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Boy oh buoy! Billed as London Docklands’ most exciting arts quarter, Trinity Buoy is a historic working wharf on the River Thames that in later life became a cultural confluence and is now home to artist’s studios, gallery space and shipping container commerce. Although the area is predominantly arts and business focussed, you’ll still see plenty of boats, as the Thames Clippers and historic tugs are docked here.
Trinity Buoy Wharf is situated in Canning Town, and hosts onsite exhibits and alfresco arts, with incredible views of the River Thames and the Greenwich Peninsula / O2 dome. We recently revisited the area and the entrance to the site is now barely recognisable as many of old wharf buildings along the main entrance way have been demolished to make way for new housing and homes. It sure does look like Trinity Buoy Wharf is set to become one of London’s latest property hotspots so we just hope it’s unique chaotic charm and riverside realm isn’t diminished too much.
Here is our guide to the top things to do in Trinity Buoy Wharf:
Trinity Buoy Lighthouse and Longplayer
Also known as Bow Creek Lighthouse and built in the 1860s, the lighthouse was originally used for testing purposes (prominent scientist Michael Faraday even did some research here) before being decommissioned. It is now open to the public (free admission) and home to Longplayer, a musical composition featuring Tibetan ‘singing bowls’ that play without any repetition for over 1,000 years; surely even Spotify Shuffle can’t compete with that?
Faraday’s former work at the lighthouse is also fondly remembered here in one of London’s smallest exhibitions, The Faraday Effect, an interactive display hosted in a converted wooden shed.
Fat Boy’s Diner
A little bit of 1940’s America in East London, Fatboy’s Diner is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and due to it’s rather unique set-up (a retro diner right by the river), it is one of the more memorable dining experiences you’ll have in London. They offer all the usual American diner favourites including pancakes, burgers and sundaes – we are particularly taken with their Fatboy’s burger special featuring 3 beef patties, dill pickle and monterey jack cheese (a walk back into central London from here should burn off all those calories).
Trinity Riverside Bar
Pull up a deckchair for a riverside drink with an amazing view of the London skyline, O2 Arena and Canary Wharf. Trinity Riverside Bar is open Friday – Sunday during the summer months, and serves beer, wine, prosecco, cocktails, mocktails and food.
In keeping with the overall ethos and aesthetic of the Trinity Buoy Wharf site, Container City is a brightly painted studio and office complex made from repurposed shipping containers. What started out as a handful of containers has now expanded into several low-level blocks of businesses and industry.
Trinity Buoy Tug Boats
Several historic tugs and other maritime vessels are moored at the wharf, either being lovingly restored by volunteers or reimagined as buoyant businesses (one of the tugs is home to a recording studio). Giving a plug to the tugs, you can see the Lighterage, Knocker White and Varlet vessels here, the latter two of which moved to Trinity Buoy Wharf from the Museum of London Docklands.
Trinity Buoy Assorted Art and Exhibits
Whilst there are permanent displays here like the Longplayer, the wharf also hosts temporary and evolving pieces of art, which you generally discover by accident as you meander around the dock. On display whilst we visited was the Andrew Baldwin Cab Tree, essentially a black London cab (Hackney Carriage) with a large tree sprouting out of the top (beat that, Uber!).
The Orchard Cafe
This cute container cafe is hard to miss as it’s rooftop hosts the huge taxi cab we just mentioned. Featuring a standard range of hot and cold snacks (lighter fare than Fat Boy’s Diner), tea, coffee and daily specials, this particular orchard may end being the apple of your eye.
Trinity Buoy Wharf Events
Trinity Buoy Wharf has an eclectic and exciting events schedule from free temporary exhibitions to paid for musical recitals and performances. Further information about upcoming events can be found here.
How to get to Trinity Buoy Wharf
Trinity Buoy Wharf is open every day of the year between 7am and 7pm (later for special events). The nearest stations are East India DLR or Canning Town DLR/London Underground, parking onsite is limited.
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