London area guide: Surrey Quays

 
London area guide: Surrey Quays

Steeped in its Docklands history, Surrey Quays is a wonderful part of London that has managed to simultaneously retain the charm of days gone by, while transforming into a very popular suburban area.

Filled with modern architecture and a strong transport infrastructure, the area has become popular with younger people working in the city and families alike. 

Transport

Surrey Quays has a train station on the extended East London Line, with trains from here going to Canada Water in just a minute. This really is ideal for commuters, who can catch links from here on the Jubilee Line into the city itself. 

Other local trains go to Whitechapel in the space of just ten minutes, which again gives perfect access to the centre of London. The area also benefits from a number of different bus services, including 1 (to New Oxford Street), the C10 (to Victoria), the 47 (to Shoreditch), and the 188 (to Russell Square).

And for those looking for a quirky little commute with a difference, Surrey Quays is also served by two river taxi services, which leave from Greenland Dock and Hilton Hotel.

Things to do

There are some fantastic and unique things to see and do around Surrey Quays, not least of which will be simply taking a walk around the area. It may have become something of a residential haven in recent times, but it has retained much of the old architecture and the moorings at the docks which makes a nice stroll more like a step back in time. 

For an equally relaxing day out, the area is home to a number of different parks, which make a great place to walk, play sports or enjoy a picnic, depending on the time of year. Southwark Park is the ideal place to visit, thanks to its range of sporting facilities, art gallery and cafe. It's got it all. 

Just as impressive is Russia Dock Woodlands ecological park, which is created on land reclaimed from the old docks. Features including the retaining wall capstones, depth gauges, bollards, mooring chains and tracks from the days gone by are still retained within the park. 

Finally, for something you might never even expect in the centre of London, there's plenty of excitement to be had at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, where you can try out a gym, as well as windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. 

Eating and drinking

The suburban nature of the area means that there are not that many restaurants around, but those which are present will offer residents a great variety in cuisine. The Yellow House is one of the local favourites, thanks to its warm interior and fantastic grilled dishes. The bar sits separate and offers the perfect place to relax after your meal.

For something a little different, you might also want to sample the pub grub at the Blacksmith's Arms. It may sound like the sort of place that would offer standard fare for pubs, but it actually has a menu dedicated to Thai cooking, which gives you something with a difference. 

Other highly recommended eateries include the Curry Garden for Indian and Balti foods and Cafe Mama Pho, which is home to some fantastic Vietnamese cuisine. In terms of pubs to enjoy a nice drink in, you might want to try the likes of The Ship And Whale and The Moby Dick, or perhaps Mayflower Pub, which is situated near to where the pilgrims set sail in 1620. 

Shopping

Shopping in Surrey Quays is mostly confined to the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, but that doesn't mean it's a negative experience. The mall has everything you could need all under one roof. 

From all the shops you might want or need on the high street including BHS department store, the Body Shop, Mothercare, Starbucks and Boots to places to keep the kids entertained like the ten-pin bowling alley and the multiplex cinema, the shopping centre really does have it all. 

Education

While Surrey Quays may not have a lot of schools in comparison to other London areas, it is still becoming increasingly popular with parents, largely thanks to the quality of those establishments it does have. 

For primary school age children, there are a number of schools that achieved outstanding ratings on their most recent Ofsted inspections - Redriff, Albion and St Joseph’s - as well as a small number of others. 

Similarly, for those in secondary education, a few schools have achieved outstanding ratings. These are St Michael’s College, as well as the City of London Academy and Bacon’s College, so parents can rest assured that they have choice in where they send their kids to get the best education possible.