Area Guides, City Life, Moving

Docklands Chic: Lyvly's Guide to Canada Water

July 19, 2019 - Read time 8 mins

Canada Water: Docklands Chic

If someone told you about a neighbourhood with parks, wildlife reserves and watersports, all minutes from Central London, you might not believe them. But Canada Water is the real deal, offering loads to do and breezy connections to London’s most sought-after areas.

Former docklands, Canada Water has a unique vibe. Victorian warehouses give the area a distinct aesthetic that adds character to an array of slick new developments that have sprung up. And as new people discover it, there’s also a new sense of community, with a theatre, farmers market and its own festival.


Another key to its appeal is how easy it is to get anywhere from there. Every weekday morning, suits headed Canary Wharf or The City, rub shoulders with bearded media-types on their way to Southwark and Shoreditch. 


There are plenty of things to do in Canada Water on the weekend too, including charming pubs and restaurants where you can watch the water from the bank and a watersports centre where you can watch the bank from the water. It’s also home to what is probably London’s weirdest-looking library. Even nature lovers can find plenty to enjoy, exploring Southwark Park and nature reserve


Southwark Park


Homes come in all shapes and sizes, with a mix of old-school warehouse conversions and new terrace builds. And since it’s a conservation area, all new property has to fit in with the style of the existing buildings. This gives Canada Water way more character than other identikit developments, combining docklands and design.


If you want to be entertained, charmed and connected, Canada Water offers a unique cocktail.


What’s the story  

Canada Water and Rotherhithe have always been linked to the Thames. There have been docks on this peninsula since 1696, which then grew into a sprawling a manmade network of canals, ponds and pontoons groaning with ships.


Walk around the area today and you’ll see a very different view. A lot of that is down to World War Two, when bombing wiped out loads of the infrastructure. The docks were closed in the 1970s, and then redeveloped in the 1980s. 


Now everyone is rediscovering Canada Water as the ideal hub for living, working and playing, where you can get more out of South and East London.


Getting around

As we’ve mentioned, Canada Water is the ideal place to start almost any London adventure. 


With easy access to both the Jubilee Line (Canada Water Station) and the Overground network (Rotherhithe), you’re just one stop away from Canary Wharf, two stops from London Bridge and three stops from Southwark. That puts three of London’s hotspots right on your doorstep.


If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Thames Clipper has two stops in the area, providing a more scenic route to Canary Wharf. 


You might also just walk; Bermondsey’s buzzing food and wine scene is just twenty minutes on foot so you can indulge in world class snacking and still feel pretty virtuous.


What’s it going to cost me?

Canada Water is still a bit of an undiscovered gem as far as it goes for place to live in South London. That doesn’t mean it’s cheap, but it does mean that now is the right time to get in. 


Your average one bed rental goes for around £1400 a month, but that’s without any bills. The one to watch out for is Council Tax, which is having a bit of a moment right now. Local rates went up about 5% last year, which adds a good bit onto your monthly outgoings.


Costs also vary a lot depending on your location and the type of building you live in. One of the best ways to combine value with a great property in Canada Water is go with an all-inclusive option like Lyvly.


With Lyvly, you get a beautiful home, with built-in community and no bill shocks. That’s because it’s all included in one monthly payment. It covers rent, bills (including energy, internet and water) and council tax, so you can focus on living. Best of all, good company is already built in, with a community of people looking to build proper memories.

Check out our Canada Water rooms



What is there to do in Canada Water?


If you want to stay in the neighbourhood, you can have plenty of fun with no trains involved. 


To maximise options per square metre, check out Surrey Quays Leisure Park, which crams outlets, bowling, a cinema and places to eat into one shopping centre. If you’re not sure what to do, go there and you’ll find something. 


Another nice indoor option is, believe it or not, the Library. We’re serious! This turns the notion of the usual neglected, boring library on its head. Literally. Canada Water Library is a jaw-dropping, upside-down pyramid of a book palace which hosts arty events and provides a real community feel to the area. You’ll feel smarter just by going there.


If you want to make the most of the outdoors, stroll though Southwark Park or Russia Dock Woodland, go kayaking at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre or even feed some baby goats at Surrey Docks Farm.


The Mayflower - possibly London's oldest riverside pub


For a drink, grab a pint with a great view at one of the riverside pubs like The Old Salt Quay or  The Mayflower (which is one of the best rated pubs on the Thames and also claims to be the oldest). Or take things to the ‘next level’ at the rooftop Midnight Apothecary cocktail bar. It sits on top of the Brunel Museum and uses ingredients from the museum’s own garden in their concoctions. Drink local!


But whereas other Londoner’s have to spend hours travelling to get to the best destinations, they’re just moments away for Canada Water residents. Obviously there are too many things to mention, but let’s talk about a few you can’t miss:


  • Eat amazing street food and sample unusual wines and cocktails at Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey.
  • Check out the latest in art trends at the Tate Modern is Southwark.
  • Bounce around Brick Lane’s eclectic range of vintage shops, followed by the obligatory curry.

Stock up on artisan produce at Borough Market and, if you’re brave, try the queue at Padella for arguably London’s best pasta.


For a rundown of everything you need to know about moving to London, check out our guide.


The Lyvly Insider’s Guide


Our Canada Water community has only been around since early 2019, but it doesn't mean they don't know the area inside out. Awais, one of the founding members, has plenty of tips.


Canada Water Cafe - make sure you get there early


Where insiders eat


You can’t go wrong with brunch at the Canada Water Café. It gets busy so you’ll want to arrive early, but they’re super welcoming and keep their menu simple. You can handle it.

You should also make the most of those river views and head down to Leadbelly for a burger and a beer. You won’t even notice that most of the options are gluten free, but your coeliac friends will love you forever.


For a romantic bistro-style bite to eat that will only set you back £20 or so, swing by Casse Croute. It makes you feel sophisticated while not having to worry about your wallet.


Oh and if you’re on the move, make sure to pick up a wrap from Erbil's Shawarma in Canada Water square.


Where insiders go to unwind on the weekend


You’re spoilt for relaxing space – just walk out of the door with a book, watch the boats go by and you’re immediately in a better head space.


If you want to stretch your legs, head down the Thames River Path, which brings together stunning views and peaceful vibes.


Where insiders work out


Take a jog through Southwark Park or, if you’re the inside type, Virgin Active Canary Wharf is just a boat or tube stop away.


Where insiders cut loose


Canada Water is minutes away from top party spots like Shoreditch and Brick Lane, but if you want to keep it local then don’t miss Hawker House



Is it a market? Is it a club? Is it an event space? Yes! It’s all those things. 


You can enjoy awesome food and cocktails from top street food vendors while dancing the night away to their five DJs. And then home is only a few minutes walk away. You’ll feel so clever.


Recommendations-wise, go say hi to Rotsen from Petare, his fried chicken wins awards and the Arepas are little Venezuelan pockets of yum. If you've got a sweet tooth, keep an eye out for Yum Bun's dessert - a deep fried bao with ice cream and miso caramel, they run out pretty fast, so keep an eye out. 


If you want a big night out don’t miss Printworks, one of the hottest clubs in London where world-class DJs will keep you on your feet all night and your ears ringing for days.



Canada Water is about to blow up, big time. Now is a perfect time to make it your own by finding your own Lyvly apartment in Canada Water. 


You can enjoy the best of South London while living in a unique, styling location. All you need is some friends and a place to call home. Lyvly handles both, so why not check out the available properties?


If Canada Water doesn't quite suit what you're after, there's plenty of other options. Have a look at our guide on where to live in London.

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