Mudchute City Farm probably has the strangest collection of both animals and World War II relics in London, and its location really is one of those ‘blink and you’ll miss it’, sandwiched as it is between a supermarket, the Thames and London’s Finance District (i.e. Canary Wharf). None of the animals seem to mind at all though, in fact they rather seem to enjoy the view!
There is so much history here, mostly from the Second World War, and the farm has used all of that heritage to its advantage – two war bunkers that are on its site have been converted into stables, feed rooms and tack rooms for its new inhabitants.
One of the things I loved about this farm is that you really can quench your thirst to be around animals, to touch them and smell them. I find that with people who have lived in the countryside for most of their life and then move to the city, there is a craving they often get when they are away from green places and animals for too long – a need to reconnect with what nurtures us and makes us human. If you come on a Monday, as we did, you have the chance to stroke and wander among the animals to your hearts content without hardly seeing a soul. Around 2 PM seems to be feeding time!
We were recording the sound the pig was making snuffling among his leaves with our phones because it was such an incredible noise!
You can reach the farm by travelling to Mudchute on the DLR line and then walking through the park. You come across these long, strangely straight tracks, one raised as though on a disused railway line and the other running along beside it.
Make your way over to the north side of the farm and you’ll find a swing gate – head through there and I’ll show you the route that will take you straight to our riverside pub. Click here to see where we walked!
Here we are – note the characteristic ‘cannon hole’ in the pub sign! This is The Gun at Coldharbour, a unique Docklands pub that serves food sourced from around the British Isles.
Inside, it is warm and cosy and quiet. It smells of wood and peace before the first diners arrive.
Once we had our drinks, we wandered through the wood panelled hallways to find a waterside terrace. It was practically deserted, but we chose the warm interior and the log fire to sit beside in the end.
I expect it would be beautiful in Summer though…
By the time we left it was getting dark and we wandered home through a slightly spooky route that took us beside East India Dock Basin and Trinity Buoy Wharf. I thoroughly recommend you going here, although perhaps not on a wet windy night in November, when you can still hear the footsteps of seamen past…
For more information on the history of London’s eastern dockyards, please do click here, but the best thing really is to visit!