London’s Villages: Canary Wharf

Illustration by Sarah McMenemy

Known for its head offices, high rise and high finance, Canary Wharf has evolved into one of London’s truly modern villages, with a community vibe ALL of its own

If you haven’t visited Canary Wharf in a few years, prepare for a surprise. “Canary Wharf has typically been associated with a more corporate way of life – only coming alive Monday to Friday – but that sentiment has really shifted in recent years, and instead there’s a real sense of community and identity here,” says Ben Butler, head of sales at Savills Canary Wharf office.

First Impressions

Canary Wharf
Water Street

“We’ve seen a lot of young professionals buying, but more importantly, people are staying here. In fact, 76% of domestic buyers are moving within the local area, making Canary Wharf the leading neighbourhood for its staying power according to Savills research,” Ben continues.

John Miller, board director at Dexters Canary Wharf agrees: “Canary Wharf has evolved into a vibrant, contemporary village. The area has an array of property types, from sleek apartments with incredible views to spacious townhouses. Buyer and tenant profiles range from young professionals drawn to the area’s career opportunities, to families attracted to its friendly environment and excellent schools.”

Residents enjoy fine dining, boutique shopping, and unique weekend activities. “There are some unbelievable restaurants, bars and brilliant entertainment options like Clays, Fairgame and Electric Shuffle,” says Mark Lee, head of sales at Knight Frank Canary Wharf office.

“Seasonal events like Christmas light shows and sports fixtures shown on big screens during the summer months bring the community together, and there’s a regular programme of art installations and music. For those looking for something a little different, you can even go open-water swimming or karting on the estate.”

Young children enjoy Flip Out, a 10,000sqft kids zone. Canary Wharf is “one of London’s best kept secrets”, concludes Adam Wolfryd head of sales at Hamptons.


Canary Wharf
Crossrail Place Roofgarden


Nailing it

Start with a manicure or pedicure at nail-art maestro Townhouse’s latest opening on Jubilee Place. Embrace the 2024 summer trends, with a minimalist gloss or floral or metallic nail art. For sportier wellness seekers, Le Chalet Cryo offers whole-body cryotherapy, which reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system and rejuvenates skin.


Cool off

Re-opening this month, enjoy a dip in the clean Middle Dock. As temperatures rise, practise your stroke techniques, or simply float along and taking in the wharf views. In partnership with Canal and River Trust, the waters are safe to swim, and membership costs £15, below right.


Leisurely lunching

With ample choice, finding a place to lunch or brunch will leave you wanting to come back to try another venue. MMy Wood Wharf, part of the Mercato Metropolitano family, specialises in artisanal market style food. Or head to Ivy in the Park for tried-and-tested British classics. For drinks, there’s No.35 Mackenzie Walk, and for some gelato, try the Badiani.


Challenge accepted!

When work is done, Canary Wharf has a playful side. This summer challenge a friend or sibling to nostalgic video games at Platform on Crossrail Place where gamers can book a booth. If you’re wanting a closer look at the river, book GoBoat where you can sail around the Wharf docks. For a day at the funfair, head to Fairgame.


Summer screen

After a long day exploring the wonders of the wharf, wind down on a summer evening by settling down to a favourite movie. Whether you’re watching with friends or coming along solo, Canada Square Park’s free-of-charge Summer Screen sets the scene with everything from old classics to more recent releases and feel-good titles. The movie credits will be rolling all season long, until September.

Ask a local: Indie Love Gordon, Founder of Halo App

“Canary Wharf, with its bustling streets and towering skyscrapers, holds a special place in my heart. I find solace by the peaceful waterfront, where I can escape the hustle and bustle. But what truly excites me is the 40% Club, a hidden gem in the heart of Canary Wharf.

It’s the UK’s first open-mic pitch night, a wonderful experience where creative talent meets innovative entrepreneurship. It’s an experience where dreams come to life. The club welcomes everyone in with open arms. In Canary Wharf, I’ve found a place where creativity thrives, and every dream feels within reach.”

Canary Wharf Food & Drink


12 Park Drive


These 100 per cent plant-based restaurants (there’s also a branch in Borough Market) take culinary inspiration from around the globe. Within walking distance of beautiful Harbour Quay Gardens, mallow’s menu is created by director of food Sarah Wasserman. Find seasonal highlights such as courgette samphire carpaccio, ending on the sweet note of raspberry tart.


5 Frobisher Passage

Canary Wharf
Summer cocktails, photographed by Al Ward

The award-winning chophouse, Blacklock promise a roast ‘almost as good as mum’s’. Find refreshing summer cocktails, that champion the restaurant’s pip-to-peel philosophy of using every drop of fruit. To accompany your shareable chops, choose from kale and parmesan, 10-hour ash sweet potato and beef dripping chips.


13 Water Street

Canary Wharf

Dishoom restaurants across London are synonymous with vibrant flavours, often attracting winding queues. Inspired by the Irani cafes and food of Bombay that bring all walks of life together over food and drink, the Wood Wharf branch continues the chain’s generous tradition. Sample mouth-watering plates of gunpowder potatoes, sheekh kabab, and customer favourite, vada pau.


5 Park Drive

From the trio behind Fallow St James’s and FOWL, Roe is bringing its creative gastronomy to Canary Wharf. Delivering seasonal dishes in a modern setting, on the menu delectable dishes may include warmed flatbreads with Cornish scallop and praline pumpkin. Among the small plate, find sea bream tartare and flamed siracha mussels among the mains.

Six by Nico

Chancellor Passage

Canary Wharf
New York themed dish

Founded by Glasgow-born Chef Nico Simeone, Six by Nico offers an element of surprise, changing its menu every six weeks. An oasis of culinary discovery, past tasting menus have included A Bite of the Big Apple celebrating the vibrancy of New York, and currently Mexican cuisine until the 30th.


School provision has increased in the Canary Wharf area, particularly around the family-friendly Isle of Dogs, where there are a number of community and church primaries. River House Montessori on Millharbour, near the business district, is an independent day school for children aged three to 16 with an equal-opportunities admission policy. The school hosts 40+ nationalities, speaking 40+ languages. Faraday Prep School at Trinity Buoy Wharf is a co-ed establishment for children aged four to 11, which opened in 2009. The wharf is a centre for the arts and culture, from the English National Opera to the Prince’s Foundation, and the school benefits from the buzz created. Canary Wharf’s excellent transport links on the Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines and DLR offer access to most of the capital’s finest senior schools. Within easy reach is City of London School for Girls by the Barbican, City of London School for Boys next to the Millennium Bridge  and Forest School, a private day school in Walthamstow.

Ask an agent: Mark Montes, Sales director, JLL

“Canary Wharf, located in the heart of London’s financial district, has progressed enormously from being just a great place to work to also being an excellent location for bringing up children. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the Canary Wharf group, particularly the regeneration of Wood Wharf and the introduction of its array of amenities, brand-new schools, excellent transport links, and its famously safe environment, we’ve seen more and more young professionals choosing The Wharf. Coupled with stylish high-end modern blocks including Landmark Pinnacle’s  75-floor development, the Wardian’s private sky garden bringing nature to modern city living and South Quay Plaza’s exceptional specifications along with each of their world-beating facilities, provides the ideal lifestyle choice for the modern family.”

Canary Wharf: On the market

8 Harbord Square

Canary Wharf
Photography by Ben Pipe

Joining One Park Drive and 10 Park Drive, this is the latest residential building in the expanding Wood Wharf district. Giving an architectural nod to Canary Wharf’s industrial history with its brick warehouse exterior, the sophisticated open-plan apartment interiors are reminiscent of Manhattan lofts. £775,000-£1.345m. Agent:

Wards Place

Canary Wharf

With a wraparound balcony, this two-bedroom apartment is part of new luxury development the Wardian, which provides residents with concierge, spa, cinema and bar facilities. £1.05m Agent:

Arena Tower

Canary Wharf

Covering 2,700 sq ft, This four-bed duplex penthouse apartment comes with interiors by Nicola Fontanella, a 24-hour concierge service and membership to the Baltimore Club. £3m Agent:

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