things to do in canary wharf

Last Updated on: 26th June 2024, 06:09 am

Welcome to the vibrant financial district of London – Canary Wharf. This area has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, attracting visitors with its stunning architecture, riverside dining, public art installations, shopping, and many more exciting activities. In this article, I will be sharing some of the best things to do in Canary Wharf that will make your trip to London an unforgettable experience. Whether you visit Canary Wharf for a day or a week, there is something for everyone.

Things to Do in Canary Wharf

1. Exploring the Docklands

During your visit to Canary Wharf, a stroll through the Docklands should not be missed. Enjoy the stunning views of the river Thames and marvel at the impressive skyscrapers that define this area. Make sure to visit the Museum of London Docklands to learn about the rich history of this once bustling port.

Docklands

“The Docklands have been an integral part of London’s history and economy for centuries. From large ships to skyscrapers, the transformation of this area is a testament to the city’s resilience and innovation.”

Located in the historic West India Quay, the Museum of London Docklands explores the city’s unique relationship with the river Thames. The museum features interactive exhibits that showcase the area’s intriguing heritage as a trading centre, including artefacts from the East India Company.

Attractions in the Docklands Opening hours
Museum of London Docklands 10am-6pm (Daily)
Canary Wharf Riverside Open all day
The Reach Climbing Wall 9am-10pm (Weekdays), 9am-8pm (Weekends)

Spend an afternoon exploring the Docklands and get a glimpse into the city’s illustrious past.

2. Shopping at Canary Wharf

Indulge in a shopping spree at Canary Wharf, where you’ll find a plethora of luxury boutiques and high-end stores. From designer fashion to home decor, this vibrant area has everything a shopaholic could desire, all in one place.

Head to Jubilee Place Mall for popular designer brands like Ted Baker, Reiss, and Hobbs. The mall also has several beauty and cosmetic stores, including Kiehl’s and Rituals.

If you’re looking for a diverse selection of shops, visit Canary Wharf Shopping Centre. With over 120 stores, you’ll find everything from high-street brands like Marks & Spencer and Topshop to luxury labels such as Tiffany & Co. and Montblanc.

Furthermore, Cabot Place is an excellent spot for designer shopping. Housing stores such as Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, and Oliver Bonas, the mall lets you shop for the latest fashion trends to keep your style game strong.

Popular Stores at Canary Wharf

Type of Store Store Name
Designer Fashion Ted Baker
Designer Fashion Reiss
Designer Fashion Hobbs
Beauty and Cosmetics Kiehl’s
Beauty and Cosmetics Rituals
High-street Fashion Marks & Spencer
High-street Fashion Topshop
Luxury Labels Tiffany & Co.
Luxury Labels Montblanc

Canary Wharf Shopping

Once you’re done with your shopping spree, refuel your energy level with some delicious food at any of the many restaurant options available. From casual cafes to upscale dining, Canary Wharf caters to all taste buds.

Whether you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or treating yourself to a little luxury, Canary Wharf is your one-stop destination for a fabulous shopping experience.

3. Dining with a View

Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience with breathtaking views of the Thames. Canary Wharf boasts a variety of top-notch restaurants and bars, offering cuisines from around the world. From Japanese sushi to succulent steak, and Mediterranean dishes, your taste buds will be spoilt for choice. Moreover, with restaurants at the heart of Canary Wharf and some with exceptional views across the Thames, you can savour your meals with incredible views of London’s skyline.

If you wish to have a luxurious dining experience in Canary Wharf, head to Plateau, located on the fourth floor of Canada Place. You can enjoy contemporary French cuisine crafted by superbly skilled chefs with panoramic views of the city.

Alternatively, if you appreciate Asian cuisine and lovely sunset views, Roka’s Japanese robatayaki-style dishes with its calm ambiance might be your preferred option. For those who enjoy a bit of history, visit The Breakfast Club, an all-day breakfast restaurant located in a Grade II listed building. The restaurant has a beautiful vintage-inspired decor and is perfect for breakfast lovers.

Canary Wharf Dining

Tip: Make sure you book your table in advance, especially for restaurants with a view.

4. Exploring Public Art

Canary Wharf is renowned for its dedication to public art, with dozens of installations scattered throughout the area. These sculptures and artworks are sure to catch your eye during your visit. Take a self-guided tour and discover the vibrant creative scene that Canary Wharf has to offer.

One of the most famous installations is the “Big Blue” sculpture by Ron Arad. This striking piece stands tall at 12 meters and features steel ribbons woven together to form a magnificent, undulating structure. Another must-see artwork is the “Traffic Light Tree” by Pierre Vivant. This eye-catching installation features a cluster of fully functioning traffic lights arranged in the shape of a tree.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just appreciate beautiful works of creativity, exploring public art in Canary Wharf is a must. It’s a great way to discover the imaginative side of the business district and to appreciate the unique cultural landscape of the area.

Public Art in Canary Wharf

5. Enjoying Green Spaces

Despite being a bustling business hub, Canary Wharf offers several green spaces where you can unwind and relax. Visit Jubilee Park or Westferry Circus Gardens to enjoy a peaceful stroll amidst lush greenery. These tranquil spots provide a welcome escape from the busy city life.

Take a break from the office and soak in some fresh air while surrounded by nature. Both Jubilee Park and Westferry Circus Gardens offer beautifully maintained lawns and gardens, perfect for a picnic or simply a peaceful stroll. Discover vibrant flower beds, striking sculptures, and serene water features that add to the calming ambience of these green spaces.

6. Exploring the Thames Path

Walking along the Thames Path is an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty of London. The path stretches for miles, connecting fascinating landmarks and attractions along the way. From Canary Wharf, stroll around the city’s historic wharves and discover the area’s rich maritime heritage. Take in the sights of the iconic Tower Bridge or visit the impressive Tower of London, both located within walking distance from the path.

Enjoy the fresh air and tranquil scenery contrasted against the bustling city center. The path offers stunning panoramic views of the river Thames and the city’s skyline. Keep an eye out for hidden gems and picturesque spots like the picturesque St Katharine Docks, where you can see some of the most beautiful boats on the Thames.

“The Thames Path offers an incredible perspective of the city, giving you a glimpse of the true beauty of London in all its glory.”

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoy a relaxing picnic, or savour a cup of coffee from one of the many stops along the path. The trail is also ideal for running, cycling or rollerblading, with lots of open spaces and smooth paths to enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

7. Visit One Canada Square and go to the top for panoramic views of London

Visiting One Canada Square and going to the top for panoramic views of London is a fantastic idea! As one of the tallest buildings in the city, it offers stunning views of the London skyline. The view from the top of One Canada Square provides a unique perspective of iconic landmarks such as The Shard, Tower Bridge, and the River Thames.

You can enjoy breathtaking views of both the city’s historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, giving you a glimpse of London’s rich architectural heritage. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the cityscape from this vantage point.

Visiting One Canada Square is a must-do experience for anyone exploring Canary Wharf and looking to appreciate the beauty of London from above. Enjoy your visit and soak in the spectacular panoramic views!

8. Check out the contemporary art at the Canary Wharf Art Collection

Exploring the contemporary art at the Canary Wharf Art Collection is a wonderful way to appreciate culture and creativity while in the area. The Canary Wharf Art Collection features an impressive selection of sculptures, installations, and artworks by both established and emerging artists.

The collection is spread throughout public spaces, lobbies, and outdoor areas in Canary Wharf, creating a unique art-walk experience for visitors. You’ll encounter a diverse range of artistic styles, from abstract sculptures to interactive installations, each adding vibrancy and character to the surroundings.

Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with these artworks, as they offer a glimpse into the dynamic world of contemporary art. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate visual aesthetics, the Canary Wharf Art Collection is sure to captivate and inspire you during your visit.

Take your time to stroll through the collection, immerse yourself in the art, and perhaps even discover a new favorite artist or piece. Enjoy this cultural exploration and the artistic expressions that Canary Wharf has to offer!

9. Go ice skating in Canada Square Park

Ice skating in Canada Square Park is a delightful activity, especially during the winter months when the park transforms into a magical ice rink. The experience of gliding gracefully on the ice surrounded by the stunning skyscrapers of Canary Wharf creates a cozy and festive atmosphere.

Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, the ice rink at Canada Square Park provides a fun and enjoyable way to spend time with family and friends. Skating under the twinkling lights and festive decorations adds an extra touch of holiday charm to your visit.

Make sure to bundle up warmly, lace up your skates, and take to the ice for a memorable and joyful skating session. It’s a fantastic opportunity to create lasting memories and embrace the winter spirit in the heart of Canary Wharf.

Don’t forget to capture the moment with some photos or simply bask in the joy of gliding on the ice in this picturesque setting. Enjoy your time ice skating at Canada Square Park!

10. Relax by the water features in Cabot Square

Relaxing by the water features in Cabot Square is a serene and tranquil experience in the bustling Canary Wharf area. Cabot Square offers a peaceful oasis where you can unwind, recharge, and enjoy the calming sounds of the flowing water.

The elegant water features in Cabot Square create a soothing ambiance, making it an ideal spot to sit back, relax, and take a moment for yourself. Whether you’re looking to read a book, have a quiet conversation, or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings, the water features provide a picturesque backdrop for your relaxation.

You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll around the square, admire the modern sculptures and landscaping, and take in the refreshing atmosphere of this urban oasis. It’s a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering a moment of tranquility amidst the vibrant energy of Canary Wharf.

So, find a tranquil spot by the water features in Cabot Square, unwind, and let yourself be immersed in the peaceful charm of this lovely outdoor space. It’s a wonderful way to rejuvenate and appreciate the beauty of nature within the heart of the city.

11. Visit the Winter Lights festival if you’re there in January

Attending the Winter Lights festival in Canary Wharf is a magical experience that you definitely shouldn’t miss if you’re in the area in January. The Winter Lights festival is an annual event that transforms Canary Wharf into a dazzling display of light art installations, illuminating the district with creativity and innovation.

During the festival, you can wander through the streets and open spaces to discover a stunning array of light sculptures, interactive displays, and immersive artworks created by talented artists from around the world. The combination of light, color, and technology creates a mesmerizing atmosphere that captivates visitors of all ages.

Exploring the Winter Lights festival offers a unique opportunity to see Canary Wharf in a whole new light, quite literally. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking for a magical experience, this festival promises to enchant and inspire with its captivating displays.

So, mark your calendar for January and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of light art at the Winter Lights festival in Canary Wharf. It’s a wonderful way to brighten up the winter nights and create lasting memories in this vibrant urban setting.

12. Explore the shops at Jubilee Place shopping mall

Exploring the shops at Jubilee Place shopping mall in Canary Wharf is a fantastic way to indulge in retail therapy and discover a diverse array of stores offering everything from fashion and beauty to homeware and electronics.

Jubilee Place is a premier shopping destination within Canary Wharf, featuring a mix of high-end brands, designer boutiques, popular chain stores, and specialty shops. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends, unique gifts, or everyday essentials, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

Take your time wandering through the mall’s stylish and spacious corridors, browsing through the various shops, and treating yourself to a shopping spree. From luxury labels to affordable finds, Jubilee Place caters to a range of tastes and preferences, making it a one-stop destination for all your shopping needs.

Don’t forget to check out the dining options available at the mall, whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal after your shopping excursion. Jubilee Place offers a vibrant shopping experience in the heart of Canary Wharf, combining convenience, variety, and style for a memorable retail adventure.

So, grab your shopping bags and get ready to explore the diverse shops at Jubilee Place shopping mall for a day of retail therapy and discovery in this bustling business district.

13. Visit the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre

Visiting the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre in Canary Wharf is a great way to engage in outdoor activities and enjoy the beauty of the waterfront. The center offers a variety of water-based experiences and programs for individuals of all ages and skill levels.

At the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, you can partake in activities such as sailing, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Whether you’re a seasoned water sports enthusiast or a beginner looking to try something new, there are opportunities for everyone to get out on the water and have an adventure.

In addition to recreational activities, the center also provides accredited courses, training sessions, and group events for those interested in developing their skills or trying competitive water sports. The knowledgeable staff and instructors are on hand to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a leisurely day by the water, the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre offers a dynamic and engaging environment for aquatic enthusiasts. So, gear up, set sail, and make the most of your time at this exciting water sports hub in Canary Wharf!

14. Try out some water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking

Trying out water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking in Canary Wharf is a thrilling way to enjoy the scenic waterfront and get active outdoors. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, these activities offer a fun and refreshing way to explore the area from a unique perspective.

Paddleboarding, also known as stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), involves standing on a board and using a paddle to propel yourself through the water. It’s a great full-body workout that also allows you to soak in the beautiful surroundings while gliding across the water.

Kayaking is another popular water sport that involves paddling a small boat (kayak) through the water. It’s a versatile activity that can be enjoyed solo or with a partner, providing a sense of adventure and tranquility as you navigate the waterways around Canary Wharf.

Both paddleboarding and kayaking are accessible to beginners and offer a fun way to improve balance, strength, and coordination while enjoying the outdoors. Whether you choose to paddle along the Thames or explore the water features in the area, you’re sure to have a memorable experience on the water.

15. Visit the Greenwich Peninsula via the Emirates Air Line cable car

Visiting the Greenwich Peninsula via the Emirates Air Line cable car is a unique and scenic way to travel between Canary Wharf and Greenwich while enjoying panoramic views of the River Thames and London’s iconic landmarks. The cable car ride offers a bird’s-eye perspective of the cityscape, providing a memorable experience as you soar above the river and take in the breathtaking views below.

The Emirates Air Line cable car journey offers a tranquil and leisurely ride, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings from a different vantage point. Whether you’re a tourist looking to sightsee or a local seeking a novel mode of transportation, the cable car provides an exciting and picturesque journey across the Thames, making your visit to the Greenwich Peninsula a memorable and scenic adventure.

16. Watch a movie at the Everyman Cinema

Watching a movie at the Everyman Cinema in Canary Wharf is a luxurious and immersive cinematic experience that combines comfort, style, and quality entertainment. The Everyman Cinema offers a boutique movie-watching experience with plush seating, state-of-the-art sound and visual technology, and a diverse selection of mainstream and indie films.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite movies in a cozy and upscale setting, complete with in-seat food and drink service for a truly indulgent movie-going experience. Whether you’re catching the latest blockbuster, an independent film, or a classic favorite, the Everyman Cinema provides a sophisticated and intimate atmosphere for film enthusiasts to unwind and escape into the world of cinema.

Treat yourself to a night out at the movies at the Everyman Cinema in Canary Wharf for a premium viewing experience that elevates your love for film and entertainment. It’s a perfect way to unwind, immerse yourself in a captivating story, and enjoy top-notch cinematic quality in a sophisticated and stylish setting.

17. Play a round of golf at the nearby Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range

Playing a round of golf at the nearby Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors and practice your swing in a scenic setting. The golf range offers a spacious and well-maintained facility where golfers of all skill levels can tee off, practice their shots, and work on improving their game.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to refine your skills or a beginner wanting to try your hand at the sport, the Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range provides a welcoming environment with facilities such as driving ranges, putting greens, and professional coaching services. It’s a great opportunity to challenge yourself, relax in nature, and enjoy a round of golf with friends or family.

So, grab your clubs, hit the greens, and soak in the tranquil surroundings of the Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range for a memorable golfing experience that combines recreation, relaxation, and outdoor fun in the heart of Canary Wharf. It’s the perfect way to unwind, enjoy some friendly competition, and appreciate the beauty of the game in a picturesque setting.

Conclusion

Welcome to Canary Wharf, the perfect destination for a London adventure! From exploring the Docklands to shopping at luxury boutiques, there is no shortage of things to do in this vibrant area. Indulge in delicious dining options with stunning riverside views, explore the impressive public art installations, and unwind in peaceful green spaces.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Canary Wharf offers a dynamic and unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the exciting spirit of London. Start planning your next London adventure and discover all that Canary Wharf has to offer.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through the best things to do in Canary Wharf. I hope that you found this guide informative and that it inspires you to explore this exciting neighbourhood. Until next time, happy travels!

FAQ

Is Canary Wharf worth visiting?

Yes, Canary Wharf is worth visiting for its impressive skyscrapers, shopping options, and waterfront views. It’s a vibrant business district with dining and entertainment choices to explore.

What is famous about Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf is famous for being one of London’s major financial hubs, with iconic skyscrapers like One Canada Square, as well as its shopping malls, restaurants, and cultural events such as the Winter Lights festival.

What to see in Canary Wharf for free?

There are several free things to do in Canary Wharf, including visiting Jubilee Park for a relaxing green space, exploring the public art installations around the area, walking along the waterfront for stunning views of the Thames River, and attending various free events such as music concerts and exhibitions.

What are the hidden gems in Canary Wharf?

Some hidden gems in Canary Wharf include visiting the Crossrail Place Roof Garden for a peaceful retreat, discovering the Museum of London Docklands to learn about the area’s history, exploring the Mudchute Park and Farm for a countryside feel in the city, and enjoying a meal at one of the lesser-known eateries along the waterfront.

Is Canary Wharf expensive?

Canary Wharf is known to be a relatively upscale area, with high-end shops, restaurants, and property prices. While there are options for different budgets, overall, the cost of living and dining out in Canary Wharf tends to be on the higher side compared to some other parts of London.

How much does it cost to go to the roof garden in Canary Wharf?

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf is free to visit and open to the public. It offers a peaceful oasis with lush greenery, stunning views, and a variety of plants from around the world. Enjoying the garden is a wonderful cost-free experience for both locals and visitors alike.

Why is Canary Wharf called Canary?

Canary Wharf is named after the trade of fruit that was conducted in the area during the 19th and early 20th centuries. “Canary” refers to the canary birds that were once kept on ships to detect toxic gases in the coal mines, as well as to the Canary Islands, where the fruit was imported from.