Docklands: Dock in at your new place or it will not get put into Docklands on Net-lettings

Docklands: Dock in at your new place or it will not get put into Docklands on Net-lettingsThe once much-maligned London Docklands is fast making a reputation for itself as a residential hub, as well as the centre of the UK's financial economy. Once the largest port in the world, the shipping offices and warehouses that once dominated the area have largely given way to skyscrapers and new-build houses. Huge cranes once used for unloading cargo are now motionless in their cradles, but this doesn't mean the area has lost any of the fizz and bustle it possessed while it was a shipping hub.

If you enjoy the gentle sound of lapping water in the evening and views across the landmarks of southern London - the O2, the Thames and the Shard - as well as a tight-knit community and easy access to the centre of town, then London Docklands is most certainly for you. But before you pick up the quays (ho ho) to your new place, there are some things you'll need to know.

Getting your bearings

It's important to get your bearings around London town. The term 'Docklands' loosely refers to the area surrounding - and including - the Isle of Dogs. Districts and boroughs include Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Lewisham and Royal Greenwich. Because of the different atmospheres and environments of each area, you have a huge level of choice when it comes to selecting a property. There's something for everyone. Young adults may be inclined to head for Greenwich, where the area's renowned university guarantees a strong student presence and a lively atmosphere. Families may be more inclined to head towards Southwark to experience a more suburban environment and a number of excellent schools.

Stylewise, Docklands veers towards the new-build. The area received plenty of attention during the war and German planes dropped around 2,500 bombs in the vicinity. Since then, a vast regeneration effort has restored much of the damage, with a plethora of new-build flats and apartments replacing all that was destroyed. That doesn't mean you won't find something with character in Docklands as some areas feature old warehouses that have since been converted into flats. If you can afford it, splash out on one with a balcony as the views in the evening are spectacular.

While there is a preconception that much of Docklands shuts down over the weekend, this is not necessarily the case. The live-in population centres develop tight-knit and thriving communities, and while the bars may not be as heaving as they are on Friday after work, there's still a bit of a buzz on Saturday and Sunday.

Transportation

Docklands is served by its own separate train network - the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). While this service sometimes collides with the Underground, it is a completely different animal. For one thing, the views can be something special as the trains thread their way, driverless, through the South-East London landscape. Skyscrapers, parks, the Thames - it's a fantastic way to travel to work.

The area also benefits from a good access to the Tube network and London Overground. The Jubilee line and the Northern Line are your best bets for getting central as quickly as possible.

Residents in certain areas can also take advantage of a number of novel transportation systems, including the Emirates Air Line. Specially installed in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games, this stunning air lift allows passengers to benefit from a smooth ride dangling above the Thames, quick boarding and reduced fares. There are special discounts for frequent users of this fantastic service.

Consumers near Greenwich have the Thames clipper service right on their front doorstep which allows for a quick journey into the centre of town, docking at Embankment. Not only do you get to avoid the crush of the Tube but it's an extremely novel way to travel to work.

Entertainment

But all of this is irrelevant if you haven't got something to do at weekends. Fortunately, there are clusters of pubs, bars and nightclubs scattered all across Docklands so wherever you go, you're never far from a drink. Restaurants are also easily accessible, with Canary Wharf alone playing host to Browns and Jamie's Italian. For those with an historical interest, there's plenty on offer. The DLR itself has an onboard tour dedicated to the network's history and the surrounding area - try to get a service on the hour between 10am and 2pm as a guide uses the train's PA system to give an extensive explanation of the area.

But when it comes to dramatics and spectacular displays, you can't beat the O2 arena. This extraordinary performance cavern has played host to thousands of high-profile events and regularly attracts the biggest names in the world. It's no surprise - the arena is supported by a ring of restaurants and bars and punters can usually take advantage of an ice-skating rink for those who want to make a day of it.

A collection of small theatres dotted across Docklands are made use of by the local amateur dramatics scene, and they are sometimes privileged enough to offer performances for the big names looking for something more intimate than the O2 or the big venues in Central. It's hardly the West End, but great for an impromptu cheap night out.

The upshot

The upshot of it all is that Docklands is a fantastic place to live, and extremely convenient if you happen to work locally. The attraction of being able to be home within 20 minutes after a late night drinking session with colleagues speaks for itself and you'll also save a fortune on travel. Whether you're after dynamic and modern or quiet and suburban living, Docklands offers something for everyone.

Published by Jeremy Price

Published 30th May, 2013

© 2013 Estates IT Limited

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The once much-maligned London Docklands is fast making a reputation for itself as a residential hub, as well as the centre of the UK's financial economy. Once the largest port in the world, the shipping offices and warehouses that once dominated the area have largely given way to skyscrapers and new-build houses. Huge cranes once used for unloading cargo are now motionless in their cradles, but this doesn't mean the area has lost any of the fizz and bustle it possessed while it was a shipping hub.

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