Walk 140: London, Tower Hill to Canary Wharf

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 8.2 miles (13.2km)

Time to walk: It’s another of those walks that you could probably walk fast in 3 hours or, like us, take half a day visiting all the buildings, pubs etc en route, plus just sitting on a bench & watching the world go by – it’s up to you, but we’d recommend taking it slowly & enjoying every minute

Difficulty: Easy flat walking, all on hard surfaces. There are a few steps to negotiate, but it’s possible to find a way around them

Parking: We used public transport

Public toilets: Cafes, bars etc along the route

Map of the route:

This is another wonderful, easy to follow, walk that we’ve based on the excellent set of books ‘London’s Hidden Walks’. As always, whilst we’ve followed their route, all our opinions are our own

The walk starts outside Tower Hill Underground Station before following a path through London’s Docks & the stories they are able to tell. It also sticks closely to the river Thames, taking in some excellent ‘watering holes’, before ending in the modern metropolis that’s Canary Wharf. During this walk you will be following sections of ‘The Thames Path’, one of the country’s most well-known long distance paths

We could honestly say that, having never explored the docks before, it’s an area we didn’t know well but, by the end of our walk, it’s one that we will most definitely return to

Let’s Walk!

1. Tower Hill underground station has been the starting point for several of our London Walks, especially those heading off into the City. It’s a tube station that, given its close proximity to the Tower of London, is always busy with tourists…

It’s worth taking a few moments to explore the area immediately around the station itself. Around the back, near the hotel is one of the largest remaining sections of London’s Roman wall &, if you walk up the slope to view the Tower, you’ll find a great modern sundial

2. Leave the station & walk through the underpass towards the Tower of London. Officially ‘Her Majesty’s Royal Palace & Fortress of the Tower of London’, it was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 & was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite

The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, & it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office & the home of the Crown Jewels

There’s another large section of the Roman wall at the junction directly ahead

3. Turn left & walk up the path, following the signs towards St Katharine Docks. The path follows the boundary of the Tower…

The peak period of the castle’s use as a prison was the 16th & 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I, before she became Queen, Sir Walter Raleigh & Elizabeth Throckmorton were held within its walls. This use led to the phrase “sent to the Tower”. Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture & death, only seven people were executed within the Tower before World War II. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400 year period

4. At the end of the wall, should you wish to visit Tower Bridge turn right…

…but our path lies straight ahead through the underpass, before turning right around the modern office building

5. Welcome to the beautiful St Katharine Docks which took their name from the former hospital of St Katharine’s by the Tower, built in the 12th century, which stood on the site. Prior to their construction, London was served by several different areas for ships to load & unload & the Pool of London was reaching capacity point. Some ships would moor up for days & weeks waiting their turn

An intensely built-up 23 acre site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction commencing in May 1827. Some 1250 houses were demolished, together with the medieval hospital. Around 11,300 inhabitants, mostly port workers crammed into unsanitary slums, lost their homes & only the property owners received compensation. The scheme was designed by engineer Thomas Telford & was his only major project in London. To create as much quayside as possible, the docks were designed in the form of two linked basins (East & West), both accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames. Steam engines designed by James Watt & Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins about four feet above that of the tidal river. By 1830 the docks had cost over £2 million to build

The docks were officially opened on 25 October 1828 & specialised in luxury goods such as ivory, spices, shells,sugar, rubber, wines, perfume & marble. Although they were well used, the docks were not a great commercial success & were unable to accommodate large ships. They were amalgamated in 1864 with the neighbouring London Docks

The St Katharine Docks were badly damaged by bombing during World War II, with all the warehouses around the eastern basin being destroyed, & the site they had occupied remaining derelict until the 1990s

6. Walk along the north side of the dock towards the imposing Ivory House, which is named after the goods that were once kept there

Before passing across into eastern basin, have a look at the entrance gates to the left. Atop of these are two elephant statues which again remind us of the ivory that used to come through them

7. Continue around the eastern dock which today is a berth for some rather expensive yachts…

Although the boats berthed these days are extremely modern, it’s good to see that the old Georgian posts used for tying the old ships up remain

8. Follow the dock all the way round, remembering that this was completely flattened by German bombs. Today there are obviously some very expensive flats overlooking the water

Looking at this affluent area, it’s hard to imagine back to the 1970’s when thousands of people lost their jobs. Continue around the dock behind the beautiful cottages in the picture below

9. The area ahead now is Marble Quay, the name of which gives an indication of what was once imported here. Also here is one of London’s best known pubs, The Dickens Inn

The original building was a warehouse that stood east of where it is now. In the 1820’s the timber framed property was cladded in bricks to make it conform to the architectural style of St Katharine Docks masterminded by Thomas Telford. The whole property was moved to its current site to allow for the redevelopment of the area & was formally opened in May 1976 by Cedric Charles Dickens, grandson of the famous author

10. As you walk to the left around Marble Dock, there’s some impressive craft moored up…

This is one of the smaller support boats for the new Bellami super yacht, worth £16 million, that was moored up nearby on the river. The yacht belongs to hair extensions company Bellami. An impressive 170ft long it’s covered in 600 square metres of gold vinyl wrap & is quite a spectacle!

11. The view across the Marble Dock’s impressive…

…but keep round to the left & walk to the end of the wall to get a great view of Tower Bridge & the surrounding buildings

12. To continue the walk, turn back & then right up the steps into the narrow alley, which emerges into a street full of dock buildings that are eventually going to take us into Canary Wharf

Many of the buildings we’re going to pass on the next stretch of this walk are old warehouses / wharfs etc, so look up to see the rigs that helped with the unloading ships…

13. We’d heard lots of stories about “steps” down into the Thames where boats etc used to unload at high tide & this stretch of the river is full of them if you’re prepared to seek them out. Be careful though as at full tide, like it was on this walk, they can be slippery. The river stairs that remain are fascinating. They provide a connection between the land & the river, & are a reminder of when the river was a bustling place of trade & passenger transport

The first one’s you’ll come across on this walk are the ‘Alderman’s Stairs’ which are here on the right…

We recommend you just dally here for a few moments & take in the history of where you’re standing

14. Continue straight ahead to arrive at the junction with Wapping High Street. Wapping’s proximity to the river has given it a strong maritime character, which it retains today. Many of the original buildings were demolished during the construction of London Docks & Wapping was further seriously damaged during the Blitz. As the Docklands declined after World War II, the area became run down, with the great warehouses left empty

The area’s fortunes were transformed during the 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation when the warehouses started to be converted into luxury flats. Wapping was more recently in the spotlight when Rupert Murdoch moved his News International printing & publishing works into Wapping in 1986, resulting in a trade union dispute that became known as the “Battle of Wapping”. We’ll come back to this later in the walk

15. Directly ahead’s an old Port of London Building that fronts Hermitage Basin

Go round the right side of the building to arrive at the Basin. During the heyday, the basins were built as holding areas for boats between the Thames & the docks. Many of them have since been filled in, but Hermitage survived, although it’s no longer connected to the river. Today, like much of the area, the properties have been converted into flats

Walk to the far end of the basin & you’ll see a narrow stretch of water leading off it. This is Spirit Quay & connects the waterways to Tobacco Dock which we’ll visit later

16. Return to Wapping High Street, turn left & walk into the Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden…

Although not the prettiest garden you’ll ever come across, it is known as one of London’s “Secret Gardens”. There are plenty of seats & the views along the river to Tower Bridge are spectacular

Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden was created as a memorial to the residents of this area killed in the second World War. The garden sits on the former site of Hermitage Wharf, which was destroyed by a firebomb in December 1940. Have a look at the impressive dove sculpture by Wendy Taylor, which dominates the park

17. We’re back on the Thames Path, so turn left down the narrow alley that brings you back onto the High Street again. Look for where the street rises & falls slightly & at the square on the left that’s flanked by some magnificent Georgian houses…

This was once Wapping Basin Pier Head & boats would have sailed past these houses on their way inland to reach the docks

 18. If you’re in need of refreshment, then we have reached our first riverside ‘port of call’…the ‘Town of Ramsgate’ public house which has an interesting history attached to it

It features in several books about London inns where it’s rated as ‘a notable specimen of a waterman’s tavern.’ Although the present building dates back to 1758, there was probably a pub here as early as 1460, called ‘The Hostel’. The pub’s website also mentions that in 1533 it became known as The Red Cow, a reference to the barmaid working at the time!!

In 1811 it changed its name to ‘The Town of Ramsgate’ as fishermen from there landed their catches at Wapping Old Stairs. They did this to avoid the river taxes which had been imposed close to Billingsgate Fish Market

The large cellars of the pub tell a different story as they were used to hold people gathered by the ‘press gangs’ into joining the Navy. Criminals were also held in the cellars, pending their onward journey to Australia

19. Walk down the side of the pub, where you’ll find Wapping Old Stairs’, which also have many stories to tell…

The notorious ‘hanging judge’, Judge Jeffreys was caught outside the pub as he tried to escape disguised as a sailor on a boat to Hamburg. He died in the Tower of London a year later

The bottom of the Stairs was probably the place where the authorities hung pirates & smugglers for 400 years up to 1830, the most famous of which being Captain Kidd (we’ll come back to him again shortly!). The pub tells that the post you can see at low tide was the one to which condemned pirates were chained to drown as the tide rose. As was tradition, the bodies of those executed here were left to be washed over by three tides, before being tarred & hung up as a deterrent to others

20. Across the road from the pub is a green space that was once the churchyard of St John’s, Wapping…

The church dated back to the 18th century, but was hit by a bomb in World War II & now only the tower remains, which can be seen across the park

21. Turn left down Tench Street where, on the right, you’ll find the church charity school Although founded in 1695, this building dates back to 1765…

You can clearly see the separate boys & girls entrance signs. Look up at the magnificent statues, which are known as ‘Bluecoats’

These distinctive figures mark a charity school, many dating back to the mid 16th century, with the costumes being normal school uniform of the period. Blue was used for charity school children because it was the cheapest dye available for clothing. Socks were dyed in saffron as that was thought to stop rats nibbling the pupils’ ankles!!

22. Just past the church tower is a building that you might well mistake for another pub. You’d be right as it was in a former life, but today ‘The Turk’s Head’ is a delightful cafe. In the docklands days it was favoured by Irish dockers

A sign on the wall tells you that “During World War II it was run by its eccentric landlady, Mog Murphy, & stayed open all hours for service personnel seeking news of their loved ones. After a vigorous campaign in the 1980s led by Maureen Davies & the wild women of Wapping, the Turk’s Head Company, a charity they set up to improve local life, bought the derelict building from the Council & restored it. The income from the rents of the cafe & studios above pays for charitable activities”

As we understand it the rents are also being used to reinvest in the basins – fantastic!

23. Continue up Tench Street. The massive wall on your left is one of the old security walks of London Docks…

Turn right & then left again up Reardon Street looking out for a blue plaque on the left

William Bligh was an officer of the Royal Navy & a colonial administrator. The Mutiny on the Bounty occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789, after being set adrift in Bountys launch by the mutineers. Bligh & his loyal men all reached Timor alive, after a journey of 3618 nautical miles

Seventeen years after the Bounty mutiny, on 13 August 1806, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales, Australia, with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade. His actions directed against the trade resulted in the so called “Rum Rebellion”, during which Bligh was placed under arrest on 26 January 1808 by the New South Wales Corps & deposed from his command, an act which the British Foreign Office later declared to be illegal

24. Go right & then left to walk along Pennington Street to reach the main entrance to Tobacco Dock. The Dock is now a major event venue & sadly, today we couldn’t walk through it

Even if it’s closed for an event you can usually still have a peep into Tobacco Dock, which was completed in 1812 & primarily served as a store for imported tobacco, hence the name. Since London Docks closed its doors to seaborne trade, the warehouse & surrounding areas fell into dereliction until it was turned into a shopping centre which opened in 1989

Unfortunately, due to the recession, it was forced to close two years later. In 2003 English Heritage placed it on their at risk register which put a stopper in the plans of many developers to attempt a rejuvenation of the former London Docklands site. For two decades Tobacco Dock stood empty &, although it served a number of uses during this time such as a barracks for military personnel providing security to the 2012 London Olympics, nothing quite compared to the glory days of its former purpose

However, in 2012 it experienced a total makeover as it was reborn as an events & conferencing space for up to 10,000 people. In addition to this, it also houses a number of offices & co-working spaces

25. Continue up the hill to the junction with The Highway, formally known as the Ratcliff Highway. In the late 1800s Charles Jamrach, then the world’s most renowned dealer in wild animals, opened Jamrach’s Animal Emporium on The Highway. The store became the largest pet store in the world, as seafarers moored at the Port of London sold any exotic animals they had brought with them to Jamrach, who in turn supplied zoos, menageries & private collectors

At the north entrance to nearby Tobacco Dock stands a bronze sculpture of a boy standing in front of a tiger, commemorating an incident where a fully grown Bengal tiger escaped from Jamrach’s shop into the street & picked up & carried off a small boy, who had approached & tried to pet the animal having never seen such a big cat before. The boy escaped unhurt after Jamrach gave chase & prised open the animal’s jaw with his bare hands

The road also has a gruesome past when, in 1811, seven murders (The Ratcliff Murders) took place as a sailor called John Williams struck against two families

26. Cross the Highway to arrive at the imposing church of St George in the East which dates back to 1714…

The church was hit by a bomb during the Blitz on London’s Docklands in May 1941. The original interior was destroyed by the fire, but the walls & distinctive “pepper-pot” towers stayed up. In 1964 a modern church interior was constructed inside the existing walls, & a new flat built under each corner tower

27. Having looked round the church, cross back over the Highway & walk down the short Chigwell Hill by The Old Rose pub, which has clearly seen better days. To the right is the site of Rupert Murdoch‘s News International buildings that we mentioned earlier

The Wapping dispute was a lengthy failed strike by print workers. Print unions tried to block distribution of The Sunday Times, along with other newspapers after production was shifted here in January 1986. At the new facility, modern computer facilities allowed journalists to input copy directly, rather than involving print union workers who used older printing methods. All of the workers were dismissed. The failure of the strike was devastating for the print union workers, & it led both to a general decline in trade union influence in the UK, & to a widespread adoption of modern newspaper publishing practices

28. Walk back past the entrance to Tobacco Dock & continue down Wapping Lane, passing the church of St Peter’s London Docks which was originally built in 1865. The church was the first Anglican mission to the poor of London. Work was begun in 1856 by the Revd Charles Lowder & a group of priests

Wapping was one of the poorest districts in London, a haunt of prostitutes & petty criminals, living alongside those who earned a precarious living from the docks. Lowder’s group of Clergy & Sisters provided practical care through schools, clubs, cheap canteens & child care & spiritual care through a wide range of services, centred on the Mass at the Mission Churches

In 1866 the new Church of St Peter was consecrated. Soon afterwards cholera struck the East End. Lowder organised Sisters of Mercy & others to care for the sick & raised funds for a tented hospital. The Priests & Sisters took great risks & worked without stint for the people of Wapping. At the end of the cholera people were calling Lowder, ‘the Father’ because he seemed like the father of the whole community

Further work was done to the church in the 1930s, & finished in 1940, only to be immediately destroyed by a bomb in the Blitz. Repairs were completed in 1949 & the church was completely renovated in 1985

29. Just past the church turn right into Watts Street, passing Turner’s Old Star pub. The pub is thought to have once been owned by the artist, J.M.W Turner who was well known for having several mistresses

In 1833 he met Sophia Booth, a widowed landlady from Margate who became his mistress until his death in 1851. Turner inherited two cottages, changed them into a tavern & installed Mrs. Booth as proprietor. He called the tavern ‘The Old Star’, which is what we see today

In 1987 the property was extensively refurbished & renamed ‘Turner’s Old Star’ as a tribute to him. There’s a very interesting plaque on the wall

It remembers Lydia Rogers, found guilty of witch-like practices on this spot in 1658

30. Continue past the pub & walk through the park which leads back to ‘The Turks Head’…

…& turn left to continue along Wapping High Street again

31. Pass the building of the Metropolitan Marine Policing Unit. The Unit was formed in 1839 & is today responsible for the waterborne policing of the 47 miles of the Thames between Hampton Court in the west & Dartford Creek in the east

The Unit has 22 vessels at its disposal & also provides support to the rest of the Metropolitan Police & to the City of London Police when dealing with incidents in or around any waterway in London. A specialist underwater & confined spaces search team carries out searches & the unit also has 24 officers who are trained in rope access techniques & trained to carry out searches & counter demonstrator operations at height

32. Wapping High Street is becoming extremely attractive with all the old warehouses of the wharves appearing to lean in over the road…

It’s next “recommended pub” time & this one was our lunch stop – you’ll see why in a minute. This is the ‘Captain Kidd’, named after the 17th century pirate William Kidd who was executed at the nearby Execution Dock, the supposed site of which we saw earlier

The pub is actually quite young as it was built in the 1980s in a former coffee warehouse. From the High Street it looks pretty nondescript, but walk through the door & you’re in a bar designed to look similar to a ship’s hulk. What makes it rather special though is the outside terrace that has several tables & benches with fantastic views of the river

33. Suitably refreshed, continue in the same direction, passing King Henry’s Stairs which lead down to King Henry’s Wharf…

…& then the imposing Gun Wharf building. As you can imagine the cost of a flat overlooking the river here is astronomical. As the name implies, it was here that the foundries used to supply the King’s warships with guns were produced

34. Pass Wapping Station which occupies the north end of the former Thames foot tunnel built by Marc Isambard Brunel between 1825 & 1843, & subsequently adapted for railway traffic. Access to the station is by lift or a flight of stairs built into one of the original access shafts of the Thames Tunnel

At this point you can follow the signs back onto the Thames Path, but there was construction work going on so we just kept straight ahead, turning left into Garnet Street. Although spelt differently, this was where Johnny Speight got the name for his character, Alf Garnett from the television programme “‘Til Death Us Do Part”. The character lived in Wapping

35. Turn right onto lovely Wapping Wall road…

…where we arrive at our next recommendation (& one that we’d been recommended), ‘The Prospect of Whitby’. Again this is another pub you must visit, as you’ll see below

The tavern was formerly known as ‘The Pelican’ & later as the ‘Devil’s Tavern’, on account of its dubious reputation. All that remains from the building’s earliest period is the 400 year old stone floor, & the pub features 18th century panelling & a 19th century facade. It also has a pewter-top bar that’s sat on top of old barrels

In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of “Hanging” Judge Jeffreys who lived nearby. If you look out of the window overlooking the Thames, you’ll see a replica gallows & noose commemorating his custom

Following a fire in the early 19th century, the tavern was rebuilt & renamed ‘The Prospect of Whitby’, after a Tyne collier that used to berth next to the pub. The ship took sea coal from Newcastle upon Tyne to London

Again though, just like the ‘Captain Kidd’ it’s the view from the terraced garden that makes this place so special, so draw up a seat. Until now we’ve walked through some old history…now we’re walking towards the present

There’s a few informative signs in the garden, one of which tells you that, in the 18th century, the first fuchsia plant in the UK was sold at the pub!

36. It’s time to move on again so continue along Wapping Wall road. The large building on the left’s the old London Hydraulic Power Company which dates back to 1890…

Originally it operated using steam, & was later converted to electricity. It was used to power machinery, including lifts, across London. After its closure as a pumping station in 1977 the building was converted & reopened as an arts centre, holding its first exhibition in 1993. In 2013, the freehold of the building was sold to developers & the buildings are intended for office & restaurant space. Work is planned to commence in summer 2020 for completion during summer 2021

37. Walking towards the bridge, turn right before it & go through Trafalgar Court down to the Thames again…

Follow the river path towards Shadwell Basin. The skyline is now dominated by Canary Wharf

When the tide goes out it exposes several small beaches along the river. At low tide people go “Mudlarking” as the constant ebb & flow of the water can expose artefacts from centuries ago

38. Continue along the path round the entrance of Shadwell Basin & cross the bridge to the far side…

Turn left to reach the Basin itself & stop & admire the view. Shadwell Basin was, like the others we’ve seen, formerly part of the London Docks. Today it’s one the most significant bodies of water surviving from the historical London Docks. Today it’s now used for recreational purposes (including sailing, canoeing & fishing)

39. Walking round the right side of the Basin, look for a set of steps leading up the side of a brick wall. Through the trees can be seen our next stop, St Paul’s Church

The old parish church, traditionally known as the ‘Church of Sea Captains’, was built in 1656. It’s believed that 75 sea captains are buried at the Church. During the Great Plague it was one of five sites in the parish of Stepney used as ‘plague pits’. It was rebuilt in 1669 as the Parish Church of Shadwell & was named after St Paul’s Cathedral

John Wesley was a preacher at here & Captain James Cook worshipped here. The church was demolished in 1817 & the present building was erected in 1821. It’s the only building built by John Walters that still survives

40. Walk out of the main gate of the churchyard & turn right along The Highway, taking a first right into Glannis Road towards the swing bridge again. Just before the bridge take the Thames Path route down the alley to the left…

Normally the path would go straight to the river again, but there was work being undertaken so we had to divert through King Edward VII Memorial Park which was opened in 1922 by King George V & Queen Mary with the following dedication: “In grateful memory of King Edward VII. This park is dedicated to the use & enjoyment of the people of East London for ever”

The site of the park itself is steeped in history. In May 1533, Sir Hugh Willoughby set off from what is now the park with three ships in search for the Northeast Passage to India

41. Back on the Thames Path continue eastwards. Look out for a round tower which is a ventilation shaft for the Rotherhithe Tunnel which you’re now walking above. It was formally opened in 1908 & is an extremely rare example of a road tunnel where road traffic, pedestrians & cyclists all share the same tunnel bore

Cross the small wooden bridge & continue on the boardwalk until path ends. Turn left & walk down the alley…

42. At the end turn right & walk a hundred or so yards along Narrow Street, turning right to pick up the river path once more

The path is zig zagging quite a bit at the moment. The restaurant at the end of this short riverside stretch, occupying the old dock master’s house is ‘The Narrow’, a gastropub owned by Gordon Ramsay

43. It’s time to move away from the river once more as this is the entrance to Limehouse Basin, so walk up the steps next to the restaurant & cross the bridge turning left into the Basin

The Limehouse Basin, previously called the Regent’s Canal Dock, provides a navigable link between the Regent’s Canal & the Thames. Walk round the right side of the basin which is a lovely area…

…& then turn right under Bridge 9 (don’t cross any bridges)

44. Follow the canal for a short distance until it turns left under a footbridge. At this point take the right fork into the park called ‘Ropemakers Field…

It was formerly the site of ropemaking in Limehouse where rope for marine anchors, rigging & mining was made for many centuries. Samuel Pepys refers to a visit to the ropeyard in 1664, & Tsar Alexander II of Russia visited in 1871

Walk through the park & exit onto Narrow Street once more

45. Narrow Street has always been an “in place” to live as we’ll see shortly. It’s time for one of the highlights of this walk, especially if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan. Turn right & walk to The Grapes pub…

This extremely small, narrow pub dates from the 1720s & is on the site of a pub built in 1583. It was formerly a working-class tavern serving the dockers of the Limehouse Basin. In the 1930s it sold beer from the adjacent brewery owned by Taylor Walker – today it still has an excellent choice of draft ales. It survived the intense bombing of the area in World War II

Today it’s more famous as it’s part owned by Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), who lives next door & is apparently the Quizmaster every Monday evening. There’s a dining room upstairs & also a great double level decking overlooking the river. Have a look outside as McKellan has one of Anthony Gormley‘s statue, called ‘Another Time’ on a plinth in the river

Gormley is probably best known for the ‘Angel of the North’, although we’ve featured several other pieces of his work on some of our walks

Back inside the pub, what all the tourists come to see is behind the bar…Gandalf’s Staff…

The Australian barmaid said “I’ve tried it & it doesn’t work you know!” There’s several other memorabilia in the pub so have a wander around as it doesn’t disappoint

46. Come back out of the pub, turn right & continue along Narrow Street, following the signs on the right back to the Thames Path

Shortly this modern path crosses Limekiln Dock…

Limekiln Dock is a natural inlet & was where a little-known stream called the Black Ditch entered the Thames. One of the cargoes unloaded at the dock was chalk which was heated in kilns to make lime for the building industry. Indirectly, the dock was to give the hamlet of Limehouse its name. The earliest mention was 1367 as ‘Le Lymhostes’ & as ‘Lymehostes’ in 1417. The kilns or oasts were described as being beside the river. The name of Limehouse, therefore, means ‘place near lime kilns’ The second syllable started as ‘oast’ & passed through the stage ‘hurst’ before becoming ‘house’

47. Cross the footbridge & now you’re on the Isle of Dogs, which isn’t actually an island, but a peninsula that’s surrounded by the Thames on three sides

The Isle of Dogs is home to Canary Wharf which, along with the City Of London is one of the main financial centres of the UK. It covers 97 acres & contains around 16,000,000 square feet of office & retail space

48. The best bit of walking advice we can give you about Canary Wharf is just to simply wander & explore as there’s some rather nice areas in this concrete jungle. The route we took was as follows, but the light was fading rapidly so we didn’t see as much as we’d have liked to

Turn left & walk up the steps towards Westferry Circus…

Westferry Circus is one of the main interchanges in the area & is actually one roundabout on top of the other. Walk straight though the middle of the gardens…

49. After crossing we turned left as Colombus Courtyard seemed quite interesting with its mix of restaurants, sculptures & crazy golf!

Follow the signs to explore West India & Poplar Docks…

50. The walk ends at Canary Wharf Station which is well signposted. It also has a feel about New York about it with neon strips showing the news headlines etc

So, this is where our fascinating walk through the history of this part of London ends. During our stroll we passed though hundreds of years of history, stood where famous people have stood & raised a glass where many have done the same

You could do this walk several times & see different things. Indeed…it could be split into several smaller walks to really get under the skin of each area…now there’s an idea!!

Go Walk!