Museum of London Docklands: Exploring the Rich History of London’s Docklands

Museum of London Docklands
Museum of London Docklands, Canary Wharf, London.
London Docklands Museum

The Bumper Crew has it covered if you’re looking for information about the Museum of London Docklands. You’ll be glad to know two things about the museum: it’s free, and it’s surprisingly good!

The Museum of London Docklands is a treasure trove of history that chronicles the development and growth of London’s Docklands from the Roman era to the present day. It is located near Canary Wharf in East London and is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the story of one of the world’s greatest cities. We can say that because it’s true, right?! Ha.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the Museum of London Docklands, its exhibits, and what makes it such a fascinating destination for you to visit if you’re a local or a tourist visiting the Big Smoke. So, read on to discover everything you need to know about the docklands museum!

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Museum of London Docklands

History of the Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands is housed in a Grade I-listed Georgian sugar warehouse that dates back to 1802 when it was built as London’s first enclosed dock system. The West India Dock Company initially made it to store sugar, rum, and other goods imported from the Caribbean.

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The warehouse was later used as a store for tea, coffee, and spices and was eventually abandoned in the mid-20th century. In the 1980s, it was earmarked for redevelopment as part of the Canary Wharf project but was saved from demolition and converted into a museum which opened in 2003. From sugar warehouses to a museum, eh? Remarkable how the journey of this location has gone from being part of the slave trade to being the part that tells you about the slave trade, which you’ll discover shortly in this post.

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Permanent Exhibitions at the Docklands Museum

The museum’s collections cover a wide range of topics related to the history of London’s Docklands, from the early Roman era to the present day. The collections are divided into several sections, each dedicated to a particular period or theme, and there are ten permanent exhibitions in the docklands museum, which are:

  • No1 Warehouse: Introduction Gallery
  • Trade Expansion
  • London, Sugar & Slavery
  • City and River
  • Sailortown
  • First Port of Empire
  • Warehouse of the world
  • Docklands at War
  • New Port, New City
  • Mudlarks
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There are two which stand out. Sailortown and London, Sugar & Slavery. Sailortown is interesting because it’s like walking through an old docklands street with shops and whatnot. Exhibitions like Sailortown always remind me of Blists Hill with their well-curated sets and attention to detail to help immerse you.

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London, Sugar & Slavery is an eye-opener for how a few people became so wealthy at the shocking expense of others. It’s interesting and sad at the same time because it explores the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and the impact of the trade on London’s economy and society. It includes a wealth of artefacts, documents, and multimedia displays that bring the story of slavery to life.

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Planning Your Visit to the London Docklands Museum

Below is everything you need to know to plan your visit to the Museum of London Docklands.

Cafe & Gift Shop

There’s a cafe and gift shop on-site; you’ll be glad to know. If you want your caffeine fix, head to the cafe on the ground floor, just through the gift shop right by the entrance. If the on-site cafe isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other places to eat and drink in the local area, as you’ll see when you approach the museum.

Useful Information

🕙 Open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm

💷 Free, although some temporary exhibitions are paid for.


📞 02070019844

Museum of London Docklands Location

📍No 1, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, London, E14 4AL

Tube: Canary Wharf (Elizabeth line and Jubilee)

DLR: West India Quay

Train station: Limehouse

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Is the Museum of London Docklands worth visiting?

Yes, it is. It’s a fascinating museum in impressive surroundings, which has superb attention to detail in each of its permanent exhibitions. And it’s free!

Is the London Docklands Museum free?

Yes, it’s free! And you can turn up and get in. No booking is required! It’s worth noting some of the temporary exhibitions are paid for.

What is the nearest DLR station to the London Docklands Museum?

West India Quay is the nearest DLR station. Canary Wharf is the nearest tube station, and Limehouse is the closest train station.

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Museum of London Docklands

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London Docklands Museum

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