Walk No 21 –   From Aldgate at the Eastern End of the Metropolitan Line to Greenwich Cutty Sark Via Shadwell and Canary Wharf


Walk Distance  10 Kilometres (6.5 miles)  

Underfoot - Paved throughout

Journey Time from Central London   Aldgate is in Central London

Getting Back to Central London   By Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Greenwich or Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf

Points of Interest   Tower of London, St Katherine Dock,  Shadwell Basin, Thames Path, Limehouse Basin, Canary Wharf, Greenwich Foot Tunnel, Cutty Sark and other attractions in Greenwich.

Refreshments -  Cafes, pubs and restaurants at St Katherine Dock, Canary Wharf and Greenwich.  Pub near Shadwell Basin.

Opportunities for Shortening This Walk -  You can finish the walk at Canary Wharf after 6KM and return to London by DLR or Jubilee Line

Route Directions

1.  Leave Aldgate Station and cross Aldgate High Street using the pedestrian lights.  Walk down the pathway opposite at the left hand side of a bus garage. This curves to the right and you emerge on a street called Minories.  Turn left and cross to the right hand footway. Continue under a bridge to the end of the road and you will yourself facing the Tower of London. Stay on the same footway and swing right.  After 100 metres there is a pedestrian underpass on your right.  Walk down the ramp and follow it under the road.  Emerge on a walkway with the Tower of London ahead. Turn left and walk, with the tower on your right,  to the end of the walkway. Go ahead through a pedestrian tunnel under Tower Bridge Approach.

2.  At the end of the tunnel turn right and walk down a narrow walkway with an office block on your left and a large wall on your right.  At the end, turn left and enter St Katherine Docks.  Continue ahead along a boardwalk with the dock on your right and restaurants on your left.  Turn right at the corner of the dock and continue with water on your right. At the end, go through a gap under some buildings. Emerge facing another area of water. Turn left. Continue to the end of the dock and turn right over a metal bridge.  The Dickens Inn is now on your left. Turn right and walk for 25 metres across a square.  Then turn left and pass between buildings  (the one on the left is called Marble Quay) to exit St Katherine Docks.

3.  Enter St Katherine’s Way and go ahead.  After 100 metres look out for for an alleyway on the right with a “Thames Path” sign. Walk down to the Thames to reach a viewing terrace with a magnificent view back to Tower Bridge. At the end of this terrace turn left to meet St Katherine’s Way again, at the point where it joins another road. (Wapping High Street)  Turn right at this junction and walk for 40 metres across what seems like a bridge.  At this point, do not continue ahead. Instead, turn left and cross the road to a prominent street sign reading “Redmead Lane Leading to Hermitage Walk”  Walk through a large gateway and enter Hermitage Basin with an attractive lake on your left.  Continue to the end of the lake and turn left.  After a short distance lturn right and descend a wide set of steps. Go ahead and then swing right, signposted “Shadwell Basin”. Go ahead with water on your right.  This is Spirit Quay.

4.  Follow the quayside walk for a kilometre as it turns left and then right. Pass Tobacco Dock on your left where you will see two large ships in dry dock. One is called The Three Sisters.   Continue ahead under a bridge and reach a small area of grass and trees with the rather grand title of Wapping Woods. Continue straight across on a broad paved path to reach a similar walkway on the other side.  After  another150 metres reach Shadwell Basin.  Turn left and walk around three sides of the Basin,  past quayside houses,  to emerge on Glamis Road.  Look to your right iand see swing bridge which, in former times, could be raised to allow ships to enter the docks.  Beyond that, you will see the attractive Prospect of Whitby, reputedly the oldest riverside pub in London and well worth a visit.  

5. Cross Glamis Road and enter an alleyway which is signposted "Thames Path".  Walk down to the river to King Edward VII Memorial Park which (at the time of writing)  is the site for a major engineering project relating to a new London super-sewer.  Continue through the park. Rejoin the riverside and continue for 400 metres. Turn left and right around a block of flats to join Narrow Street and walk ahead for 400 metres to cross a swing bridge at the entrance to Limehouse Basin. Note the large locks which allow access to the basin at high tide. Turn left along the side of the marina and climb some steps to cross a metal bridge at the end.  At the end of the bridge turn right and walk for 50 metres to turn right again over another bridge.  The stretch of water you have just crossed and re-crossed is called Limehouse Cut.  Enter a small park called Ropemakers Fields.

6.  Go straight through the park and emerge again on Narrow Street.  Turn left for 30 metres and then turn right to cross the road and go through a gateway beneath a block of flats.  Go ahead across a curving bridge over a creek.  Continue to walk alongside the river towards Canary Wharf Pier.  25m before the pier entrance, turn left and climb the broad steps leading to street level.  Go straight ahead across a roundabout with a small park at its centre.  This is Westferry Circus.  At the far side, enter West India Avenue which is a dual carriageway leading directly towards the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.  Walk up the right hand footway to Cabot Square with its fountains.  

7.  Turn right and walk down Cubitt Steps.  Swing left at the bottom of the steps.  Then turn left  along MacKenzie Walk past restaurants and bars with the water of Middle Dock on your right.  Go under the Dockland Light Railway and continue to ahead Reuters Plaza.  Turn right into Jubilee Plaza and pass the entrance of the Jubilee Line Tube Station.  You have walked just over 6Km and you can finish your walk here, if you wish, by taking the tube or DLR back to central London.

8.  To continue. walk past the station entrance and go straight ahead across a road towards "35 Bank Street".  This appears to be an office block but is, in fact, a pedestrian route to another part of Canary Wharf. Enter through a set of swing doors and ahead to the left of "Ubica Mozarella Bar"  to another set of swing doors on the far side of the lobby.  Exit the building, climb some steps and cross a metal bridge over South Dock. 

9.   Turn left at the end of the bridge and walk along the quayside for 200metres.  Turn right and walk out through between some low walled grassy plots to a road (Marsh Wall).  You are now standing beneath the elevated track of the Docklands Light Railway. Cross the road at the pedestrian lights and Turn left.  60m ahead of you is South Quay Station. Before reaching the station entrance, turn right and walk down the side of Millwall Inner Dock with water on your left.

9.  After 500 metres reach Pepper Street and turn left over Glengall Bridge. After the bridge, turn right and continue to walk beside the dock but, now, with the water on your right.  After 200 metres the walkway swings to the left and then resumes its original direction. The large area of water on your right is Millwall Outer Dock.  On your left is a semicircular area of grass.  Turn left on a path which goes through the centre of this grassy area.  Descend some steps and go under the DLR. Emerge on East Ferry Road.

10.  Cross the road and go through a gateway into Mudchute Park. Climb diagonally up some steps and turn right along an elevated path. Walk for 200 metres to a corner where the elevated path turns left.  Leave the path and descend to a gate. Turn left into a large playing field and walk, the length of the field, either across the grass or around the boundary track, to the far right hand corner. Pass the entrance to Island Gardens DLR Station and cross the road at the pedestrian lights.  Go ahead to reach the River Thames and the entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.  Take a moment to admire the wonderful view across the river to the Royal Naval College and the Royal Observatory perched on the hill behind it.  Walk through the foot tunnel and emerge at the Cutty Sark.