Finding the greenery in the concrete jungle

Canary Wharf is home to a completely man made environment.  Dominated by office towers (among the tallest in London) and lots of concrete / paving.  It is completely designed, master planned and artificial.  This is both good and bad of course.

Canary Wharf is of course, not immune to the ravages of chain restaurants that dominate London.  It’s no surprise that you’ll find the obligatory Wagamama, Byron’s Burgers, Wahaca and Cafe Brera which are great to sit in and have a decent meal – but of course, there’s also one or two of the million Pret A Mange, EAT, Cafe Nero, Itsu, or Leons, which are perfect to grab something quick and head to ‘nature’.

Canary Wharf is home to a few parks (all man made of course) where you can stretch your legs, take a deep breath and gobble down your lunch ;

Jubilee Place

A sojourn through Jubilee Place greets you with some elevated ponds with running water (tranquil), greenery (grass and leafy trees) meandering paths and some nice places to sit and relax.

It’s no surprise that when the sun comes out, this place is literally crammed with office workers just desperate to get some sunshine.  Having somewhere to sit is not guaranteed during the lunch period, but it’s nice nonetheless.

It’s also directly on top of the Canary Wharf tube station and Jubilee Place shopping mall.  Very convenient if you just need a quick break.  This is where we had also spotted our friend Mr Fox.

Crossrail Place

I get excited about big infrastructure projects (can’t help it).  Crossrail Place is part of the exciting new Elizabeth Line, which is set to cross London and open in 2018.  Affectionately known by its original name of ‘Crossrail’ – this line is set to change the face of London – and it’s already making it’s mark through the striking use of architecture in each of the new and existing stations which will form part of the new line.

Crossrail Place will be home to the second Canary Wharf tube station servicing the Elizabeth line.  While the tube station isn’t due to open in quite a while, the building itself is such a distinctive design and already houses some great eateries and most impressively, a rooftop garden.

Littered with places to sit and contemplate your day, the rooftop garden is surprisingly tranquil.  There’s the hum of the traffic, the occasional jet flying over on approach to London City airport, yet, you’re amongst the trees and greenery and you can actually feel like you’re surrounded by oxygen for once – take the opportunity to breathe.

The garden is partially encased in the transparent roof which in itself is an amazing feat of engineering, so you can be excused for thinking you’re in a sort of greenhouse.  It’s well worth the look and you can pop downstairs to Notes for a great coffee worthy of Melbourne standards.

The fountain at Cabot Square

Again, another meeting place for those sun worshipping Londonners who are confined to their glass and concrete office buildings – the fountain at Cabot Square is a great place to escape.

Whilst not as tranquil as those other greener areas above (the area is covered in granite and stone) – it’s still nice to hear the constant sound of the central fountain plus the cascading water which surrounds the square.  There are also Parisian style areas where you can sit beneath the green leafy hedge rows in the shade and zone out to the running water.

What do you think of Canary Wharf’s open spaces?

Let me know if you’ve visited or spent time in Canary Wharf – Do you have a favourite space?  Are you a fan?  Let me know if the comments below.



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