Canary Wharf, located on the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, once one of the busiest docks in the world is now famous for being one of the biggest financial centres in the world. The area was once marshland but was reclaimed and settled in the Middle Ages.From the beginning of the 19th century all ships that came in from the West Indies used these docks. A thriving wharf side community grew around the area which included housing for workers, pubs, music halls, opium dens, and brothels, which all served the sea merchants who passed through. During WWII the area was heavily bombed and much of it destroyed. In 1967 the docks were refurbished, but by this time the use of containers had become popular, and the docks were not suited to this type of shipping so the docks gradually shut down. As a result, the local area was hit with serious economic hardship.
Eventually the area was redeveloped as an Enterprise Zone. Housing, office space and modern infrastructure, such as the Docklands Light Railway returned prosperity to the area and it was renamed Canary Wharf. It is now the European headquarters for many well known banks, has incredible skyscrapers, and is a popular shopping destination.
If you have an interest in history, art, or culture, there is a Museum of London Docklands, with ten permanent galleries, or simply walk around the area and enjoy the fact that Canary Wharf hosts one of the UK’s largest collections of public art. You can always get in some retail therapy at Canary Wharf Shopping Centre and if you want to relax afterwards, spend some time enjoying the Crossrail Palace Roof Garden.
The area is home to numerous excellent restaurants and bars such as the aptly named Plateau with breathtaking views from Canada House and world class European cuisine. If you are looking for some nightlife, you could start at the highly rated waterside tavern called The Gun and then head over to The Boisdale, known for its excellent whisky and live entertainment.
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