Drinking Your Way from Wharf to City

The Prospect of Whitby - Thomas Balzer

While the DLR might be the quicker and more efficient way to get from Canary Wharf into the City, the current outbreak of summer lends itself to taking a more leisurely route: walk from Canary Wharf to the City and you are never far from a beautiful riverside drinking hole.

The following tour takes you from Canary Wharf to the City, which means that reading from bottom to top you could follow the tour from the City Eastbound. If you were so inclined.

Starting off in Canary Wharf, there is no shortage of drinking spots, but to get your riverside pub crawl going, you really should start by the river.

For a solid foundation, begin with a steak at The Gaucho Grill, or, if eating is not on the menu, at Jamie's below Westferry Circus. While those who don't want to embark on the epic walk could hop on a river boat to go City-bound, the brave will walk west past a few generic restaurants and the Four Seasons to get to Limehouse.

First stop in Limehouse is Booty's. While not one of the most beautiful venues, it serves its purpose to get you warmed up before you enter The Grapes, a pub which Charles Dickens apparently knew very well, and that is quaint, charming and a genuine original.

Following the main road you are about to get a first fix of celebrity pubbing. Gordon Ramsey's The Narrow right past the Limehouse Lock serves amazing fish & chips, has a superb riverside terrace and the money Gordon has spent on the makeover makes it a fair few notches more likeable than other gastropubs. Since the Narrow is the last stop for at least another 20-25 minutes, you might want to factor this into your consumption of food and beverages.

Continuing along the river you now enter a stretch of mainly residential properties without much to do (or drink) apart from enjoying the view of the river, Canary Wharf and the odd boat mooring on the Thames. Once you cross King William Memorial Park (caveat: It closes around 8:30 or 9, so if you are later than that you need to bypass it along the Highway), you enter Wapping which then again offers an abundance of pubs after this lengthy drought.

The first one is The Prospect of Whitby, London's oldest riverside pub, from circa 1520. Whilst it's a nice pub with a great terrace, you should be warned that it is featured in pretty much every London travel guide and with quite some regularity busloads of tourists are offloaded and will storm the pub for a swift half. If you happen to arrive in-between buses, it is enjoyable. Following Wapping Wall onto Wapping High Street, you will pass a now derelict tube station (until 2010 that is, so don't wait for a train if you want to go home now) and will get to The Captain Kidd. Slightly hidden in a building on the High Street, it features a fantastic terrace and - in case you are interested - the story of William Kidd after which it is named. The selection of beers probably won't overwhelm purists, but the venue will make more than up for this.

A genuine local is next, the Town Of Ramsgate. Definitely not as touristy as Kidd or Whitby, it is the pub where locals go for their fix, their pub quizzes, or to bump into local celebrities like Helen Mirren or Graham Norton.

A few minutes down the road you will then set sights on Tower Bridge which means that the end is near and you are approaching the City. Walking past some up-market riverside apartment buildings you will get to St. Katherine's Dock which means that with the Dickens Inn you have reached the final stop of the tour. If you don't like to mingle with tourists, this is probably not for you, but in all likelihood, if you had a drink in all of the above venues, you will have stopped caring by now.

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