The evolution of Canary Wharf since the 1980s has transformed the remnants of the UK’s largest docks into a skyscraper packed peninsula.
East London’s most famous skyline is best observed from afar, and there are multiple locations around London to get the perfect shot — or just sit back and take in the view!
Here’s a brief list of 6 of the best places with views of Canary Wharf.
1. Thames Path
Easily accessed on foot from Canary Wharf’s centre, and conveniently passing by Canary Wharf Pier and the Uber Boat, the Thames path provides stunning views.
Section three of the Thames Path spans between Tower Bridge and Greenwich. Snaking through the Isle of Dogs, this section also provides some of the best views of Canary Wharf.
Taking the path west towards Tower Bridge captures the height of Landmark Pinnacle and Newfoundland — two of the tallest residential buildings in Europe — and the contrasting low-rise docklands’ development nearby.
2. Greenwich Park
There are a surprising amount of parks near Canary Wharf. One of the largest, and home to the famous Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park provides outstanding views towards Canary Wharf and across the entirety of the City of London.
Located around 2 and a half miles south of the financial centre, Greenwich Park’s raised elevation combined with its distance from the skyscraper packed area, means it provides a great panoramic view.
As a result, it’s probably the most commonly photographed view of Canary Wharf, but on a clear day, the vista across London is spectacular.
3. Greenland docks
Greenland docks in Surrey Quays is another location with excellent views of Canary Wharf that is easily accessible via the Uber Boat.
The oldest of London’s wet docks, this location in Rotherhithe is no longer used commercially, and is now home to multiple houseboats and several new residential developments.
With 130 residential berths and surrounding developments, there are plenty of nearby cafés and shops to visit while you are there.
There is even a water sports centre!
The expansive docks provide an obstruction free view for capturing the entirety of the Canary Wharf skyline from the southwest.
4. Tate Modern
If you are after an interesting view of Canary Wharf, and one that is not often seen, the Tate Modern is a good place to start.
Opened in 2000, the ex-power station has since been modernised twice by Herzog & De Meuron — the same renowned architect that designed flagship Canary Wharf residential development One Park Drive.
In 2016, the Switch House extension provided the famous art gallery with a 10th floor viewing platform with unobstructed views along the Thames towards Canary Wharf.
The viewing centre is free to access and provides one of the more unique places to view Canary Wharf, set against the busy London foreground.
5. Thames Barrier
Helping to keep Canary Wharf above water, the Thames Barrier is a 1700 ft (ca. 518 m) long flood defence system located upstream of the Isle of Dogs.
The tidal Thames varies in height throughout the year, with surge tides raising water levels up to 3 meters! Ten steel gates — weighing 3,300 tonnes each — open and close to regulate the height of the water level in London.
While you can’t get access to the structure itself, there is a visitors centre and the site is easily accessed via Pontoon Dock DLR station. Photos from the south side, emphasise the height of Canary Wharf’s skyscrapers against the backdrop of the Thames and the o2 Arena.
6. The Emirates Airline
One of the best ways to see Canary Wharf is from the air.
Whilst renowned aerial photographers like Jason Hawkes use helicopters to get their fascinating shots — there is a budget alternative!
The Emirates Airline is London’s first cable car, routing between the o2 Arena in North Greenwich and the Royal Docks. While a functional means of transport across the Thames — you can even use your oyster card — the cable car provides stunning aerial views.
After 19:00 every day, the speed of the cable car is slowed so that you can enjoy the view, with each journey taking around 12-13 minutes. This is the perfect time to enjoy sunset views of Canary Wharf and across London.