Docklands in London


Jun 11th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Docklands in London

The Docklands area of London has been discussed on this forum but not for many years. As part of our week in London (leaving this weekend), my husband wishes to spend half a day in the Docklands. I'm not exactly sure what is there to see. Is the museum there worthwhile? Any guidance you might offer is appreciated. We're staying in the Earls Court area so it seems it might take time to get to the Docklands. We are 50 and love to walk, eat, enjoy museums and art. I thought it might be fun to go to the British Music Experience at the 02 as part of that day. Thanks so much.
jranger is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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I found the Museum of London Docklands much better than expected. It's the kind of museum I like which tells history through stories rather than a series of objects in glass cases.

From there you can take the DLR to Royal Victoria and cross the river to the O2 on the cable car.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 03:49 PM
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The Docklands museum is fantastic! although it could chew up the whole half day. There are a couple restaurants nearby for lunch. I can't recommend any since we had a very bad experience at one that I think has since closed (no surprise there). Also, take an hour or so and walk around some of the basins and try to imagine the large ships in them.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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We really enjoyed the Docklands museum and it's free. There are many restaurants and pubs at Canary Wharf. We walked along the Thames towards Ealing and stopped at one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants on the water for an ale and a snack.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 11:04 PM
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but not for many years.


Often mentioned in conjunction with Canary Wharf
alanRow is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2013, 11:40 PM
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You need to ask him why he wants to see Docklands. Spending time in museums might not be his idea of fun, and watching reruns of Call the Midwife is probably the most user-friendly way of getting an insight into dockland life when the ships were still running

Docklands constitutes a HUGE area west of Tower Bridge, mostly rebuilt (or still just waiting redevelopment) for use rather than ornament. There's no Olde Worlde redevelopment like South Street Dock or the Albert Dock: in fact there isn't any kind of what's called in the jargon a "festival marketplace", which just isn't a London thing (one Covent Garden's enough, thanks)

Greenwich - a standard posh London inner suburb, but with some monumental architecture that's grandiose in a deeply unEnglish way (the kind of vacuous pomposity more often found in Washington, Paris or the ghastly Blenheim) - more than makes up for that, though.

If your husband is interested in how huge tracts of urban land get rehabilitated, you'll have a lot of ground to cover: personally I'd hire a car and drive.

Otherwise you get the best views from the DLR (a denser, quieter, hi-tech version of Chicago's Loop) and out of the cable car from Royal Victoria DLR station to Greenwich. The modern bit of Greenwich round the cable car station and the O2 arena are quite a schlep from the 18th century bit and the meridian hocus-pocus: better by bus than on foot.

Apart from the museum, there's not that much by way of town centre-style clusters of eating, drinking and shopping.There's quite a lot along and just south of the south bank immediately east of Tower Bridge. Canary Wharf is extraordinary, especially on weekday lunchtimes or during the just after work drinking times in the summer months. Stratford East's Westfield Centre is astonishing, especially for the amount of Asian bling being worn by local shoppers - and for just about the best shopping mall food in Britain (not a difficult prize to win).

Docklands is just a subset of the whole East London project: the other big rehabilitation is the Olympic park (a rehab of a rehab). This doesn't start to reopen till the end of July, but there are views from bits of Westfield Stratford, especially the second floor of John Lewis.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 11:52 PM
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The journey there from Earl's Court isn't particularly long with the Jubilee Line.

Your husband will have his own ideas about why he's interested in seeing it, so it's a bit hard to say if it's "worthwhile". I'm assuming there's an interest in industrial and social history and urban regeneration, in which case there is plenty to see. FWIW the Museum in Docklands always seems to me to be pretty lively, with reconstructions of streetscapes and interiors, and interactive screens to go with the display cabinets and artefacts. But you'd get a better idea from sources like:
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Jun 12th, 2013, 12:06 AM
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We stayed in the Docklands area a couple of years ago, and found it quite fascinating. We were tracing family history, so it probably had more relevance for us.

The Docklands museum was far more than we expected and we spent several hours there. There's a casual eating area within the building that was good for a meal before we took off to explore the rest of the area. Di
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Jun 12th, 2013, 12:39 AM
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The museum is interesting from an engineering point of view, the basins have lost all their dock facilities and have just some sporting facilities, I got dragged there (to look at property amongst other things) and think there are far more interesting things to do elsewhere for a tourist.

Greenwich and the flood barrier is far more interesting on the other side of the river.
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Jun 12th, 2013, 03:54 AM
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There are occasionally visiting ships in the South Dock at Canary Wharf, but it's a bit unpredictable. We've just had the Greenpeace ship but it might be a warship on a courtesy visit or a tall sailing ship on a training cruise. Of course, in the Olympics we had a gigantic cruise liner that served as the German team's HQ and the Danish royal yacht - but that was then.

It's looking a bit sparse for June:
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Jun 12th, 2013, 05:04 AM
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I really appreciate your thoughtful answers - we will definitely plan on the museum. We will figure out how to get around on the DLR and cablecar as well. Many thanks to all.
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