Wapping has a dark history: convicted pirates were hanged on its appropriately named Execution Dock. But the last hanging took place way back in 1830 and this neighborhood has since gone through various iterations as a bustling dock, a notorious slum, and most recently, an upscale and desirable place to live. There is a lot of old world charm here, with cobblestone streets and a slower pace. Wapping's industrial past is evident in the massive old warehouses that line the water; most of which have been converted into luxury housing. It also includes the Shadwell Basin, which is a desirable location of industrial-cool flats and condos.
Besides the converted warehouses, you'll find utilitarian looking terraces that have been upgraded to modern tastes, new apartment blocks, and houseboats for the more adventurous.
Wapping has a mix of residents. Some people have spent their entire lives here, while the gentrification has brought in professionals and families and a few big name celebrities. Community is important to "Wappas" and there are activities and social clubs for everyone.
Wapping has some terrific restaurants and several pubs, one of which had the writer Charles Dickens as a frequent customer. Almost all of the cafes are locally owned by friendly people who really care about their customers. During the week the area is fairly quiet once the workday is over, but the weekends are quite active. Sunday morning brunch is a big thing here.
You'll see joggers on the streets running parallel to the Thames and there are some small parks where you can hang out or read a book in the sunshine.
There are plenty of basics around as well, including hair salons, doctors, dentists, butchers, greengrocers, dry cleaners, pharmacies, and convenience stores.
The City: 1.5 miles / 10-20 minutes by car / 15-20 minutes by transit / 25 minutes by foot / 10-15 minutes by bike
Canary Wharf: 2.3 miles / 10-20 minutes by car / 25-30 minutes by transit / 15 minutes by bike
Southwark: 1.6 miles / 10-20 minutes by car / 20-30 minutes by transit / 25-30 minutes by foot / 10-15 minutes by bike
Westminster: 3.7 miles / 15-40 minutes by car / 30 minutes by transit / 30 minutes by bike
Shoreditch: 2.5 miles / 15-25 minutes by car / 30 minutes by transit / 15-20 minutes by bike