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Pirates, pizza and a police museum: it's the best bits of Wapping

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Time Out London contributor

Can't decide between Cornwall and Ibiza? Go to Wapping instead!

What's the vibe?

Wapping’s cobbled streets and waterfront views make it London’s answer to the seaside - our very own Cornwall.

Sounds quaint!

It’s definitely more Padstowe than Henley-on-Thames here. Husseys of Wapping Lane is a traditional family-run butchers and greengrocers that wouldn’t look out of place in an old-fashioned coastal town. On the same lane you’ll also find P&J Bakery, a welcome and independent alternative to Greggs; high-quality off-licence Wapping Wines for a take-home tipple; and café culture in the form of Cinnamon.

Where can I get some grub?

Wappers (the people of Wapping) have a thing for Italian food. Check out Il Bordello for pizza (Wapping High Street) or Bottega Wapping (Wapping Wall) for pasta and charcuterie. The closest to a traditional seafront restaurant is River View Chinese Restaurant (New Crane Place), which specialises in seafood dishes.

James Perry

I hear there’s a lot of history around here.

From the converted warehouse flats to the hangman’s noose that dangles over the river, Wapping’s packed with history to the gills. By appointment you can visit the Thames River Police Museum (Wapping High Street), home to the world’s oldest police force. Wilton's Music Hall (Graces Alley), the oldest surviving music hall in the world, has a calendar of brilliant cultural events.

That’s enough brain food. How about a drink?

The pubs on Wapping High Street are a whistlestop tour of Britain’s swashbuckling age. The Town of Ramsgate is where the infamous 'Hanging' Judge Jeffreys was captured after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, while Sam Smith’s local The Captain Kidd is named after the notorious pirate who was executed nearby, outside The Prospect of Whitby pub. All three taverns have awesome views and booze.

What if I miss the last train?

That’s when London’s Cornwall turns into its very own Ibiza. The Tobacco Docks warehouse (Wapping Lane) throws the occasional all-day party, while Studio Spaces Wapping (Pennington Street) hosts events curated by clubbing masterminds The Hydra.

And if I only do one thing?

Mudlarking! Make like a pirate and hunt for treasure on the riverside - the area is a top destination for amateur archaeologists (although to dig with a tool you need a permit from the Port of London Authority). You can access the riverfront via stairs next to The Captain Kidd, matey.

By Sarah Drumm: terror of the high seas, scourge of the dancefloor.

Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Leytonstone.

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