Escape to the city

St Katharine Docks offers tranquillity right next to Tower Bridge

I had been travelling around London for several hours when I happened across the oasis of tranquillity known as St Katharine Docks. What a welcome relief!

In truth, I knew it was there. For quite a while I had worked across the river from it at Butler’s Wharf and down river from it at Wapping. But I had forgotten how nice it was. And quiet! Given it lies right next to the approach to Tower Bridge I was much impressed by the lack of noise.

After revisiting it I say: Forget about Escape to the Country, escape to the city instead – if you can afford to.

With views of either the River Thames or the marina-style docks themselves the area is a must for those seeking to live close to the centre of the city.

St Katharine Docks

But, as one might expect, the delights of St Katharine Docks come at a price. Most of the properties are in converted warehouses.

A cursory look at the Rightmove website suggests that the asking price for a one-bedroom apartment comes in around the £850,000 mark. Anything bigger and you are looking at seven figures. As the number of bedrooms needed increases, so, too, naturally, does the price tag.

The most expensive one I could spot was a four-bedroom apartment with roof terrace for a cool £4,250,000 that comes with two parking spaces which is a big bonus in the middle of town. Its interior looks beautiful.

The beauty of St Katharine’s is that, once there, you don’t really need to leave.

There are restaurants on site such as the delightfully named Ping Pong Chinese restaurant. There’s a very decent pub called the Dickens Inn (pictured). It has a Waitrose supermarket. It even has a medieval banquet tourist attraction though, once visited, I guess you wouldn’t keep heading back there as often as you might the pub.

St Katharine Docks, provided you can afford it, looks a great place to live – even better if you are also sufficiently well off to have a boat you can moor there. It also has a handy Tube station nearby – Tower Hill – which will quickly get you to work or the theatre.

However, if you don’t have a million or two burning a hole in your pocket for a property search, it’s just a good place to visit.

Santander bicycle stand

There’s a Santander bicycle stand not far from the Dickens Inn which will allow cyclists to park up, take the weight off and grab a cooling beer. It’s especially easy to get to on foot after you have taken in the Tower of London and Tower Bridge (which is how I ended up there).

If you enter the area via its main entrance in East Smithfield, don’t be put off. To me, at first glance, it looked like somewhere I shouldn’t be. I worried I was trespassing. But I pressed on and was glad I did.

Whether property hunting or simply sightseeing, the St Katharine Docks area is well worth a look.

Tower Bridge as approached from St Katharine Docks
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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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