The most famous building in Wapping is a pub, The Prospect of Whitby, which was a favourite with pirates and smugglers as well as with Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys. This ancient village which stretches between the Tower of London and Limehouse has always been associated with seafarers. They tended to live a life apart from the rest of London, although in the eighteenth century the 36 pubs along the riverfront attracted many visitors including Dr Samuel Johnson. Three of these pubs survive. The London Docks were built in the early nineteenth century and were famous for the import of rum, wine and tobacco. The docks were closed in 1969, but many of the former wharves and warehouses have been preserved and converted into modern apartments. This retains the atmosphere of the past although the sense of danger evoked by Charles Dickens's novels has vanished. The walk starts and ends with two attractive conversions of old docks into modern usage - St Katherine's Dock and Shadwell Basin.
Tower of London, Prospect of Whitby
You start at Tower Hill. It is best to travel by Underground to Tower Hill Station on the District and Circle Line. Once you've exited the station, make your way up to the viewing platform just outside the station exit. Currently there are building works so you have to walk a short distance through Tower Hill Gardens to the west of the station to get there.
Places to stop along the way:
Cafes in St Katherine's Dock, Tower bridge Wharf for majestic views of Tower Bridge, Town of Ramsgate, Captain Kidd and or Prospect of Whitby pubs, Wapping Station for pictures of Brunel's famous tunnel.
Best time of day:
It is best done in daylight, although you could do it as an evening pub walk.
Always keep an eye on your belongings in London as in any capital city. Cross roads with care, but there is not a lot of traffic on this route.
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