There are times I am convinced of knowing well the cities where I’ve lived, but then it’s just a matter of minutes. Seconds, even. Those ones needed to take all in when I get to a place like Trinity Buoy Wharf, and those seconds where all my certainties are shattered. I’ve visited London an indeterminate number of times, so when I booked the nth flight to Stanstead, the goal for this trip was scratching beneath the surface of this city which, incidentally, I’m crazy in love with and check out the best things to do in London off the beaten path.
I started from the Docklands, east of the City, which were once part of the huge London port, and now a highly heterogenous area: on one side you have Canary Wharf, where the biggest financial enterprises have their headquarters; on the other, most of the docklands are still undergoing requalification projects. I had read about this wharf that has become a refugee for creatives, so I got off the DLR at the East India stop and started walking, following the signs to Trinity Buoy Wharf.
It was Sunday afternoon and the road to the wharf runs along the highway on one side and a marsh on the other; no one was in sight and it was… quite an uneasy feeling. My guts were telling me to turn around and going back, but I was curious, and when I found on the road an old taxi with a tree growing out of it, well, I just knew I had to keep going! And then I finally got to Trinity Buoy Wharf, and I felt I had won the first prize at a tresure’s hunt. Definitely something to add to your itinerary in London. The place was literally crawling with people: some were skating, others were spray painting cars and canvas, and in the meantime a wedding reception was taking place in the back. Random, I know.
Trinity Buoy Wharf is a hidden enclave for creative minds: you need a reason to visit it? I’ll give you five.
| The lighthouse |
This is the only lightouse in London, and not your typical one either. You can climb to the top to admire the view over the Thames, but why it is different? It hosts the Longplayer installation by Jem Finer, a musical composition projected to last one thousand years without ever repeating! In the lighthouse you can see the singing bowls, a kind of standing bells producing the sound. It’s open every weekend 11am to 5 pm, except for the winter months (October to March) where the lighthouse closes one hour earlier. Entrance is free of charge but donations are welcome.
| The Container City |
The Container City is a prototype of buildings made of surplus shipping containers, so that new buildings are created in a sustainable way…ooh how I love this word! This could totally be my office. I see myself here, running my blog, with music in the background. Maybe not an option if you’re a doctor or a lawyer, but the 22 separate units composing the city are truly affordable and up for rent. Not bad for a city where rental prices get higher and higher.
| The Fatboy Diner |
Did you just say American breakfast all day long?
The Fatboy Diner is small but with a lot of character, a genuine 1940s American diner moved to London. I haven’t tried the burgers as it was afternoon when I went, but their shakes are good and creamy. Worth a try!
| The smallest museum in London |
Warning: the Faraday Effect is teeeny-tiny museum, as big as a wooden hut can be…it’s the smallest in London.
Open daily 7am to 6 pm, the permanent installation is dedicated to the life of Michael Faraday, a scientist famous for his discoveries on magnetism, who performed many of his experiments in the lighthouse here at Trinity Buoy Wharf. Not to be confused with the Faraday Museum located in Mayfair, the entrance is free.
| The view over the Thames |
This place is special: so close to the City and the o2 Arena, that you literally feel you could touch it, yet it feels so far away. A hidden oasis you would never find if you were not looking for it.
Have you been to Trinity Buoy Wharf?
To get here: if you’re coming by public transportation, get off the DLR at East India and follow the signs to Trinity Buoy Wharf or the Bird Sanctuary.
For all additional informations on how to get here, permanent and temprary installations and events, take a look at Trinity Buoy Wharf website.
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Great blog! Trinity Buoy Wharf is one of the 30 great things to do via the Docklands Light Railway, would love to hear what you think of some more! Thames Barrier Park is another hidden gem. http://tfl.gov.uk/DLR30
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