canary wharf ice rink

The best way to spend 24 hours in Canary Wharf this winter

03 Nov 2023 | |By Luxury London

There's a chill in the air and we're starting to get those festive feels: kick-start the season with a trip to Canary Wharf for shopping, art, ice skating, dinner, drinks and more.

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Canary Wharf

Where in London can you easily spend a whole day (and night), feeling festive with friends and family while ice skating and Christmas shopping, then enjoying delicious meals, drinks and sociable games like shuffleboard, go karting and padel? Canary Wharf – it’s all here! There are dozens of independent boutiques and brilliant amenities to explore, as well as TRIBE hotel, London’s longest-running ice rink and global flavours at over 70 dining destinations.

Canary Wharf has all of the above (there are over 300 shops, services, restaurants, bars and cafés) plus a year-round arts and events programme so we’ve compiled this edit of how we’d most like to spend 24 hours in Canary Wharf this winter. It’s so easy to get to – as well as easy local bus connections, Canary Wharf is on the Jubilee, DLR and Elizabeth lines (making it just six minutes from Liverpool Street and 14 minutes from Bond Street).

fairgame canary wharf
Fairgame in Canary Wharf

Don’t miss the chance to win three amazing prizes either, including ice rink tickets and a meal out for you and five friends, a winter wardrobe update and a dozen Christmas gifts. Enter here: good luck!

When You Arrive: Coffee & Shopping

To kick-start your day in Canary Wharf and find your new favourite coffee at the same time, visit the knowledgeable baristas at 640East, Blank Street, Grind and WatchHouse; they’re ready to vie for your caffeine allegiance! Sweet treats to go with your brew come courtesy of Wharf newcomers Buns From Home, Lakrids By Bulow (our go-to when it comes to luxury liquorice) and Coco Di Mama – are its biscoff bomboloni even better than its pasta?!

Winter is in full swing and, with Christmas on the horizon, it’s definitely time to go shopping. Want to tap into the A/W trends and snap up a party outfit or two, plus some new essentials to wear to the office? With more than 120 stores from small boutiques to designer labels, spanning beauty, fashion, fitness, homeware and more, you’ll find everything you could possibly need in Canary Wharf. Head to BOSS, Hackett, Paul Smith, Maje, The Kooples and Russell and Bromley, among many others, for timeless, chic and affordable additions to your winter wardrobe.

zara aw23
Find Zara’s AW collections in Cabot Place, Canary Wharf

You’ll also be spoilt for choice when it comes to sportswear, great handbags, new shoes and elegant accessories. We love David M Robinson for bespoke jewellery, MALIN+GOETZ for genderless skincare essentials, make-up treasure trove Space NK and the exquisite packaging of Penhaligon’s tempting scents. Specialist shops include Bloobloom, for designer eyewear, and Ross Watch Repairs for every kind of timepiece woe. It’s all here, conveniently located across five spacious, indoor malls (and this is the perfect time of year to make the most of seasonal reductions off your favourite brands and to snap up great offers on A/W trends and gifts).

Daytime Fun: Skating, Games, Art & Food

There’s lots to see and do, so get your skates on at Ice Rink Canary Wharf and find your festive spirit. Twirl, glide or tentatively slide (depending on your skill levels!) around the rink’s central podium to seasonal songs and chart-topping hits; a transparent roof means there’s no way the weather can spoil your skating. Afterward, we’re refuelling with a delicious meal, sweet treat or hot chocolate at one of Canary Wharf’s many restaurants, bars and cafés; our current favourites are Dishoom, Ole & Steen, Pho and newcomer mallow, serving up vegan and vegetarian delights.

dishoom canary wharf
Dishoom’s festive feast – find Dishoom on Water Street

All skated out and well-fed? Canary Wharf is going big on the activities front and its sites are generously sized and immaculately fitted out. For an unrivalled padel experience, whether you’re a committed enthusiast or new to the (very popular) racquet sport, head to Padium and its state-of-the-art space; seven courts are indoors, with 10-metre-high ceilings, and one is outdoors, all with superb flooring. There are courses and private lessons for all levels and ages, plus locker rooms, a pro kit shop and the Ace Bar.

As well as padel, there are a number of other options for those seeking adrenaline-boosting venues and games. Race around the indoor electric go-karting track at Capital Karts (the fastest in the UK), master interactive target shooting at Clays and, if you’re in the mood for social competition, there’s high tech shuffleboard and fairground games, with cocktails and food to fuel the fun.

R&R comes courtesy of Everyman Cinema and its plush double sofas, and for some art and culture, explore the Wharf’s impressive free-to-visit outdoor public collection (it’s the UK’s largest at more than 100 pieces) or snap up tickets for Illusionaries’ immersive exhibition.

illusionaries exhibition canary wharf
Illusionaries’ latest exhibition

An Evening Out in Canary Wharf

For those with an adventurous palate, Canary Wharf is home to all kinds of international dishes, from Indian soul food and Japanese yakitori to Korean street food. If you love a special dining experience, Canary Wharf is full of possibilities and we particularly love Six By Nico’s six-course themed menus that change every six weeks: next up is ‘street food’, being served up from 6 November until 17 December.

We’re also fans of steak at Hawksmoor, chops at Blacklock and superlative Italian at Fish Game. The Ivy in the Park and Boisdale of Canary Wharf never disappoint either, no matter what the occasion. Afterwards find us in an atmospheric bar with live music and amazing cocktails or dancing at an electrifying disco, funk and house night.

Stay Overnight

There’s so much to pack in we’d suggest an overnight stay at TRIBE Canary Wharf, which has excellent summer vibes at Feels Like June, its restaurant inspired by Californian cuisine, and a 24/7 lounge; guests can also use elite gym Third Space and its luxe facilities. And, even better, TRIBE is no more than a 15-minute walk from anywhere else in Canary Wharf.

The Morning After: Brunch Time

It’s no secret that we’re real foodies at Luxury London and Canary Wharf ticks all our boxes. We love a brunch that satisfies so much it bypasses the need for lunch, and the offering in Canary Wharf is extensive, whether you fancy traditional eggs and pancakes (in which case, head to Caravan), perfectly-done steak (Hawksmoor), vegan delights (mallow), a premium burger (Patty&Bun) or Bombay-inspired cuisine (Dishoom).

caravan canary wharf
Brunch or lunch at Caravan

And One Last Thing…

There’s still time for some TLC, before your 24 hours is up. What do you fancy? We’d be very surprised if you can’t find it in CW. Need a facial or health boost? There’s everything from skincare ateliers and a specialist vitamin drip and booster provider (with a great name: Get A Drip) to cold therapy, assisted stretching and health clinics treating any and all pain issues.

Nails looking a bit… unloved?! There are two beautiful nail salons (cocktail with your mani-pedi?) and hairdressers and premium barber shops too; it’s never been easier to fit in a blow dry or beard trim. If you’re one of those people who steps up workouts during the season of indulgence, visit one of five gyms or use the Wharf’s outdoor workout facilities. Oh – and what about drinks and food for that last-minute Friday night party at yours? You have eight grocery stores to choose from, for ingredients, delicious pre-made food, party drinks and specialist goodies. Cheers!

Enter three amazing competitions…

Fancy winning tickets for you and five people to skate at Ice Rink Canary Wharf, plus a £500 voucher to spend on food and drink before/after your session? Of course you do! 

What about not one, not two, but TWELVE gifts from Canary Wharf retailers, including Aesop, Electric Shuffle, Space NK, The Ivy and mallow? We wonder: if you win, would you keep them all or share them out with lucky friends and family? A few Christmas presents sorted, that’s for sure.

Want to upgrade your winter wardrobe? Follow Canary Wharf on Instagram, comment your favourite Canary Wharf shop and be in with a chance to win a £500 gift card to spend at selected clothing and accessory retailers.