For a great family day out in London you can’t go far wrong on the Isle of Dogs, especially visiting the excellent and free Museum of London Docklands. Covering 2000 years of history, through the story of the River Thames, this brilliant museum will delight, horrify and inform. Housed in a Georgian warehouse amongst the modern buildings and workplaces of Canary Wharf it is hard to imagine how this was once a destination for slave ships which, along with the sugar trade, shaped London. An immersive display recreates the atmosphere of the dark alleyways and shops of Old Sailortown. This ramshackle London district, close to the docks, once centred around Wapping, Shadwell and Ratcliffe. The City and River Gallery then takes you on a tour of the huge docks complex built on the Isle of Dogs and how it enabled Britain to become the centre of world trade. Learn how Docklands survived as the first target attacked by the Luftwaffe in 1940 and then went on to aid the war effort through the role it played in events from Dunkirk to D-Day. Since World War II London’s Docklands has had its ups and downs, culminating in its closure from the 1960s through to the early 1980s before it became the site of Europe’s largest regeneration projects and the headquarters of the financial industry that it is today. The Museum of London Docklands is excellent, free and needs at least half a day. Visit Museum of London Docklands, No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL. DLR
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