Love boats? The East End is rich in maritime history – and you can explore lots of it via the DLR. On our visit we started out at St Katharine Docks, not far from Tower Gateway.
It’s a little hidden gem away from the bustle around Tower Bridge and lovely to wander around. It’s the marina closest to central London and in season, has lots of boats moored which gives it a sense of the seaside in the capital. The Dickens Inn is a fabulous 18th century docks warehouse next to the marina that has been restored and you can enjoy food and drink here in the beamed restaurants.
Hopping on to the DLR at Tower Gateway we next headed towards Canary Wharf, enjoying the views of various docks en route, but stopped just short, alighting at Westferry and walking through to West India Quay. Canary Wharf is just across the water and the Quay provides a welcome break from the office for many. And it also retains some of the heritage of the thriving docks that once stood here with a few of the original dock cranes still in place serving as a reminder of the area’s past.
The Museum of London Docklands is in one of the restored warehouses on the Quay and tells the story of the Thames and the docks, from Roman times right up to the present day, including a temporary exhibition Tunnel: the Archaeology of Crossrail on until 3 September 2017. Being free, we had a look at some of the excellent exhibitions at the museum and could easily have spent longer here, but we were headed for Greenwich…
Crossing the dock on the pedestrian bridge we picked up the DLR again from Canary Wharf station and headed down to Greenwich, getting off at Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, one of the few underground DLR stations. The station has the cutter from the tunnel boring machine in its wall from when the extension to the railway was built.
Just around the corner is the Cutty Sark itself and, not much further away, the Maritime Museum, both of which are great for boat enthusiasts and completed a great sea-related day out, without getting our toes wet!
And what better way to end the day than with a boat trip of our own back up the river on the Thames Clipper, looking out for HMS Belfast, the replica Golden Hinde and the odd luxury floating hotel?
London still has the river at its heart.