With a strong heritage as part of the Port of London, once the world’s largest trading port, the Docklands have evolved to become one of London’s prime business districts.
The Docklands encompasses a large area including Canary Wharf, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs. Descending into apparently terminal decay after World War II, billions of pounds has been invested in the area in the last few decades with the result that the Docklands is now one of the largest financial centres in the world.
Numerous development projects are currently ongoing, both residential and commercial, designed to boost the area’s local economy and improve the retail and leisure offering for residents, with many such schemes comprising residential towers with ground floor retail and leisure units. Docklands property, due to the high number of professionals seeking to move to the area, tends to be well above the national average, yet with a little help from our local estate agents, there are still bargains to be found.
The Docklands played an integral part in shipbuilding and reparations during a time in which the UK was establishing itself as one of the key nations in the world for trade. In turn, this saw warehouses, piers and jetties spring up along the banks of the Thames – several of which remain in use to this day. The Docklands became one of London’s main sources of employment until the 1960s, when container transportation left much of the area derelict.
When Margaret Thatcher came to power, billions of pounds was spent on the area, including shiny new offices, installation of the Docklands Light Railway and City Airport. Offices remained empty until the ‘big bang’ of the late eighties.
London had found itself a new centre for financial activity, most of which was moved to Canary Wharf. Next stop…..housing was required for thousands of bankers and traders needing somewhere to live, close to work. At this point, the Docklands became much more focused on residential property, with luxurious developments attracting the well-heeled professionals seeking easy access to the City.
Canary Wharf, as well as being the centre of business activity in the Docklands, is also one of the major destinations for those seeking a top brand shops. Located within the centre of the West India Docks, the wharf is steeped in history and can offer everything from world class shopping and dining experiences, to museums and galleries. Just a five minute walk to the west lies the Museum of London’s Docklands, which delves into the history of the Docklands and is surrounded by restaurants and bars.
For fans of watersports, there is a watersports and leisure centre in Surrey Docks, ideal for an after work canoe or a gentle sail at the weekend. The centre also has a state of the art gym, weights room and classes.
If cycling is your preferred pastime, there are plenty of cycle routes, including an easy 10 miles (one way) from the Greenwich foot tunnel, next to the Cutty Sark and finishing at Tottenham Hale station.
Visit two acres of garden above the Canada Place retail area. The steps leading into park are adorned with bronze planters courtesy of Tatiana Orloff. Flowers in the planters are changed every season. One of the best kept secrets in London is the walk from Canary Riverside (at Westferry DLR), towards Tower Bridge (by Tower Gateway DLR). There are stunning river views and if you time it just right.
Thames Clippers is a water-bus service operating on the Thames. Clippers provide a family friendly and inviting environment for all passengers, dedicated to giving the best River Thames experience possible for commuters needing to get through town fast or tourists travelling through London.
Catch the Emirates Air line. Officially known as the "Emirates Air Line", this cable car across the Thames was launched in June 2012 for the London 2012 Olympics. It carries people from the O2 to the ExCel Centre (and back), with fantastic views of The O2, Thames Barrier and Canary Wharf.
Since the early days of investment in the Docklands, regeneration of the area has been nothing short of astonishing, both in the rate of progress and the quality of the properties on offer. The Docklands has become a desirable place to live, with lots of people moving to the area because of its accessibility to the City, its new shops, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, cocktail lounges and pubs, and value for money.
Thanks to the veritable property boom in London right now, our Docklands estate agents have plenty to offer anyone seeking to move to the area. New developments such as Tavern Quay in Surrey Quays offer a high standard of living thanks to their modern designs and apartments for rent or purchase – ideal for those on a keen budget. While the majority of the housing stock in Docklands is in the form of tower block apartments, these tend to be much larger than the standard “flat” and offer flexible living as well as good security.
Many of the new flats are highly designed, each offering tempting features from which to pick and choose. Some are kitted-out with the very latest technology, enabling your smartphone to create a smart home! Some apartments have their own gyms, concierges, underground parking etc, while others include balconies overlooking the Thames, with stunning views of the river. All have the advantage of living just minutes away from Canary Wharf via the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) or boat ride away from the City.
For parents concerned about the educational provision in the Docklands there is no need to worry, as all five primary schools in the local area have received a “Good” rating from Ofsted. There are also five secondary schools, of which St Paul’s Way Trust School in Tower Hamlets is deemed best, having gained an “Outstanding” rating by Ofsted during its last review. Thanks to the ease of access within Docklands, parents also have the option to send their children to private schools in the wider East London area.
Commuters examining their options in the Docklands certainly have plenty of choice. Along with the Tube and train, they can also make use of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) which connects the area to the City of London itself, or commute by boat, using the Thames Clippers. Canary Wharf Underground Station offers services on the Jubilee line, which stops at key locations such as St John’s Wood, Baker Street and Finchley Road. In addition, commuters in the local area can choose to cycle to work using one of the infamous Boris Bikes, or simply step on the bus for a short, scenic journey.