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LiFE on the ground: Canary Wharf

Tags: london

Published on: Sept. 11, 2017, 3:53 p.m.
Updated on: Jan. 31, 2020, 6:31 a.m.

I’m on a mission. A mission to bring you a flavour of LiFE in every single one of the areas we have properties, starting with the concrete jungle that is Canary Wharf.

Or is it? Sitting in the water gardens behind the tube station, you could quite easily forget you were relaxing in the heart of the financial district. That is, until you look up and see the sky scrapers peeking out from the trees - they do tend to give it away a bit. Canary Wharf is probably one of those places you think of as “very-Londony”. It’s busy, fancy, and full of suits. While all of these things are true, there is a lot more to Canary Wharf than just people walking fast and looking important…

Photo collage of Canary Wharf

If you’re new to London you will soon learn that there is quite literally a coffee shop on every corner, (normally Pret, from my experiences). This can be quite bothersome for those rouge wanderers who want a taste of something local and that they don’t consume every Monday morning. Are you ready to try something different?

If you walk left from Canary Wharf station, through "Obica", you reach the South Quay footbridge which lets you cross the river. It’s a lovely spot on a sunny day, with the skyscrapers reflecting wobbily in the water. Unfortunately, it was rather grey on my most recent trip, but I guess that meant I had a very typical city experience. Cross the bridge and you will be greeted by somewhat of a hidden gem. There are four quirky food vans opposite South Quay selling fresh coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, ideal for commuters on the go. I wasn’t sure which van to try but was drawn in by “Café Samba”. 

Forest Green coffee van called 'Cafe Samba'Café Samba

The forest green van’s old-school menu design caught my eye, as did the tempting cakes on display. I decided to order my fave coffee, a mocha. The van-owner (I’m so annoyed I didn’t get his name!) served me with a smile and told me he ran his van every day. That’s right, all week and most of the weekend. Impressive! So if you are in town, Café Samba will most definitely be up and running. The coffee is pretty good too…

For lunch, I headed back to the thriving hub of Canary Wharf. Outside the station there are a number of pop-up eateries offering you tantalising tastes from around the globe. I chose to head to Asia! "Simply Noodles" was simply fab. I ordered the spicy chicken noodles and was given the most enormous take-away tub. I mean, it was bigger than my hand!

Spicy chicken noodles from 'Simply Noodles' in Canary WharfMy spicy chicken noodles - I couldn't finish them...

These were an absolute treat, and also won the prize for being the curliest, chunkiest noodles I had even seen, which was wonderful, even if they were somewhat of a challenge to eat. For £5.90 they aren’t the cheapest for every day but you do get a lot for your money and hey, you’re in Canary Wharf so what did you expect?!

If you’re a budding shopper head underground for a shopaholic plethora of opportunities. From high-end to high street, in the Canary Wharf shopping centre under One Canada Square, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t forget your debit card…

If that’s a bit much for you, then I'd suggest taking a turn in the beautiful river gardens. Quiet, serene, and quite beautiful, you’d never know you were in Canary Wharf. Well, except for the intruding distant rumble of the DLR. As I walked along the riverfront by the harbour, it was hard not to see why Canary Wharf is such a desirable area to live and walk, combining industry with nature in structural harmony. Don’t believe me? Well then, you’ll just have to come and experience it for yourself.

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