Canary Wharf: 21st century living

Canary Wharf: 21st century livingLooking at the docks of Canary Wharf, you might find it difficult to believe that this was once the busiest port in the world. The waters are largely empty, with only the occasional off-shore visitor choosing to moor his boat up in South Quay, where the cranes once used to hoist cargo off of tankers now hang useless.

Don't let this fool you though - Canary Wharf is one of the most hustling bustling places in London. Known for being the financial centre of Britain, the area surrounds the imposing tower of the same name, which dominates the skyline of the capital. Your needs will be well-catered for here, whether you're a shopaholic with a passion for fashion or an entertainment lover with a penchant for the cinema. Either way, read on to discover the delights of living in Canary Wharf.

Introductions

Prospective flat-viewer, meet Canary Wharf. Situated on the Isle of Dogs in the borough of Tower Hamlets, the district contains many of London's tallest buildings. Heavily bombed during the second world war, it received a radical redevelopment in 1988 that saw the area transformed. While its reputation as a workplace is well known, Canary Wharf is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, with everything from luxury riverside apartments to warehouse conversions positively bursting with character.

The housing here is of an extremely high standard - rentals range from £250 to £5,000 per week, according to Foxton's Estate Agents. Architecture-wise, expect smart modern buildings on a par with Manhattan's skyscrapers. Polished marble and shining glass are the buzzwords for much of the accommodation here, but there is a handful of gems to be scouted out if you're after something with a bit more character.

Location

If you want to be a little way out of the centre of town, yet only a 20-minute Tube ride from Embankment and Charing Cross, this is the right place to be. Canary Wharf's isolation can be your favourite aspect of the district or your worst nightmare depending on the kind of person you are. Although there are plenty of local amenities - gym, restaurants, shopping centres, bars and a plethora of Tescos - you'll be left wanting if you want to go clubbing. While Central London is easy enough to get to during the day, it's a bit more challenging at night. There's only one night bus, although you do have the Canary Wharf tower itself if you want to pick a landmark and start stumbling home.

The Wharf's status as the financial hub of Britain can account for a bustling atmosphere during the week, with plenty going on in the bars and restaurants along the river. It can also be held accountable for a much more subdued feeling during the weekends, although there's guaranteed to be some activity thanks to a vibrant local community. 

Shopping etc

For all your immediate needs, the sprawling shopping centre underneath the Canary Wharf tower is sure to provide. You'll find everything you could ever dream of in the way of high street names, and no fewer than four Tescos in the immediate vicinity. Fair enough - that's groceries and stationary sorted, as well as your banking. But what if you have a particular taste in clothes that simply can't be met by the likes of Gap and H&M? Fortunately, fashionistas are served by a small army of independent shops and designer boutiques offering a variety of great deals, so you won't need to skulk around Camden for something unique.

Entertainment is, surprisingly for such a business-orientated area, unexpectedly good. Notably, you'll be within easy reach of the O2 Arena, formerly known as the Dome, which hosts a wide variety of events from specialist tribal dance extravaganzas to the likes of Gaga and Snow Patrol. The nightlife here offers a vast variety of surroundings to get drunk in. Fancy cocktails with views over the Thames and the O2? Head over to Aston's champagne bar. Feeling the urge for a pint in a quirky pub with a friendly and social atmosphere? Get down to the rather excellent Pepper St Ontiod.

And speaking of quirkiness, the area regularly plays host to a number of unique public events. Everything from the London Ice sculpting festivals to occasions celebrating niche comedy and live music. You'll also be a stone's throw away from the ExCel Centre, London's premier location for exhibitions and home to a great variety of shows. Simply hop on the DLR and explore anything from the Comic Expo to the International Boat Show. No matter what day of the week it is, you're bound to find a good time here.

Transport

Even if you can't get everything you want in Canary Wharf, you'll find getting into Central London is a relatively easy commute, aside from the aforementioned difficulties of getting home after the tubes close. The Docklands Light Railway provides a rather scenic and pleasant journey across the capital into Bank or Stratford. If you're not fussed about the view, jump on the Underground for a 20-minute ride through the tunnels to Westminster and beyond.

While buses and taxis are less common here than in the more central areas, you'll still find plenty of both during the day if you prefer road to rail, particularly around financial district hotspots such as the Bank of America and Canada Square One.

Conclusions?

If you like a modern place to live, coupled with high-rise flats, convenience and a proximity to the river Thames, look no further than Canary Wharf. The area has plenty on offer, and if you happen to work close by, you also have the benefit of watching your sweaty Tube-fresh colleagues stumble in 20 minutes late, after you've enjoyed a leisurely walk.

Posted by Martyn Glynn

Published 29th April, 2013

© 2013 Estates IT Limited

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Looking at the docks of Canary Wharf, you might find it difficult to believe that this was once the busiest port in the world. The waters are largely empty, with only the occasional off-shore visitor choosing to moor his boat up in South Quay, where the cranes once used to hoist cargo off of tankers now hang useless.

Canary Wharf: 21st century living

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