Peninsula and Docklands Visit

A hectic weekend with friends exploring the Greenwich Peninsula, which was completely unknown to our ex-neighbours who now live in Oxford.  Stephen – a keen rower – used to know the various reaches of the river very well when tides permitted, so our weekend visitors were astonished to find the new visual treasures now to be found where industry once ruled.  A bus ride to the O2 via the Millenium Village, with its ever-growing high-rise flats and new business core buzzing away around the exciting Emirates cable car gave them both a completely new outlook on their old home and on the new dockland scenario.  A further exploration by DLR into Canary Wharf amazed them both as we visited the Museum of Docklands with its remarkable exhibition on the Thames Bridges.  We had lunched in style at one of the dockside open air restaurants, all buzzing with office workers and many tourists too.


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An earlier visit to the Crystal Siemens exhibition interested academic Carolyn while Stephen and I took a leisurely coffee overlooking the Royal Docks with its constant flow of flights in and out of City Airport.  As a well-travelled businessman, the appeal of its convenient services in and out of Europe appealed.  The excellent DLR provides a fast and fascinating insight into the ever-changing Docklands.

 

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An hour or two exploring the much-enlarged system fascinates both young and old.  From Canning Town station one gets a glimpse of the Cross Rail tunnel workings, as it travels east towards Woolwich and beyond.  It would have helped my niece’s trip from Maidenhead as one will be able to get a direct train in about 3 years’ time.  She came to collect a 21st birthday present I had drawn of York’s university and city centre.

By chance I spent the two following evenings afloat at a 70th birthday celebration and, later, a Sunday evening sightseeing outing with the Friends of Rangers House.  Both occasions were enhanced with dramatic sunsets as Big Ben stroked the hour.  I was able to explain about the Tall Ships’ visit in September, to see the dramatic Parade of Sail on September 9th as all the tall ships sail away.  May I suggest you book your place on the Campion Launch (020 8305 0300).  I hope Riverwatch will be able to supply you with further details of this exciting visit of some 40 tall ships to and around Greenwich.  I don’t believe so many sailing vessels have gathered here for many, many years – not to be missed.

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Run by the Campion family, the two German-built launches have plenty of open deck space and a lower deck saloon with a well-stocked bar serving soft drinks and snacks;  also ideal for a large charter party too.  But their regular Sunday evening cruise makes an enjoyable two hours on the river with a commentary which can amuse too.  Campion senior has a wonderful, dry humour but he now prefers to cruise all over the world.  The pair of German-built boats replace their historic craft which went to Dunkirk for the great evacuation.  Judy and I sailed in one of them up to Hampton Court and back from Westminster Pier (easy to get to as there is a direct link to the Jubilee Line).  Remember that their Sunday evening cruises only run in the summer; but as evenings draw in, the floodlit capital is spectacular – do go!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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