Built on the rubble from centuries of London’s history, Canary Wharf is on the site of the famous West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs. The Mayflower set sail from nearby Rotherhithe Docks and at the height of the Port of London’s activity in the 1960s, over 60 million tons of cargo was being shipped around the globe. Following its closure in the 1980s, unable to keep up with the advances in technology & containerisation, Canary Wharf rose from the ashes and is now one of the most important financial centres in the world.
We were there for the World Travel Market at the nearby Excel Centre, and had plenty of time to see round the area. There’s quite a continental café society feel as there are lots of places to eat and drink, with little boutique shops alongside the famous name stores. For a comprehensive list check out My Canary Wharf We nipped into one of the bars overlooking the water – contemporary chic and friendly but can’t remember the name! Canada Square Park is the scene of many exciting outdoor events and the Ice Rink had just opened. If you got there any time until mid February you’ll be able to trip the light fantastic across the ice – not literally hopefully!
Gazing out at all the skyscrapers around it’s hard to imagine the life that was there before – but Billingsgate Market is one of the few old buildings that takes you right back to a bygone era. The smell of the fish hits you well before you get here and there’s a hustle and bustle to it that almost defies description: Roger Barton, a local fishmonger tells Visit Britain all about his daily routine here.
Over the coming months Docklands and Canary Wharf will become the centre of attention when London hosts the 2012 Olympics. Hopefully more people will have a chance to explore this dynamic area. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, than I can highly recommend CityBaseApartments but hurry because the best accommodation in London is booking up fast. And finally, if you are going via the Underground, make sure you take a ball of string with you, just in case …