Canary Wharf is one of London, England‘s two main financial areas, together with the City of London. It's located at the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs. This used to be a very vibrant port area and the older buildings on site, reminding of that time, contrast with the modern business buildings in an interesting way.
Canary Wharf was great, although it was smaller than I’d expected. So different from the London I’d known so far! Parks, water, beautiful old industrial buildings mixed with new architecture and lots of places to get a drink or grab a bite. We also noticed that to get ‘into’ the area by car, you needed to pass some kind of checkpoint. I think you need special permission to enter by car.
Luckily we'd taken the underground to get there, so we just walked around and soaked up the atmosphere, which gave my dad the opportunity to take some nice shots (be sure to check out his facebook page!):
With the DLR to Greenwich
After our walk through Canary Wharf, the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) took us to Greenwich (11 minutes to Cutty Sark Station).
The first thing we spotted there was the Cutty Sark, a Scottish clipper ship that has been turned into a museum and is now part of the Core Collection of the National Historic Fleet.
We'd gotten pretty hungry by now though, so instead of visiting the Cutty Sark we went for lunch at a restaurant called Helva, located on Greenwich Church Street, across the street from Greenwich Market. My dad had a burger and fries, I had fajitas with chicken. It was delicious and the waitress was really friendly. I'm guessing this place must be nice for dinner as well.
With renewed energy we walked through Greenwich Market and then headed for the Old Naval College. This really was a discovery. Beautiful old buildings, a fully painted chapel you can go into and just an overall peaceful ambience – if you don’t mind the students too much :-)
From the Old Naval College it was only a short walk to Greenwich park, where the Greenwich Observatory is. We started a pretty heavy walk uphill and although the park seemed nice, we couldn’t really enjoy it because there were a lot of works going on to take down a stadium that had been built for the Olympics. The Observatory itself, with the famous Greenwich line, was quite nice, but you had to visit the museum (and pay) to get to a nicely decorated part of the meridian. Luckily there was also a line that ran across the road to indicate where it was. Yes, I did want that cliché shot of me standing with each foot on another side of the meridian and… I got it:-)
Address: Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich
Admission: £7 for adults, various discounts available
- daily: 10 am – 5 pm
- April 5 – 21: 10 am – 6 pm
- Closed on December 24-26, closed earlier on December 31 and opens later on January 1
After having seen the park, we took the river bus to the London Bridge (£8 for two, one way). This was great because the sun was shining and we could sit outside and check out the often special buildings along the shore.
From the London Bridge we took the tube (Circle or District line to Monument and then transfer to Central line and get off at Tottenham Court Road) to get to our hotel, the Seven Dials (no picture of that, sorry). After quickly dropping off some stuff and refreshing ourselves a bit, we had dinner at Leon of Bruxelles. We both had the special for the day: tagliatelli with seafood. It was really good (lots of mussels) and we finished just in time to cross the street and enter the Palace Theatre to go see ‘Singing in the Rain’. The musical was ok, but it wasn’t as WOW as all the other musicals we’d seen before. Other years, when we came out of the theatres, we were always full of energy, so amazed and saying that we just HAD to go back the next year to see another show. Now we were both a bit quiet, like neither of us wanted to say that it wasn’t THAT good. Don’t get me wrong; it was good. Flawless singing, great dancing, special water effects… But still, something was missing. I think ‘Singing in the rain’ is just overall a bit less ‘spicy’ than the other musicals we’ve seen (‘Sister act’, ‘Footloose’, ‘Priscilla, queen of the desert’), plus, I didn’t like the leading actors that much. I’m not saying they weren’t good. They were, but they weren’t excellent. Also, you know when sometimes you just don’t like someone without any specific reason? I had that with them. There just was something about their performance that didn’t move me or get to me… Ah well, better next year :-)
Where to stay in London
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