art installations that’ll leave you mesmerized, such as the bandaged face of a sleeping head by Igor Mitoraj. Download the art map here to enjoy a seamless art hunting experience during your visit.

Check Out Canary Wharf’s Shopping Centre

Suppose shopping is more your cuppa, head over to the Canary Wharf Shopping Centre. Here you’ll find small boutiques to high street stores like Waitrose, eateries, department stores, and chain stores dealing designer labels to fitness, homeware, and beauty products across five Canary Wharf malls. The best part? They’re all underground malls, so you’re rewarded with a shopping experience like no other.

Other fun things to try in Canary Wharf:

  • Stroll the Crossrail Roof Gardens
  • Check out the museum of London Docklands
  • Try the Meantime Brewery tour
  • Roam the Jubilee Park

Explore Canary Wharf

Once the UK’s busiest shipping port, Canary Wharf is a fast-growing financial hub with clusters of modern office skyscrapers, high-rise retail, residential buildings, underground malls, and more than enough public parks awaiting exploration.