A secret area in London with excellent views for history lovers. Wapping is an area in east London, part of the former Docklands, about which lots of Londoners don't even know. And the ones who know, appreciate it a lot.
Back in the days, these Docklands were the richest in the world, accepting and storing the most expensive products: spices, ivory, tea and so on. But once containers were invented, London port became too shallow for the new age flotilla. Other Kingdom cities, like Manchester and Liverpool, took over and London Dockland became neglected. Hardcore bombing of the East side during the Second World War also didn’t help.
And so it was until 1980s when developers came and saw the residential potential of the area. Huge changes were made. Lots of the basins were filled with earth and the houses were built upon it. Few parks were open too: King’s Edward Memorial park, Wapping Woods, etc. Old port’s offices and storage were converted. By the 21st century, the area became incredibly pricey and popular for it’s riverside lofts, calm streets and unusual history. But of course, like everywhere in London there are plenty of council and ex-council houses and rental properties.
I was lucky enough to move into Wapping last year. Half of my windows are facing the waters of Shadwell basis, one of the few surviving water features. Shadwell basis is a home for many swans, ducks and occasional gooses, along with the water sport practitioners.
Wapping was voted to be the best area for jogging due to the total absence of cars. I can see hundreds of joggers a day through my window. They start from their offices at Canary Wharf and make a turn at the Tower Bridge.
One of the Wapping landmarks is Prospect of Whitbey – London’s oldest riverside Inn founded in 1522. I wouldn’t recommend to eat there, but it’s worth popping up for a pint of Doombar ale.
Prospect of Whitby
Address: 57 Wapping Wall, London E1W 3SH
Another famous pub is Captain Kidd. It’s known to be an execution place for pirates. This pub has an excellent selections of beers, ales, and lagers, all from the same brewery, and prices are surprisingly reasonable. For example, a pint of Bitter is £1.80. Who says London is expensive?
The Captain Kidd
Address: 108 Wapping High Street, London E1W 2NE
Another place worth visiting is the Wapping Project Gallery, which is right in front of the Prospect of Whitbey pub. Formerly the Hydraulic Station which provides power for the Tower Bridge and whole Docklands, it is now one of the top galleries in the country dedicated to photography. Run by the very energetic Dr. Jules Wright, it also hosts a very good restaurant, a bookshop based inside the greenhouse, and summer outdoor screenings.
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Wapping Wall, Lonodn, Greater London E1W 3ST
And don’t forget to stop for a glass or bottle of wine at the James Wallace wine shop and bar, it has a great selection and free tastings during Saturdays.
James Wallace Wine,
69 Garnet Street
You can get to Wapping by the newly re-opened Overground, a walk here from Tower Bridge by the canal, or down from Shadwell DLR station. Enjoy!