tranquil rotherhithe village to greenland dock walk

Tranquil Rotherhithe Village to Greenland Dock Walk

I love the Rotherhithe Village to Greenland Dock Walk because it is tranquil. Water is a prominent feature throughout this walk. You begin at Rotherhithe Station, a short walk from the River Thames with plenty of viewing opportunities of the river. Pick up the canal walking route at Surrey Waters for a relaxing stroll until you reach Canada Water. Continue to explore Greenland Dock and South Dock. Essentially you will be enjoying the waterways and docks that lie within a bend in the River Thames. Choose a sunny day for the Rotherhithe Village to Greenland Dock Walk, and you will reap the benefits. Highlights include the pretty Rotherhithe Village, The Brunel Museum, bascule bridges, Surrey Waters and Greenland Dock. The route is within Rotherhithe, London SE16, in Southwark, including Surrey Quays and Canada Water. If you are looking for South East London Walks, things to do in Surrey Quays or Canada Water, this walk is perfect for you.

rotherhithe street view of river thames boats in water

Rotherhithe Village to Greenland Dock Walk Highlights

The Brunel Museum: We started the walk from Rotherhithe Station (Overground line). Exit the station, turn left into Railway Avenue, where you will see pictures of a train on the wall. At the end of Railway Avenue is The Brunel Museum. Look out for the blue plaque, which says “Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1806-1859. Great Victorian Engineer. His first project was the Thames Tunnel, the world’s first underwater tunnel.”

the brunel museum victorian building with chimney

The museum celebrates the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and family in a Grade II* listed tunnel shaft and Engine House. It’s a small museum but interesting and well worth popping in if you are passing. You will love the exhibition, building mural, rooftop garden, Royal Albert Bridge bench and the café. Please check The Brunel Museum website for further information.

rotherhithe village narrow street with warehouse buildings on either side and metal gantry walkways overhead

Rotherhithe Village: Opposite The Brunel Museum, you will see a small square with benches overlooking the River Thames, and if the tide is out, you may see people walking on the ‘beach’ below. Before you head towards The Salt Quay Pub, go and look around Rotherhithe Village, pretty and quaint. Explore the listed buildings at the beginning of Rotherhithe Street. Admire St Mary’s Church and Gardens, the Mayflower Pub and more. Read my Ten Things To See In Rotherhithe Village article for full information.

rotherhithe street charles hay and sons warehouse building with blue shutters on windows

Rotherhithe Street Warehouse Buildings: After your tour around Rotherhithe Village, walk back to The Brunel Museum to move towards The Salt Quay Pub. You will pass by some historic warehouse buildings, which are now residential homes and apartments. My favourite is the blue Charles Hay and Sons building. It dates back to 1789, when it was a barge and lighter builders’ business.

cumberland park pilgrims statue with river thames behind

Rotherhithe Street Cumberland Wharf Park: A cute park, roughly where the Mayflower ship set sail for America. You will see the Pilgrims Statue by artist Peter McLean with an information board.

gas works pier on thames river

Old Gas Works Pier: Continue along Rotherhithe Street; you will pass by the old gas works pier.

rotherhithe tunnel air sharf circular red brick building by the river thames

Rotherhithe Tunnel Air Shaft: Nearby is a round red brick building called the air shaft for the Rotherhithe Tunnel. The tunnel is famous because it is a road tunnel underneath the River Thames connecting Limehouse with Rotherhithe. There are walkways on either side for pedestrians.

rotherhithe red bascule bridge

Rotherhithe Street Bascule Bridge: Soon, you will arrive at the stunning red metal bascule bridge. The design allows the bridge to open easily because of its counterbalance to let tall ships pass by. The bridge isn’t in use or open to traffic anymore, so it is only used as a footbridge. You will see a large pub called The Salt Quay in a converted warehouse with alfresco dining overlooking the River Thames on your left.

rotherhithe gas holder a circular red metal structure

Rotherhithe Gas Holder: The inlet of water running under the Rotherhithe Bridge is the start of the waterways/canal. Cross over Salter Road and walk beside the water. The Rotherhithe Gas Works disused gas holder structure on the right in red is worth taking a picture of before it gets torn down to make way for residential properties.

surrey water large pond with metal fence around it and canary wharf in the distance

Surrey Water: As you continue walking beside the water, you will come to a large pond called Surrey Water. Across the pond, you get amazing views of Canary Wharf and the iconic skyscraper buildings. You will see ducks enjoying the water. Next to Surrey Water, there is a path called Deal Porter’s Walk, named after specialist workers at London Docks. The Porters would handle softwood ‘deal’ and stack them very high on the quayside, which was considered a dangerous job.

surrey water canal walk with houses on either side and small bridge over the canal

Surrey Water Canal: The waterways/canal passes through a residential area with apartment blocks and houses on both sides. The water isn’t deep, and parts have tall reeds and plenty of ducks paddling about. It is a tranquil walk, and you can sit down on a bench for a rest to admire the view. It is a walking and cycling route with enough room to accommodate everyone.

canada water view large open water with buildings surrounding it

Canada Water: The waterway/canal ends at a large expanse of water surrounded by large retail units and the Canada Water Library.

canada water observation deck wood building with pitched roof and seat underneather

Canada Water Observation Platform: Walk around the Canada Water Observation Platform, a timber structure/jetty with seating under a pitched roof. It stands on what was previously the Old Surrey Docks.

deal porters sculpture canada water with reeds surrounding and building in background

Deal Porter’s Statue: Next to the Canada Observation Platform, the Deal Porter’s Statue designed by Philip Brews and Diane Gorvin.

dock offices surrey quays road victorian building
Former Dock Offices: Before you head over to Greenland Dock, you might want to look at the former dock managers, 1-14 dock offices and the clock tower. The Surrey Commercial Dock Company built it in 1892, and it is now a listed building. It is on Surrey Quays Road.

greenland docks bascule bridge in red metal with underpass under the bridge

Greenland Dock Bascule Bridge: Near Tesco’s, you will find an underpass leading to Greenland Dock. Above is another red metal bascule bridge.

greenland dock view large expanse of water with canary wharf in background

Greenland Dock: Wow, you are in for a treat when you come into full view of the glorious Greenland Dock and spectacular views across to Canary Wharf. It was previously a park of the Surrey Commercial Docks and is now used for recreational purposes. If you walk around Greenland Dock, there are several quays – Brunswick (where you will find the James Walker statue), Swedish and Rainbow. The Surrey Docks Fitness and Water Sports Centre overlooks Greenland Dock.

south dock marina with boats

South Dock: Make sure you walk around South Dock, which is connected to Greenland Dock. It has a pretty marina full of yachts.

plover way residential homes surrounding water with swan and reeds

Plover Way: On the other side of Greenland Dock is a residential area built around water. If you venture up Onega Gate and into Plover Street, you can walk around.

Transport Home: Nearby stations are Surrey Quays (Overground) and Canada Water (Overground and Jubilee). Get a bus from near Tesco’s or the Bus Station.

Rotherhithe Village to Greenland Docks Walk Further Information

In its heyday, Canada Water was Surrey Docks incorporated various waterways and docks named after the goods’ origin (Greenland, Russia, Canada and Finland). The area was regenerated in the 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation. Although some of the docks were filled in during the regeneration, the waterways and remaining water give it a feeling of tranquillity which would otherwise be a mass of concrete. The architecture is very much of that period and looks somewhat dated now. The Surrey Quays Shopping Centre is bland in design but has its purpose. I like shopping at the large Tesco’s supermarket. The area is about to embark on a new overhaul to highlight wildlife which will be interesting to see when completed.

If you want to stop off for food, you can find eateries inside shipping containers outside the Surrey Quays Shopping Center. Alternatively, pop into Tesco’s. Toilets are inside the Shopping centre.

Those interested in history may want to read the Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Surrey Quays, Grand Surrey Canal, and Greenland Dock pages on Wikipedia. The Russia Dock Blog has an article on The Wonderful Rotherhithe Bascule.

Other things to do in the vicinity include visiting Southwark Park, Stave Hill and Russia Dock Woodland.

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.