One of the best summer activities in London is the rooftop cinema! This is a review of my experience in the Rooftop East Cinema in Startford, East LondonRead More
Life in London
If you are visiting London and you love Marry Poppins then this themed afternoon tea will be perfect for you. This post will give you a full review on the food, the Aqua shard views and how Muslim friendly it isRead More
London is a really fun city to visit, but it’s a very big place! This post will help you navigate it and make your visit with children as smooth as possible!
Tips to visiting London with kids + Ten Fun Things to do in London with kidsRead More
Muslim Friendly Summer in London - How to have the best summer as a Muslim in London:
Movies in parks and rooftops in London
Cultural celebrations of diversity : Walthamstow Garden Party
London Halal Food Festival
Flower and Fruit picking
Art Exhibitions in London to escape the heat
Theatre performances in London this summer
Muslim friendly musical events in London
This post will show you the gems that are in East London, for food, attractions and places to stay.Read More
Canary Wharf is built on the Isle of Dogs in London (not to be confused with the movie!) and it’s the concrete jungle of London, where a lot of the banks, law firms and the skyscrapers are located. It is very protected with security personal and CCTV everywhere and it always feels odd going there, but since it’s a comfortable commute for me, I go there to dine sometimes. It has really changed from when I first moved to London and now it is becoming a little more family friendly and it was even busy on a Sunday, which was very unlikely a couple years ago. In this post, I want to give you a quick guide into navigating Canary Wharf and what you would expect from that part of town.
How to get to Canary Wharf?
Canary Wharf is connected by the underground’s Jubilee Line and the Dockland Light Railway, DLR, which makes it easy to access if you are coming from South and East London. To get the best travel route you can check Google Maps, City Mapper or the official Transports for London website.
Things to do in Canary Wharf
Enjoy all the sculptures
If sculptures are you thing, then you would love walking around Canary Wharf with a lot of the sculptures are on display around the squares and the buildings. You can follow the official art map and see them. I spotted a few that I liked, which I thought was cool, but I am one of the people who went all the way to the Sculpture park in Norway. My favourites are #21 and #23 in case you are wondering.
The Dockland Museum
Canary Wharf is the home of the West India Docks, which was an important port from 1802 till the late 1980s when it started declining. It was later taken by the government and sold to various companies and redeveloped to what it is now. If you want the detailed history of all of this, you can go see it and read about it in the Dockland museum. The building itself dates to 200 years ago as well! It’s one of the warehouses in the image below.
I really like the small roof garden in the Cross rail Place. It’s usually quiet and good place to walk to after lunch. It will take you 15 minutes max to go around it by the way. There are two bar restaurants there on either side, but you don’t usually hear any noise. They have a few nice plants and even some fern from New Zealand if you are into that!
Canary Wharf has a few shopping areas and plenty of shops to choose from. You can find the usual high street brands and the upper scales ones. They also have one of the most expensive malls there with a lot of the luxury brands. Here’s their official directory if you want to look up a specific brand.
I would advice going to Canary Wharf during the day to be able to see the buildings and the riverside. It is too quiet and dark at night to enjoy unless you are just going for dinner and leaving straight away. My favourite time of the year to visit the area is Christmas because they have a nice Christmas market and a skiing rink that is quieter than most in London.
Billingsgate’s Fish Market
I know the fish market is random and I actually never wake up early enough to go because it’s only open from 4am to 8am. I heard amazing things about the freshness and the choices of the fish there. This is where restaurants go get their fish selection and one of those days, I will try to get there and do my fish shop!
Canary Wharf Restaurants
There are many restaurants dotted around Canary Wharf, but the three main areas I go to are: The Jubilee Park Mall, the Cross Rail Place and sometimes the river facing restaurants. I have not tried all of them, but there are a few that I like and go to often and are mentioned below.
Ps. Not all restaurants are open late or on weekends. The ones mentioned here usually are, but always check opening times if you are making the trip from a long distance.
Breakfast or Brunch in Canary Wharf
The Breakfast Club
If you are going on the weekend, be prepared to wait up to 40 minutes especially if it’s brunch time. It gets packed so quickly! But it’s a big space with upstairs area and they sometimes have evening events there too. The breakfast club is loved by tourists and locals, but it’s slightly hyped and they don’t always have great service there. It’s a safe option for food though with a lot of options for meat eaters (not halal) and vegetarians (that’s what I get!).
It’s just next door to the breakfast club and is usually my second stop when I do not get a table at the breakfast club. The prices for mains are very similar to the one above, but they charge for everything! I even extra syrup for pancakes. It is a nice place still and their service is very good. Their chicken and lamb is halal so that’s a plus.
Lunch or Dinner in Canary Wharf
Sticks n Sushi
This is one of my favourite Sushi restaurants in London and this branch is much easier to find a table than the rest of the branches in London and their service is always fantastic. I usually get their sea food or vegetarian/vegan options, but if you don’t drink alcohol double check their ingredients because even their regular soya sauce contains it.
I always forget it is there! But if you want a nice, reliable Italian pizza, then that is where you need to go! Their prices are reasonable and the pizzas are always delicious.
Is Canary Wharf a good location to stay while visiting London?
Well it depends. If you are there on business and your time is limited it’s better to stay there, but if you have flexibility and you want to see a more authentic part of London then no. I personally would not stay there if I am in London for a short time because it is a very modern and built up part and I like the other quirky side of London that has more culture and heritage.
Canary Wharf Hotels
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City Girl Going Camping
I am a city girl through and through. I was born in the city and kept travelling from one city to another. My outdoor adventures are a recent interest that I am doing more of lately to stay fit while travelling. I am not against the outdoors, I just never had a chance to go. My Saudi family didn't do much in terms of the outdoors and my other friends were all city kids until the past couple years, when I started making more connections with outdoorsy people. So when the idea to go camping was brought up, I agreed right away. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew it was something I should finally try.
Since it was my first camping experience, I didn't want to venture too far from London just in case I could not survive it and wanted to go back home. So we looked for a camping site on Pitch Up until we found Evergreen Farms, which seemed like a nice option. It was an hour train from Victoria Station. We gave them a call and discussed what they had on the site and other relevant information. They seemed nice and it was such a lovely place to go camping in near London.
Reality of Camping
The campsite had lots of pitches in various fields and woods to space campers out. Our pitch was around the Oak Trees, which we loved. The site also had two eco/compost toilets that were 5-8 minutes walk from the tent. They were looked after well. The site allows lighting a fire and wood can be bought from them. They also provide 25L of water, which was great. I felt like everything was organised well upon arrival.
First task was to put the tent up, which took about 10-15 minutes. It really helps when you have an expert camper with you. It is not too hard to figure out, but it will take you slightly longer if you had no clue how to set it up.
Second task was getting the air mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags all in order.
After all of that was set, we put the rest of our stuff in the tent and closed the zips. It was a very safe campsite, but if you are worried about safety, you can always lock the tent zips together.
Camping is not only about staying in the campsite, it is also about the nature walks around the area. Being in East Grinstead gave us a chance to do a few woodlands walks that were quiet and pretty. There was a few historic sights around that were cool to visit as well.
In the evening, we started the fire. By "we" I mean I was watching the process happen rather than doing much related to lightning the fire. It was satisfying to watch. When the fire slowed down, we cooked dinner on the grill! We tried to be very aware of what we wanted to eat and we packed exactly what we needed and nothing more.
Watch my camping weekend in this video:
Packing for your first camping trip - Camping Essentials
Buying the camping gear and equipments was the most confusing part to me! There are so many details I kept googling and asking about! Even something as a simple sleeping bag! It might be a good idea to go in person to Go Outdoors, Decathlon or Sports Direct to buy everything, but if you are like me and think shopping online is the way to go, you can use the links below.
Tent (sleeps 2-3 people)
Camping chairs (stools are fine)
Sleeping bag: the recommended shape is a mummy so you are snug and not cold. If you want to use it in the summer, it’s better to buy a 1-3 seasons. The more seasons the sleeping bag is prepared for, the hotter it gets and the bigger it becomes. The one I got was three seasons one.
If you are buying all the camping accessories it might be a little much, but if you plan to go campaigning few times a year they will be really worth it. n this video, I share all the things I packed with the prices:
Camping equipments for a comfortable camp
Camping Cooking Equipment
For some reason, when I was looking up checklists online, a lot of them failed to mention the cooking aspect of the camping experience. Campsites differ in terms with what's allowed in cooking. Luckily, the place we went to had a prepared pit on the ground to make a fire and that's where most of the cooking took place. It was really handy to have the little camping stove though for a tea and eggs in the morning before getting the fire ready.
On the first night, we set up fire and the grill to make the steak we brought with us in the cool bag, which kept cold and fresh for a good few hours before we cooked it.
Inside your Camping Bag
Since it was my first time camping and I was not sure if I would do it again, I did not want to invest in an expensive bag, so I settled for a basic Quechua camping bag and it worked really well I thought. It wasn't this exact one, but it was very similar to these two! I put all my clothes and other extras inside it then put the bigger items like the mat, sleeping bag and chair on the outside of it.
I saw a few good suggestions when I was looking at the Camping for Women lists such as packing earplugs for noisy nature and snack bars. I had to pack two types of tea on top of that too! They were small things and are not hugely important, but they are great to have. I packed some makeup essentials too (oops!
Budget for camping in England:
Camp site: £75 for three nights for two people = £37.50 each
Train from London Bridge to East Grinstead (if you have a student rail card, the train fair will be cheaper) = £26 return with the railcard.
All the equipment and tools I got because I haven't camping before were £140, but they will last for a few future trips.
Food: This really depends on what you would like to eat. I went fancy for my camping food so it was £40 you can do it much cheaper than that if you plan to eat noodles.
Over to you: Where are you planning on going for your first camping trip?