A perfect place for sunset watching while enjoying a pint of beer.
Greenland Dock is the oldest of London’s wet docks located in Rotherhithe. It used to be part of the Surrey Commercial Docks, most of which have been filled in by now with only two of them that survived: Greenland Dock and Shadwell Basin.
All the names basically just speak for themselves. There is Finland Street, Baltic Quays, Canada Water and Russia Dock just to name few. The dock was originally laid out between 1695-99. Owners wanted to improve the rural property they owned and obtained permission to construct a rectangular dock of about 10 acres, capable of accommodating around 120 ships. It was not built with cargo traffic in mind; it did not have walls, warehouses, or other commercial facilities. It was a re-fitting base where ships could be repaired. Later it moved on to timber trade, controlling 80 percent of it. Timber mostly arrived from the Baltic region (clue for the local names).
Between 1895-1904 Greenland Dock was greatly expanded to 22.5 acres, so much bigger vessels were able to come to these docks. It was severely damaged during the second World War, briefly reclined, but went into complete decline around 1970s. Now, it is a quiet residential area, perfect for enjoying tranquility and water reflections.
I come here quite often, so do groups of pregnant women, learning how to jog and operate the push chair at the same time, and children, riding mini horses, and melancholic fishermen. There is a great pub right on the water edge – Moby Dick. It is very spacious, with additional tables available outside. It is perfect for watching sunsets, as the sun hides behind the horizon, the water becomes all yellow, orange, and red all at the same time. There is a grass field next to it as well, so you can enjoy your drinks al-fresco (hurray! the DO sell takeaway wines for reasonable prices, starting from £7 a bottle). Also, the 2nd floor of the pub is available for private hire- and is free of charge if you and your guests are going to buy your booze from the bar, or order the homemade canapes; but it costs £100 if you bring your own, perfect for birthday parties, I think.
Address: 6 Russell Court East, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 7PL
If you are not into drinking, Surrey Docks Water Sports Centre might be the place for you. It recently underwent a very expensive restoration, so it might be worth checking out.
Rope Street, off Plough Way
Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 7SX