St. Katherine Docks review
I love St. Katherine Docks, but if you ask Londoners about it then most of them won't have a clue. Tower Bridge is the borderlands for most folk -- that's where the Romans built their wall, so that's where they halt their walking. But two minutes beyond that is a string of marinas tucked in behind The Tower Guoman Hotel. It's nestled in behind the buildings, so unless you know it's there you're highly unlikely to find it.
It's not the kind of place that I'd make a detour for, but if you happen to be visiting the Tower of London or Tower Bridge and you fancy a cup of tea then it's perfect. It's a lazy-day kind of place. It's somewhere to stroll. The sunlight falls on it and glistens off the water. It bounces off the boats and makes you squint.
You can walk around the marinas on the wooden plank walkways. They're all lined with offices and shops. They've got a few cosy restaurants and coffee stops, plus a couple of pubs, but it's the boats you've come to see. This is the closest you're going to get to Monaco in London. But it's Monaco on a budget -- Monaco with British retirees instead of Mediterranean millionaires. You can tell the difference because millionaires always have beautiful bikini women onboard, whereas British retirees just have their grandkids and a yapping dog.
The biggest yacht they've got on show today is a bright white affair about the same size as an articulated lorry. It's obviously a rich man's plaything, and I'm wondering if this is his missus on the gangplank. You know the type: she's dressed up like she's off to a wedding. Nose angled up towards the sun like she's sniffing for sunshine, and dangling her car keys in her fingers like she's pinching for salt. Off she trots down the gangplank, the sound of stiletto heels tapping and clattering against the metal plate like pound coins falling from her pocket. She obviously hasn't got the shoes for this. She looks like a newborn calf trying to traverse a cattle grid. She's a catwalk woman on a gangplank.
If I'm being totally honest, the surrounding architecture isn't all that great -- but hold off on your judgement until you see the Dickens Inn. It's the prettiest pub in in London. It looks like one of those Alpine hotels you see clinging to the side of a snow covered mountain on Ski Sunday. The balconies are decorated with overflowing flower boxes and inside it's all dark woods, dim lights and oak beams on the ceiling. It really is very pretty. Unfortunately it also gets extremely busy during the weekends and the evenings, and they have to employ bouncers to count the people in and out. You dread having to buy a round because you know you'll be standing at the bar for the next fifteen minutes competing to be seen with five hundred tall people. But, hey... no one says you have to come here on a Saturday. Try it on a Monday morning instead.
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