Some think of One Canada Square when talking about Cary Wharf, and others picture a busy business district filled with lots of high-rise buildings surrounded by the River Thames. The beauty of this central London region shines through its many malls, relaxing parks, and exhilarating entertainment life.
Fine dining at its best comes from Boisdale with its unique cigar menu and Seoul Bird with its eclectic Korean Street food.
Have a walk in the Crossrail Roof Garden in nature and ample greenery to escape the city’s eclipse of huge skyscrapers. If that is not up to your liking, then strolling around the bays and West India Quay will give you a glimpse of what a thriving trade centre Canary Wharf used to be.
Read on to learn of all the major attractions you must visit in the vast 1.5 square meters filled with retail centres and office spaces. Get to know the best activities to indulge yourself in while visiting and where to get the most special meals when moving up and about.
15 Things to Do in Canary Wharf, London
One Canada Square
- Location(s): One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
- Things to do: Take pictures, shop, and walk-around
One Canada Square used to be the tallest building in the United Kingdom at 235 meters before The Shard took the title with its 310 meters height. One Canada Square is currently the third tallest building in the U.K., boasting 50 storeys and lots of space mainly used for offices and business.
It is synonymous and widely known for its pyramid-shaped rood and stainless steel clad. The building can be seen from the capital and acts as a landmark with a rich history and substantial cultural ties to the people of London.
It is a great place to visit when in Canary Wharf. Even though walking around the offices and retail stores may get boring, capturing a captivating photo to commemorate your visit to the magnificent region is more than worth it.
Museum of London Docklands
- Location(s): 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL
- Things to do: learn about London’s history, visit the children’s playground gallery, and partake in special events/exhibitions
The Museum of London Docklands is a great family-friendly place to visit when you are not travelling alone. Entrance into the museum is free, but some exhibitions and events get charged accordingly; check their official website for upcoming events and the respective charges.
It is a historical venue where you can learn the history of the docks and what role they played in shaping the culture and economic prosperity of Canary Wharf. It may be a small post compared to the main Museum of London, but you will find it more engaging, especially if you are curious about River Thames.
Artefacts from the main museum can be found here, and you can get to see the ship-shaped Port of London Authority archives.
The main gallery has permanent exhibitions explaining the story of London’s docks from its trade history to Docklands at War, slavery, sugar, dark alleys of London’s Sailortown, and a child dedicated gallery filled with interactive toys for young kids below 8 years of age.
- Location(s): Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
- Things to do: shop, eat, stroll in the roof garden, take lots of pictures
Crossrail Place is a mixed-use complex known for the Crossrail Roof Garden and the Canary Wharf Station. The ship-like building is said to be one of the largest timber projects ever to take place in the United Kingdom.
The Crossrail Roof Garden is open to the public and boasts lots of botanical life forms and specimens from all over the world, including Eastern and Western regions. Major attractions are the Australian ferns, Chinese bamboos, Japanese maples, and American sweetgums, which are plenty.
Crossrail Roof Garden is often compared to its more superior contender, the Sky Garden in London. It sets itself apart with a lavish performance stage for events and theatrical performances. There is also a dedicated street food hall filled with various international dishes and tempting flavours.
Apart from the magnificent nature-filled roof garden, the Crossrail Place is home to a cinema that showcases the biggest blockbusters and classics. It also houses several shops and mainly acts as a commercial area for retail stores and businesses.
The Canary Wharf Elizabeth line Box station is still under construction and is going to be key in connecting various business districts in London. Once the project is completed, the stations will have a connection that enables easy transportation through Paddington, Heathrow or Abbey Wood to the east and Reading to the west.
Ice Rink Canary Wharf
- Location(s): Canary Wharf, London E14 5AH
- Things to do: ice skating, socialize, have a drink
The twinkling Ice Rink in Canary Wharf is located in the Canada Square Park. Sessions on the ice last about one hour and twenty minutes which is plenty of time for avid skaters. Changing rooms is great for chatting, but you can also choose to take a break at the lovable bar section to drink some wine after the intense runs.
It is crucial to remember that the Ice Rink Canary Wharf has specific seasons but most coincide with the Christmas period starting as early as late October. Get a chance to swoosh under 1000 sparkling fairy lights every day of the week from s early as 9:30 am.
Ticket prices vary depending on the season and the age of each guest. Typical charges start from £13.50 for children between ages 4 and 12, £17.95 for ages 13 and older, and £53.95 for families with four pairs of skates.
The Off Piste Bar is the place to be for those who prefer to have a good view of the skating rink. It is a rink-side bar with a great selection of drinks and small bites, enough to quench the thirst and hunger of any intense skater.
- Location(s): Trafalgar Way Poplar, London E14 5ST
- Things to do: shop for fresh fish and learn about different kinds of seafood
Did you know that Billingsgate Fish Market is the United Kingdom’s largest inland fish market? The Market borders Canary Wharf and is located in the same borough, Tower Hamlets, as Canary Wharf.
Opening days are Tuesday through Saturday from 4 am to 9:30 am. If you do not want to get stuck in line or run into a lot of people, let alone miss out on the fresh seafood, you must visit the Market as early as 5 am.
Various tours can take you around Billingsgate Market and show you the culture/history of the region. Get to know more about seafood and many more aspects of the vast inland fishing network that runs the United Kingdom.
Third Space, World’s Largest Health Club
- Location(s): 16-19 Canada Square, London E14 5ER
- Things to do: swim, weight lift, train, cycle, wall climbing, and unwind
Third Space is Market at Europe’s largest luxury health club that offers top-of-the-line training services and high-class fitness programs. It is a huge space spanning across 100,000 square feet filled with a pool, studios, spas, a restaurant, and a large training area.
Over 300 training and fitness classes are offered each week with various weight loss, fitness, and muscle strengthening exercise.
Take the deepest dive of your life in the 23-metre pool with the newest U.V. tech that keeps the water as pure as possible. You may also choose to weight lift at the 10,000 square feet space with new equipment like the Technogym, Freemotion, and Cybex.
Unwind in the Mind & Body studio is fit for various activities like meditation classes, yoga, and barre. Climb the 13-meter wall filled with 25 routes and best meanders for real rock-climbing practices.
- Location(s): Middle Dock, Canary Wharf, London E14
- Things to do: swim, socialize
Take a swim in the waters of Middle Dock in a public setting with lots of other swimmers and many on lockers.
Suppose this seems like your ideal adventure, then you need to download the ACTiO app and pay for the NOWCA membership, which costs £15 per year. It is also important to remember that the swimming cost is £8 and is not covered by the yearly membership.
There are changing rooms available but remember they are mixed gender and the staff isn’t liable in case of any property loss. For any goods that need to be well kept, feel free to leave them at the reception area, but the staff recommends you leave valuables at home.
Take a few steps down the ramp leading to a 0.5m shallow end plunging you into the cool waters. Depths go from 2.5m afterwards up to 8 m deep.
Swimming is organized in types of loops that go around the swimming complex and bring you back to the starting venue. Depending on how long you want to swim, there are various loops: 250 m, 400, and 600 m.
- Location(s): Everyman Canary Wharf, Canary Wharf Outdoor Cinema, and Cineworld Cinema West India Quay
- Things to do: watch blockbuster movies and classics
Crossrail Place houses the most popular cinema in Canary Wharf, Everyman Canary Wharf. It is located at level 2 in the complex, easily accessible from all parts of London by tube, bus, Jubilee line, and buses that stop at Canary Wharf Station.
The cinema has three screens in addition to the fashionable bar filled with small bites and a great selection of drinks from alcoholic to non-alcoholic options.
Another cinema is Cineworld at West India Quay, one of London’s largest cinemas. Instead of three screens, Cineworld has ten screens together with 3D sections.
The Outdoor Cinema in Canary Wharf is seasonal and only open during the summer months, as you would expect. It is a great place to be with family watching classics and romantic comedies at the Canada Square Park venue.
- Location(s): Jubilee Park, Canada Square Park, and Mudchute Park & Farm
- Things to do: rest, walk in nature, have a picnic, bird-watching, and family-friendly activities
There are three major parks in Canary Wharf, with Jubilee Park being the main site. Jubilee Park is a serene open space with many tree species and lots of water features. The huge amount of greenery is great for disconnecting from the buzzing city life and relaxing in nature.
Another treasured nature space is Canada Square Park, but unlike Jubilee Park, the Canada Square space plays host to a variety of events and performances throughout the year. It is also where outdoor films are screened, surrounded by a sizeable number of places to drink and eat.
On the other hand, the Mudchute Park & Farm is an urban 32-acre area south of Canary Wharf filled with a farm, a nursery, and a vast array of educational things to do.
It is a charity community open to the public and dedicated to environmental conservation and animal rearing. Some animals you are bound to run into include horses, goats, chickens, pigs, sheep, and ponies.
Malls at Canary Wharf
- Location(s): The Canary Wharf Shopping Centers
- Things to do: shop, explore, get special offers
Being a commercial and business centre in London, you can expect a good amount of shopping and conventional malls in various corners. There are over 120 shopping stores and shops spread in the five main malls located in the region.
The five malls that make up the Canary Shopping Centre comprise Cabot Place West mall, Jubilee Place, Canada Place, Waitrose Canary Wharf, and Asda.
Asda offers 24-hour shopping and is very close to the Canary Wharf DLR station. It is also the place to be if you are looking for a £3 lunch café. Waitrose in Canary Wharf is the largest branch of the store in London and has its usual high-quality products.
Head into Jubilee Place if you are interested in an underground mall decorated with modern shapes and glass walls. Cabot Place is great if you want three full hours of free parking.
- Location(s): GoBoat at Churchill Place and Canary Wharf Pier
- Things to do: ride in self-driving boats, explore the bays
Located next to the bays and quay, you can expect Canary Wharf to have a selection of boating experiences to ease your commute and travels around the area. One of the most popular offerings is the GoBoat tours.
GoBoat is a self-driving boating adventure where you get into one of the tour’s boats and get to be the captain. Set a destination and route, sit back and relax as the boat takes you through amazing sites from Canary Wharf to Docklands.
Canary Wharf Pier also provides Uber Boats to help travellers connect from Canary Wharf to other districts in the heart of London in under seven minutes.
West India Quay
- Location(s): West India Quay on the quayside, London E14 4AL
- Things to do: watch a movie in the cinema, visit the museum, dine in the Marriot hotel
West India Quay not only has the Cineworld Cinema but also offers various outdoor eating and drinking venues. It is also where the Museum of London Docklands is situated between two traditional brick warehouses. It is open all week from 6 am and closes as early as 10:30 pm.
Art Installations, Events, and Exhibitions
- Location(s): Various places in Canary Wharf
- Things to do: visit art exhibitions and partake in events
Summer lights Canary Wharf is one of the most sort-after art exhibitions in Canary Wharf. It depicts the beauty of the summer season with mesmerizing artworks and light shows that light up and bring joy to the beautiful season. There are over 100 art pieces on display to the public.
Some of the famous art installations are placed at Westferry Circus, Cabot, Canada Square, Crossrail Place, Jubilee Park, and Bank Street.
Yearly Festivals, Celebrations, and Events
- Location(s): Canary Wharf parks and malls
- Things to do: socialize, win tournaments
Several sports events are hosted in Canary Wharf throughout the year. One such big event is the London Marathon which passes through Canary Wharf 19 miles from the starting line. Get to participate and cheer on your friends in this crowd-favourite marathon.
Sporting events are usually shown on the big screens at the Canada Square Park from time to time, especially during summer. The most popular screen events are usually Formula 1 Races and Ascot.
Eating & Drinking Out at Canary Wharf Major Restaurants
- Location(s): Various Canary Wharf bars and restaurants
- Things to do: go for brunch, socialize, attend events, perform
Boisdale has a special cigar menu which sets it apart from most restaurants in London, let alone the United Kingdom. Have a great weekend brunch filled with bottomless drinks/food at venues like Electric Shuffle, Big Easy, and No. 35.
Drinks are in plenty, and music fills the upbeat ambience in Canary Wharf bars, from Bokan 38 Bar to the Lowback Bar. Enter Seoul Bird to feast on unique Korean street foods, or go to Wharf Kitchen at Jubilee Place for a convenient dining location in the centre of Canary Wharf.
Pergola is a mind-blowing botanical waterside Eden that is angelic from its natural ambience to its floor-to-ceiling windows bringing in maximum natural light during the day and mesmerizing night views of London during the night.
Very few bars can beat the bar section of Big Easy, with over 500 types of whiskies and a huge collection of signature slushy cocktails.
The award-winning wine list of Bar B.Q., as most call Bar Easy, is well complimented by the daily live music that creates a lively and enjoyable atmosphere. It is the largest Big Easy location in the United Kingdom which adds to the spectacular views of Canary Wharf from its roof terrace.
Bring your own wine at a small £5 corkage fee to the Hawksmoor in Wood Wharf. The restaurant is laid in a floating pavilion, bringing you a special New York experience in London. Feast on the flavorful Manhattan steakhouse or partake in Hawksmoor’s award-winning Sunday Lunch
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Worth Going to Canary Wharf?
Canary Wharf has a lot of attractions for new visitors. There is the Museum of London Docklands that celebrates local history and culture. The streets are filled with art installations and beautiful artworks.
You also get a lot of local and international flavours in the many Canary Wharf restaurants and do not forget the many marathons and tournaments held in the area each year.
What Is the Canary Wharf Famous For?
The One Canada Square building is one of the most famous features of Canary Wharf. It is a 235-meter high-rise building spanning 50 stories. It was the tallest structure in the U.K. till 2010, when The Shard took surpassed it.
Apart from One Canada Square, Canary Wharf is known for its art exhibitions, parks like Jubilee Park, shopping malls like Canada Place, and museums.
Who Is the Owner of Canary Wharf?
Canary Wharf Group is a British Property Company that owns and operates lots of properties in Canary Wharf, covering about 0.40 square kilometres.
Control over the region was bought in 1995 for $1.2 billion by Canary Wharf Group before going public in 1999.
What Does Canary Wharf Stand For?
The letters in Canary Wharf do not stand for anything in particular but have their origins in sea trade. The name means dogs in Latin and dates back to Docklands’ history when trade used to take place with the Canary Islands. Its naming is also related to the Isle of Dogs region in which it is located.
Can You Walk Around Canary Wharf?
According to local reports, Canary Wharf is one of the safest places to walk around in London. The very commercial region has an estimated crime rate of 16.58 per one thousand people, which is low compared to most London regions.