The Surrey Docks Farm | London
Hidden in the suburban surrounds of an old shipyard by the River Thames in South East London is the wonderful Surrey Docks Farm. A tiny little animal haven with riverfront views of Canary Wharf and the wonderful London docklands.
A Little History on the Surrey Docks Farm
Where the farm now stands was once part of a large shipyard, it then became a timber wharf (the huge timber wharf crane is still standing just a few moments away from the farm – update: this was recently dismantled to make way for a new riverside development), a Receiving Station for the Metropolitan Asylums River Ambulance Service (to transfer smallpox and fever patients no less!) until WWII when the site was badly damaged, and served as a Fire Service river station.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the old docks became the new site of the Surrey Docks urban farm (the farm was moved down river from an older site by simply walking the animals down the riverside). If you’re intrigued by the history of the area then be sure to take a walk up and down the river too as there are plenty of antique cranes, little dockland oddities and the odd riverside warehouse with original signage and other docklands equipment, somewhat aged and rusty but all the more intriguing thanks to their condition. If you have time take a walk down Rotherhithe Street which has some of South London’s most prominent warehouse conversions and take a break in the Old Salt Quay Pub for a taste of a real London pub.
The Surrey Docks Farm
The farm has a great farmland atmosphere mixed with enviable views of Canary Wharf. Of the animals, the pigs are of course the star, but the cows, turkeys, ponies, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys and rabbits are all just as charming. There’s usually a cafe on site, but it recently closed with the promise of an all new cafe coming in 2019/2020.
Lookout for the signage throughout the farm which is forged in the farm’s own forge and also the herb gardens and the old book store – which sells and trades used books. The farm also sells fresh feed for the gaots and more recently has started selling vegetables grown on the farm.
How To Get To Surrey Dock’s Farm
There are plenty of ways to get to the Surrey Docks Farm, but the easiest is to take the Thames Clipper from anywhere in central London towards Greenwich and depart at Greenland – just a stop after Canary Wharf (towards Greenwich). From there follow the river back in the direction of central London and you’ll come to the farm after 10 minutes or so. Otherwise take a train, bus or the underground to Canada Water station and follow the signs which will take you through much of the Surrey Docks/ Greenland Docks area.
For more about the farm, when best to visit, how you can help and what’s on, then take a look at their website here.