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4 June 2018

london days out | crossrail place roof garden


i love love love discovering new little pockets of this city, and there was no exception when bex and i stumbled across the roof garden at crossrail place in canary wharf this past weekend. it was my first time not getting lost coming out of the station, which was overwhelming enough, but finding crossrail place with no ounce of trouble was the icing on the canary-coloured cake when we opened the doors to the stairwell and found the words "roof garden" painted bright and bold for us to see.


we headed up, because of course we did, and were instantly greeted with a dance troupe performing some sort of hip-hop routine to everyone's favourite hairspray the musical medley: you can't stop the beat. as if me dancing along to their act, shimmying down the plant-lined paths was not enough of a giggle, along came a man dressed as a victorian era ship captain, complete with the legendary flying dutchman attached to his captain's hat. i'm not joking. 'bloom' is a festival of free events, workshops and performances for the community, and offers the chance for local people to take part in and enjoy while taking in the gorgeous rooftop setting.


the roof top garden is impressively, at 300m long, and is open daily until around 9pm - or sunset, whichever comes later. interestingly, the design of the garden references both the history and geography of canary wharf, drawing on the area's heritage as a trading hub, as many of the plants inside are native to the countries visited by ships of the east india dock company who worked that area more than 200 years ago. you can still see remnants of the docks through the high, wide, geometric windows that encase the tropical garden (thankfully not too tropical, as it was hot enough i tell you!), the juxtaposition of which is the strange reminder that this particular garden sits within one of the most commercial and financial hubs in the world. and.. it's free.


crossrail place sits almost exactly on the meridian line (just like the greenwich observatory does!), and the planting is arranged according to which hemisphere they are from; asian plants to the east and ferns and palms to the west, with info boards loaded with history and reasoning planted all around. it's fresh, purposefully designed, and easy to wander, and actually, is a totally peaceful and tranquil way to chill out, zone out, and collect yourself before taking on the high rises and suited population outside the building. definitely a wonderful find, in an area of london i don't give enough time to.


and if all that's not enough to whet your appetite, well, you can actually whet it for real at giant robot - street feast's latest iteration, which has some spectacular views of the wharf in its outdoor dining area. inside, you'll find everything from dumplings and yum bun to pocho burgers and the island bar, and really, what more could you want from canary wharf - especially if you managed to find it all on the first go?

@imbeingerica