11 May 2009

Thames Crossings 27: Hilton Docklands-Canary Wharf Ferry

Downriver from Rotherhithe Tunnel is the Hilton Docklands-Canary Wharf Ferry. The small boat shuttles between Canary Wharf Pier on the north side and Nelson Dock Pier (right), which leads you through Hilton Hotel reception, on the south.

You can take your bike on this commuter service, which costs either £3 or £5 per crossing, depending on whether you believe the photocopied timetables at the hotel or the signboard at Canary Wharf, and runs all day every day, every few minutes at rush hours, less regularly off-peak.

There are several of these commuter ferry services, operated by Thames Clippers. They can take you and bike across the Thames, between the piers of say Tower Bridge's north bank and London Bridge's south bank.

But they don't really count as 'Thames Crossings' any more than taking your bike on an overground train service would. The Hilton-Canary Wharf service is the only water service that explicitly traverses the Thames between facing piers, and the boats clearly say FERRY on the side, so it's a legitimate crossing for our purposes.

Personally I'd miss it out as it costs five quid that could be spent on a perfectly good packet of crisps or glass of coke in a Docklands bar, but here it is listed for completeness.

On Westferry Circus, the roundabout just behind the Canary Wharf Pier, is the Traffic Light Tree. The artwork, from 1998 by Pierre Vivant, is presumably a metaphor for every financial expert around here. It's financed by the taxpayer, does what it likes, and sends out mixed signals.

From here on, either north or south bank, it's streets roughly paralleling the riverside, or the promenade itself, to Greenwich. A Google map shows both routes between Tower Bridge and Greenwich. Either way it's about two miles to Greenwich Foot Tunnel.


  1. The Docklands are now sponsored by Hilton? What next - the Absolut West End? The Lehmans City? Grundon Southwark?

  2. Yes, it is a bit of an odd name, isn't it? But the sponsorship thing's an intriguing idea. We could have the Specsavers Eye, the Branston Pickle Gherkin... Maybe this should be a future blog, come to think of it...

    The ferry timetable clearly calls it 'Hilton Docklands to Canary Wharf Shuttle', whatever Wikipedia might think, and the only way to board the ferry on the south pier is by going through Hilton Docklands reception. At least, if you're pushing a bike and wearing scruffy trousers, they're unlikely to try and flog you jewellery.

    The ferry is free for those staying at the Hilton, by the way!

  3. You have to buy ferry ticket(bilety promowe) from the Hilton Docklands reception? Anyway, service is good ..there's a ferry every 10 minutes ..

  4. It's called the Hilton Docklands because that is the name of the hotel that sponsors the ferry. This could be found out through a 10 second Google search.