St. Katharine’s Docks is one of London’s unexpected havens of tranquility. Central London’s only marina, St. Katharine’s Docks is located near the Tower of London and right next to Tower Bridge.
This quiet area is brimming with international businesses, residential properties (who should be so lucky!), pubs and smart restaurants, as well as a luxury marina. We had amazing views of the Docks from our hotel, and let me tell you, some of the yachts moored there looked very expensive and luxurious.
Unfortunately, St. Katharine’s Docks was hit during the Blitz, that’s why many of the buildings look modern. However, some Victorian ones still remain, like Ivory House from 1852. It is a beautiful place to walk, sit on a bench and watch the yachts, go for a pint or have a meal. I do recommend you visit this lovely area because it offers a different side to London and the chance to recuperate after visiting the Tower of London- which, albeit interesting, can leave you exhausted.
This area has been populated for the last thousand years. At the end of the 18th century, it was a prosperous settlement. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the River Thames became so busy that existing docks could not handle the volume of trade. So in 1828 new docks were built. St. Katharine’s Docks handled valuable cargoes, like ivory from Africa, sugar and rum from the West Indies or wine and brandy from European countries. Trade ships grew too large for these docks in the interwar period so they were disused.
One of the most interesting features is the lock. Since the tide varies by 9 or 10 metres, a lock is needed to equalize the level of the water in the lock and the river so that vessels can get in and out of the docks. It attracts quite a few people at opening and closing time.