20 Things to Do and See in East + South East London

To celebrate 30 years of the DLR, TfL has put together a ‘Destination DLR’ travel guide featuring 30 places that are all easily reached when using the service.

The activities include a variety of attractions across East and South East London, from Royal Museums in Greenwich to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

Getting around on the DLR will be made even easier this summer when new line maps on board the trains and at stations are introduced. 

They’ll be using different colour shades for each branch of the railway to simplify journey planning and to help provide clearer interchange information.

The ‘Destination DLR’ travel guide features 30 places that are all easily reached by the DLR under the categories of: historic Docklands and Maritime, family days out, food and drink, and music and theatre. There’s plenty for you and the family to do and see in London when you take the DLR.

Our picks include:

National Maritime Museum, The Queen’s House and Greenwich Park

DLR Station: Cutty Sark (for Maritime Greenwich)

Enjoy the views from Greenwich Park, The Queen’s House and one of the world’s largest maritime museums.

visitgreenwich.org.uk

Museum of London Docklands

DLR Station: West India Quay

Uncover the history of London’s River Thames and the growth of Docklands through fantastic exhibitions and summer events at the museum.

museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london-docklands

Thames Barrier Park

DLR Station: Pontoon Dock

Enjoy fabulous views of the river and Thames Barrier in a landscaped park perfect for games. Later, you can take respite in the café and enjoy some local refreshments.

Lee Valley Regional Park

DLR Station: Canning Town or Pudding Mill Lane

Explore the Lee Valley Park from the DLR – try the zoo and adventure playground, Limehouse Cut canal towpath, Limehouse Basin, Bow Creek Ecology Park and Three Mills Island.

visitleevalley.org.uk

Thames Path Island Gardens

DLR Station: Cutty Sark (for Maritime Greenwich) or Tower Gateway

The Thames Path, a National Trail footpath along 180 miles of the river, is great for a leisurely stroll or invigorating bike ride. We’ve done it and it’s great. Explore the North and South Bank walks both of which are easy to reach from DLR stations.

tfl.gov.uk/walking

Tower Bridge and Tower of London

DLR Station: Tower Gateway

Step inside Tower Bridge and see it lift, or explore The Tower of London, the royal castle steeped in history. You can also catch a River Boat from Tower Pier.

towerbridge.org.uk hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london

tfl.gov.uk/river

Fly a kite on Blackheath

DLR Station: Lewisham (followed by bus route 380 or a 20 minute walk via Lewisham Hill)

We’ve flown many a kite on the Heath but if you don’t have your own, there’s plenty of fun to be had in watching others fly their magnificent creations.  Blackheath is home to loads of cafes, delis and restaurants or just take a picnic and enjoy it on the Heath. During the year there are summer festivals, funfairs and the November fireworks display.

visitgreenwich.org.uk/Blackheath

Canary Wharf

DLR Station: Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf isn’t just banks, offices and shops. There’s plenty of music, film, theatre, dance and more. You can also see one of the UK’s largest collections of public art.

canarywharf.com

Mudchute City Farm

DLR Station: Crossharbour

Newham City Farm

DLR Station: Prince Regent or Royal Albert

See our description of both farms here.

Enjoy an Urban Beach

This summer you can relax on London’s Urban Beach and watch the wakeboarders. If you’re feeling brave, why not join in? The beach is open from July to August and water sports are on from April to November.

londonsroyaldocks.com/urban-beach

wakeupdocklands.com

Street Food Markets

The foodies among us can take the DLR to St. Katharine Docks World Food Market; Lewisham Model Market; or Canary Wharf’s Giant Robot and Kerb on the Quay. Go hungry, the food here is FAB!

streetfeast.com

skdocks.co.uk

kerbfood.com

Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre

DLR Station: Crossharbour or Mudchute

Choose from sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, dragon boating and more. There’s something on for all ages.

dswc.org

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

DLR Station: Pudding Mill Lane, Stratford and Stratford International

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones who went to the London 2012 Olympics, head to Queen Elizabeth Park and try out the sports facilities for yourself, explore the park and waterways, discover a fabulous kids’ play area and shoot down the Arcelor Mittal Slide.

queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

Poplar Baths Leisure Centre

DLR Station: Poplar

After a long 30 year closure, this listed building has been restored to its former glory with an Art Deco lobby, sports hall and café.

better.org.uk/poplar

Theatre Royal Stratford East

DLR Station: Stratford

The Theatre has been at the heart of the community in East London for more than 130 years. If you’re into music, comedy and drama, Theatre Royal has it all.

stratfordeast.com

You can see all 30 things to do in South East and East London via DLR on ‘Destination DLR’ here.

If you use any of these recommendations of things to do and see in and around South East and East London, TfL invites you to tweet your pictures @londondlr #DLR30.

If you’re a fan of a family day out, you might want to look into a National Art Pass from Art Fund. A National Art Pass helps you explore the hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK at a discount while also supporting the arts.

Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend activity in your hometown, are visiting relatives or are on a staycation elsewhere in the UK, a National Art Pass will save you some money and introduce you to a variety of inspiring venues, exhibitions and display. There is often a range of fun and engaging activities for kids of all ages.

Our picks for our hometown of Greenwich (also accessible on the DLR include)

National Maritime Museum – 50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

They are currently building their exciting new Exploration Wing but their children’s gallery (Ahoy!) is great fun.  You could also visit the Queen’s House there and see the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, which was saved for the nation last year after a public fundraising appeal with Art Fund and Royal Museums Greenwich.

There is also plenty for kids to see and do at the Cutty Sark (also 50% off entry with a National Art Pass)

Old Royal Naval College – 50% off painted hall ceiling tours

Ascend 60 feet and uncover the secrets of London’s largest painted ceiling. 

Fan Museum – free entry with National Art Pass

The only museum in the UK that is devoted to the art of fan-making.  They also have a beautiful Orangery with the most bargainous afternoon tea in town, overlooking a ‘secret garden’.

Royal Observatory – 50% off entry with National Art Pass

The home to Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line.

Find out more about the National Art Pass here.

What's your favourite tourist spot to visit with the kids when you're in South East and/or East London?