Canary Wharf is not, as many think, the name of the large iconic business 50-storey skyscraper with a pyramid shaped rooftop and a flashing aircraft warning light. In fact, that building is known as One Canada Square, and the surrounding area is Canary Wharf – one of the world’s leading financial districts and situated on the Isle of Dogs.

Canary Wharf is actually a privately-owned estate but houses several residences, retail outlets and commercial offices and premises. The area is fairly new, having been entirely constructed since 1980, when the commercial port operations ended. Most people don’t consider Canary Wharf as a residential area, but amongst the 100,000 daily workers in the area, there are some homes present too.

There’s not a great deal of homestay properties available in Canary Wharf, due its size and exclusivity: but HFS London have the best on their books! Read the following guide to decide if it sounds like the right place to stay for you.

Where is Canary Wharf located?

Canary Wharf takes up the whole of the Isle of Dogs, the downward point in the River Thames, ending just below Limehouse and Poplar to the north of it. Across the river to the east is North Greenwich, Cutty Sark and Deptford sit to the south and Rotherhithe to the west.

The neighbourhood sits within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and the postcode is E14. The residential population here sits at just under 75,000.

What’s the typical accommodation type in Canary Wharf?

There’s very few buildings in Canary Wharf that aren’t new builds, with sleek exteriors, glass frontage and lots of metal. The nature of the development is that most properties are flats and apartments, built primarily for a luxury market that can afford big homes and contemporary living. However, if you look carefully around the edges of the area there are some small neighbourhoods of traditional East London Victorian terraced housing.

Property prices in Canary Wharf aren’t perhaps as high as you’d expect for such a central area, but this is largely due to the part-time nature of some amenities (many only open Monday to Friday to service local businesses) and the fact that as a result, not many people even realise you can live in there!

How safe is Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf is an extremely safe area, but you’ll find it much quieter than elsewhere in the capital – particularly at evenings and weekends, so you may be walking around alone. There’s next to no crime here (bar business white collar type offences) and lots of private transport options, so it’s unlikely you’d ever encounter any trouble here.

What type of people live in Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf doesn’t have a huge residents’ community, but those who do live there are primarily young professionals, finance executives (many of whom live in the area only part time), and expats. There’s a lack of schools and young person infrastructure here, so families tend to head south of the river. Most properties are rented and so there’s a large degree of people movement, but larger homes are often owner-occupied.

You’re more likely to spot celebrities related to the business world than the showbiz one in the neighbourhood, but Patrick Stewart and Robert di Niro both have residences here.

What transport links does Canary Wharf offer?

Being so central, and such a hot destination for business, transport links in and out of Canary Wharf are very good. The London Underground’s Jubilee line (zone 2) and the DLR have various stations across the Isle of Dogs, connecting all areas of it to the rest of the capital. Westminster is approximately a 10-minute ride away, and Lewisham 15-minutes. The TfL bus fleet for the district includes night bus services, there’s lots of Santander Cycles available for hire and boat services from Canary Wharf Pier link the neighbourhood to London Bridge, Chelsea, Embankment and Greenwich. If you’re flying in or out of London, Canary Wharf makes an idea base to stay; it’s just 20-minutes on the DLR to London City Airport.

canary wharf at nightWhat is there to do in Canary Wharf?

You won’t hear much in the way of events, pop-up retailers or big attractions happening in Canary Wharf, but that’s not to say there isn’t some hidden gems in amongst the banks and businesses.

Prepare a Fish Supper

Billingsgate Fish Market is the largest in-shore fish market in the UK and you’ll know when you’re near it… because of the smell! Open from 4am to 9:30am each morning, you’ll find pretty much every type of sea creature you could ever imagine here, as fresh as you’ll ever find them in London. Keep an eye out for the capital’s top chefs and restaurant staff stocking up for that night’s dinner menu!

Take a Ghost Walk around the Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands offers nightly guided ghost walks along the river that include haunted tales and creepy anecdotes from years gone by. The area’s history is fascinating, and this is a great way to learn some of the city’s history and put a fun spin on things – why not invite your host family along to experience it with you?

Experience Art on the move

It may sound all business, but Canary Wharf houses London’s largest outside art collection! Maps of routes can be downloaded online, and you can take your time exploring and discovering outdoor sculptures and pieces across the Isle.

Homestay in Canary Wharf

If you are an international student, intern or professional looking for homestay (“host family”) accommodation  in Canary Wharf or close by, we would love to hear from you.  Similarly, if you have a spare room in your Canary Wharf home and are interested in hosting international students, please do get in touch with us.