Trinity Buoy Wharf is the Thameside site where all the buoys and markers for the River Thames were once made and repaired. The site was rescued from dereliction and now its lighthouse (the only one in the capital) overlooks a growing creative community.
Preserving the Grade II-listed warehouses, the developers have constructed artists' studios, offices and a riverside café from recycled shipping containers and forged relationships with London's art colleges, whose students are delighted to have access to the site's large spaces for ambitious projects. ENO make all their props there, the Roal Drawing School have their Foundation Year Art School there and there are a host of other creative tenants. The fleet of Thames Clippers is based there – at one of London's longest piers, which was built almost entirely from recycled materials.
Also located on the site are a nostalgic '40s food joint, FatBoy's Diner, and what may be London's smallest museum, The Faraday Project. Housed in a tiny wooden hut, it's devoted to the Victorian scientist Michael Faraday who conducted experiments into electric lighting in the lighthouse in 1863.
Today the lighthouse is an unusual art venue (open to the public at weekends, 11am-5pm in summer, 11am-4pm in winter), hosting Jem Finer's 'Longplayer', a digital musical composition, commisioned by Artangel and designed to play in real-time, without repetition, for a millennium. An installation by Ingrid Hu of 234 singing bowls is part of a 667ft wide instrument used on occassion to perform a section of 'Longplayer' live.
The most exciting way to get to Trinity Buoy Wharf is by taking a short ferry trip across the Thames from the O2 QEII Pier (Mon-Fri 5am-7pm; £2 each way). If you're visiting with kids, be sure to pick up a free copy of a new 12-page booklet by illustrator Ashley Amery and artist Sophy Rickett. It’s designed to help visiting children engage with the history of the place and the many time-, tide- and navigation-themed artworks installed on the riverside site. It also contains a ‘kids eat free with a paying adult’ voucher (valid August 1-31) to use at Fatboys Diner or the Bow Creek Café over the summer holiday.