London at Canary Wharf
About seven miles east of the West End, Canary Wharf—so named because it was once the wharf at which ships from the Canary Islands docked with their cargoes of bananas and tomatoes—is a high-rise business district on the bank of the Thames. We asked Concierge Jamsheed Pocha of Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel.
Spend time in Greenwich
For an afternoon of sight-seeing, hop on the Docklands Light Railway to Island Gardens, from which the Greenwich Foot Tunnel will take you under the Thames to Greenwich, one of the greenest and most architecturally splendid parts of London. It’s home to some remarkable Baroque buildings, among them the Old Royal Naval College and Queen’s House. It is also the site of the Royal Observatory, through which the prime meridian runs.
Dining in Canary Wharf
In the Canary Wharf area, Plateau has a stylishly designed dining room—Eero Saarinen Tulip tables and chairs, great views from its fourth-floor floor-to-ceiling windows and an alluring contemporary French menu. Try the confit pork belly with quinoa, apple, beetroot and ginger.
For a dose of culture, take a Thames Clipper, a high-speed catamaran that runs every 20 minutes from Canary Wharf pier west to the South Bank, a sight-seeing trip in itself. In 17 minutes, you’ll be at Bankside, the pier for Shakespeare’s Globe, the facsimile Elizabethan theatre, and also for Tate Modern.
For some local shopping, explore the East End markets. Be sure to check out Old Spitalfields market, the Columbia Road Flower Market and Brick Lane Market for East London’s quintessential weekend experiences.
Concerts and sports
The O2 Arena, also known as the Millennium Dome, is a huge white circular tented structure designed by Richard Rogers as part of the nation’s millennial celebrations. A popular concert venue, it’s also used for tennis, boxing, wrestling, bowling and basketball.
On the South Bank, the Royal Festival Hall is one of London’s premier concert halls, as well as the home of the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras. The Hall also hosts jazz, world music and dance programmes. One of the busiest buildings on the river, it’s worth dropping in for a drink or a meal—it hums with visitors whether or not they’re attending performances.
Located on the Thames is Tate Modern’s sister gallery, Tate Britain, which features British art since 1500. The museum has a peerless collection of works by J.M.W. Turner, the 19th-century master of the atmospheric effects of light, and the prints of William Blake, a Romantic poet and print-maker who was influential in both literature and art.
Of pints and pubs
Not far from the Hotel, The Gun has stood by the river since the 18th century. It’s a great place for a pint of beer and a pint of shrimp.
Celebrated chef Gordon Ramsay has opened a riverside pub in nearby Limehouse: The Narrow. The menu offers modern English dishes such as Windsor Estate pheasant with braised red cabbage and red wine jus.
London is noted for its tailors, especially those on Savile Row, but it’s a long way to Mayfair. If you’re pressed for time, ask a Concierge to arrange for a Savile Row tailor—armed with tape measure and fabric samples—to visit you at the Hotel, so you can be measured for a custom-made suit in the privacy of your suite.