city trips

London: Canary Wharf

Sadly, every journey has to come to an end at some point. Our three day London adventure ended with a visit to Canary Wharf – London’s financial district that is located on the West India Docks.

Once this area had been the world’s busiest dock but after the second World War the area suffered from the decline of the port industry and by 1980 all docks were closed. If you visit Canary Wharf today there is no trace of the old docklands. Instead it feels as if you’ve travelled to New York City by tube. A few of Europe’s highest buildings were erected on the Isle of Dogs from the early 1990s to the 2010s. And there are still some building sites all around the area. After its long history as a busy port, Canary Wharf is now one of the two financial centres of the United Kingdom’s along with the City of London.

But don’t let that scare you away from the place because this part of London has some nice areas that want to be explored. For once, there are the stunning escalators that lead from the tube station into the underground shopping mall and up to Canada Square (the station itself was designed by Norman Foster). Not that escalators on the tube aren’t also interesting. But when I sat down to take some long exposures of people going up and down, security guards asked us what we were doing and offered to stop people from using the escalators for a bit until we got our pictures. We declined because this is what I had aimed for:

While at Canary Wharf station, I tried to take a long exposure of the escalators without a tripod. I think it worked out pretty good.

Our next stop were of course the buildings outside, the steel and glass constructions that make you feel as if you’re no longer in London.  I’ve always had an interest in architecture photography, finding nice angles, trying to find a way to make the buildings look as if they’re „interacting“.

high buildings
New York City in the middle of London. Canary Wharf is full of skyscrapers.
Reflecting buildings – behind the Crossrail Place Roof Garden.

After a few moments of staring upwards into the sky in awe, we started wandering around and found a little gem amongst all the huge office buildings. The Crossrail Place Roof Garden. It is nice and quiet up there, you have a wonderful view over Poplar and the sun reflects in the windows. All around the garden are benches. If I’d work in Canary Wharf, I’d definitely go there to have my lunch break and relax for a while. If you want to know about this garden, you should visit this website.

roof garden
Exotic plants mix with the ones we know at the Crossrail Place Roof Garden.
roof garden crossrail
We discovered the Crossrail Place Roof Garden by accident while exploring the Canary Wharf area. It’s a wonderful, green, relaxing space between all the skyscrapers.

Should you now be curious about Canary Wharf and want to go there for a little photo safari the easiest way is to take the Jubilee Line eastbound and leave at Canary Wharf tube station. But the other option is to go by ferry and take one of the Thames Clippers boats that leave from Embankment and stop at Canary Wharf Pier. It is of course a bit more expensive than taking the tube but you get a nice little boat ride on the Thames.

We however left Canary Wharf the way we entered it: by taking the Jubilee Line back into the City.

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