Sunday, July 21, 2024
Crossrail Place Roof Garden. Image by Robert Postings.
Out & AboutPlaces to visit

Escape the Chaos of Canary Wharf at Crossrail Place Roof Garden

East meets West for a round-the-world trip of plant life at Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf

The first thing you notice when stepping off the escalator into Crossrail Place Roof Garden is how quiet it is. 

Canary Wharf’s noise and bustle give way to the hushed conversations of couples, the odd happy shout of playing children, and even the sound of birdsong. Only when listening closely to the faint sound of cars heading to Blackwall on the A1261 in the background do you remember from where you have come.

Located on the roof just above Canary Wharf Elizebeth Line station. The sea of green plants that fills the small garden compliments its quiet, with paths crisscrossing the space. Turn a corner and you will stumble upon a bench to sit on or a modern sculpture to ponder over.

Looking up through the green leaves, glass panels enclose most of the garden. However, the designers left the middle open to the sky. Like a cracked terrarium it allows the outside to reach into the garden.

Looking down from above, the complex looks like a glass boat sitting within Canary Wharf’s North Dock. This dock was once a starting point for great voyages. It was also an entry into London for goods from around the world.  The Roof Garden incorporates this history into its design, creating a structure that looks just like a ship pulled up to port loaded with plants from around the world.

Taking inspiration from the nearby Prime Meridian in Greenwich, the zero-degree longitude line that divides the earth into the eastern and western hemispheres, the Roof Garden also divides into two halves. Plants from the Western Hemisphere fill the western half, while the eastern half contains plants from the Eastern Hemisphere. Walking through the garden you can pass Strawberry Trees from Ireland, Sweet Gum from the USA, Japanese Maple trees, and Golden Bamboo from China.

As well as its plants, within the Roof Garden is a small performing space. In partnership with The Space Theatre, it holds irregular free performances of music, dance and theatre. They also partner with local schools and community groups to host performances. 

For avid readers, this garden also hides one of Canary Wharf’s three short story stations. These stations let you press the one, three, or five-minute buttons printing a short story to read for free. The stories change regularly, giving you new reading material every time you return.

While the garden is small, it is well worth a visit when passing through. It is the perfect place to escape for a quiet lunch, read a short story, or just take a moment to enjoy the peace and reflect briefly.

A flower in the roof garden. Image by Robert Postings.
Modern art in the roof garden. Image by Robert Postings.
A glass skyscraper of Canary Wharf viewed from the roof garden. Image by Robert Postings.
Golden Bamboo in the roof garden. Image by Robert Postings.

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