I went on a little jaunt the other day and ended up in the most peculiar place - Trinity Buoy Wharf. Situated in E14, it may feel a million miles away from anywhere, but it is in fact on the cusp of zone 2 and definitely worth a visit.
The first thing you notice is the wonderful community you've stumbled upon. As it's on a peninsular, Trinity Buoy Wharf is not the kind of place you end up by accident. Or maybe you do.. It's a wonderful riverside haven with a great view of the Dome (O2). It is also home to London's only lighthouse, a lovely historic building built around 1864 by James Douglass. Apparently Michael Faraday, the 19th century physicist, used to carry out experiments here, and there is a small wooden shed called The Faraday Effect (one of London's smallest museums) which has been created as a mini ode to him.
Within the lighthouse there is something else which is rather special. Longplayer. This is a computerised composition of music which will play continously, without repetition, for 1,000 years. It started playing on 1st January 2000 and will complete its cycle on 31st December 2999. How mad is that! Situated in the top of the lighthouse in the former lamp room, you can take a pew and listen to this very peaceful and atmospheric music, which is made from the sound of Tibetan 'singing bowls'. I was lucky enough to be there on my own and got totally lost in the peace and tranquility of the relaxing music whilst perched atop the lighthouse, enjoying the views through the diamond leaded windows.
If you're feeling peckish, there is an extraordinary place to eat at Trinity Buoy Wharf. Fat Boy's Diner. A proper 1940's American style diner which has been plonked in this obscure location. It felt so surreal, as if I had suddenly arrived on the set of a Coen Brothers movie. Fat Boy's is the real deal and the interior is very retro, full of original chrome and mini jukeboxes. The food is authentic and extremely good value, the shakes are thick and they even sell wine. It's a winner! But if you're looking for something less diner-esque, there's also the Driftwood Cafe (only open weekdays) tucked in the corner with seats overlooking the River Lea, which serves homemade sandwiches, soup and cakes.
The other cool thing you'll come across at Trinity Buoy Wharf is Container City. Developed by Urban Space Management, they've literally converted a whole load of old sea containers into the most amazing studios, workspaces and even affordable accommodation. It is such a clever and ecological project - the container spaces look great, with round porthole windows, brightly painted exteriors and some of them even have little balconies with mini gardens. It's a perfect place for the numerous artists and craftsmen who reside at Trinity Buoy Wharf.
I loved my little trip to Trinity Buoy Wharf, especially as it's so peaceful and unspoilt, and can't wait to round up some friends and head back there for a few drinks and snacks at Fat Boy's whilst sitting by the river on a summer's afternoon. It beats the touristy chaos of the West End any day!
Trinity Buoy Wharf, E14
How to get there: East India (DLR) or Canning Town (Jubilee line)
Longplayer is open every weekend 10am - 5pm (free entrance)
Fat Boy's Diner - open 10am til 5pm (Tue - Sun)