East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

how to commute to Canary Wharf

We are planning to move to Herne Hill in the next few months, after 6 enjoyable years in Shepherds Bush. We've got two kids - both under 5. We're moving because our jobs are moving to Canary Wharf in 2017 (civil service relocation). We really like the feel of the area - independent shops, community spirit, nice greenery. Probably the main draw for Herne Hill (over other possibilities like East Dulwich, Crystal Palace, Forest Hill, Brockley, Blackheath) was the possibility of good primary and secondary state schools which are not religious and not single-sex - i.e. we are hoping to move so that we will be in the catchment area of Bessemer and Charter School (i.e. near North Dulwich station).

I've been looking online how to commute to Canary Wharf, but some local knowledge would be much appreciated.

Seems the best options are:

1. 39 mins from North Dulwich (Southern rail to London Bridge, then Jubilee to Canary Wharf).

2. 29 mins from Denmark Hill (overground to Canada Waters, the Jubilee to Canary Wharf). Or overground to Shadwell then DLR to Canary Wharf, to avoid the crush at Canada Waters (35 mins). Or instead take Southeastern to Lewisham then DLR to Canary Wharf (36 mins). I guess I could walk or cycle to Denmark Hill in the first place

3. 23 mins from Honor Oak Park (again via Canada Waters). I'd have to cycle to HOP.

4. Cycle all the way!

Of options 1-3, which is the best? Are they all horrific and sweaty? I need to arrive at Canary Wharf by 8.45 or so. I'm not only interested in speed of journey - also reliability, how pleasant it is, how likely I am to get a seat or be squished like a sardine etc. Is London Bridge or Canada Waters worse for the change to Jubilee? Or is it worth staying on until Shadwell to get DLR instead? (or is that horrible too)?

And does anyone have experience cycling this journey? 40 mins or so? Can you go through the Greenwich foot tunnel at 8.30am, or is it pedestrians only?

Any thoughts much appreciated! Thanks!
I cycle to Canary Wharf two or three times a week, it's a very pleasant ride and, taking it fairly easy, can easily be done in forty minutes, it's about eight miles from East Dulwich (it's only five miles going absolutely direct, but that involves going along Queen's Road and New Cross Road which are to be avoided at the best of times, let alone rush hour). There are two good routes, both going along the Surrey Canal path then through Burgess Park onto the North-South cycle superhighway. You can turn off this into Weber Street (right off Blackfriar's Bridge Road) and follow the Quietway all the way into Greenwich, or go straight on, over Blackfriars, take the East-West superhighway to Tower Hill then the segregated cycle path down Royal Mint Street and Cable Street to Limehouse and follow the river.

Greenwich foot tunnel has an experimental system in place which measures the balance between foot passengers and cyclists and changes the signs at each end to either "consider pedestrians" or "no cycling" which should be fully operational next year, I'd guess at that time of the morning it's most likely to be no cycling but it's only a five minute push anyway.

Good luck!
I go that way - into Canada Water on the overground and then hop on the tube. Really straightforward.
Wow - thanks very much rendelharris and Jules-and-Boo.

rendelharris - thanks very much for describing the two routes. Do you spend much time on busy streets with this route (buses and trucks etc?), or is most of it small streets, or even better segregated cycle paths?

Jules-and-Boo - that's very reassuring to hear the journey isn't too bad. Which overground do you get on? (Denmark Hill, NOrth Dulwich, HOP?). How long does it take you, and are the trains not too crowded? You say 'hop on the tube' at Canada Waters, but I'd heard it's very busy there with long queues etc, and you have to push to get onto a train - is this not true?

Thanks again!
I commuted this route for 3 years.

When Southern are running normally, it's a 14 minute journey into London Bridge and about another 10 on the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf, it used to take about 35-40 minutes all in.

You're very likely to get a seat on the train from North Dulwich; the Jubilee Line from London Bridge is rammed and unpleasant (but mercifully quick). At London Bridge you should be able to get on the first train.

The Overground is reliable, but you'll never get a seat. It's air-conditioned and pretty tolerable. The interchange at Canada Water is crowded and you usually have to let a few Jubilee Line trains go before you can get on. But then it's just one stop. And avoids zone 1, so is only £1.70 each way PAYG.

The interchange at Shadwell takes a good few minutes, the DLR is just as crowded as the Jubilee Line, and it takes a fraction longer overall.

It's about 20 minute walk from North Dulwich station to Denmark Hill, or the 42 bus, so you should factor that in.

I have cycled every route - via Greenwich foot tunnel is quickest (probably around 35 - 40 mins from North Dulwich station), and the road up from the foot of the Isle of Dogs to Canary Wharf is relatively quiet.

I would take a few sample journeys to find out what works for you. Apart from cycling, I preferred the route from North Dulwich to London Bridge, as it was nice to get a seat and the trains are not too rammed. But since early this year Southern have been utterly undependable (one train an hour this morning instead of every 10 minutes!).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2016:12:21:09:17:57 by Lowlander.

scarlettbanks Wrote:

Wow - thanks very much rendelharris and

rendelharris - thanks very much for describing the
two routes. Do you spend much time on busy
streets with this route (buses and trucks etc?),
or is most of it small streets, or even better
segregated cycle paths?

Jules-and-Boo - that's very reassuring to hear the
journey isn't too bad. Which overground do you
get on? (Denmark Hill, NOrth Dulwich, HOP?). How
long does it take you, and are the trains not too
crowded? You say 'hop on the tube' at Canada
Waters, but I'd heard it's very busy there with
long queues etc, and you have to push to get onto
a train - is this not true?

Thanks again!

Hi Scarlett,

Those two routes I described are both really quiet - from the start of the Surrey Canal path (starts at the side of Peckham library) to the start of the totally segregated routes at Elephant there's about half a mile of quiet roads to negotiate between Burgess Park and the cycle path on the Old Kent Road, then if you go via Tower Hill you're totally separate from traffic all the way to Limehouse. The other way, via Greenwich, is on the Quietway which lives up to its name, a mixture of cycle paths, one way streets, parks etc. Both routes suitable for even nervous cyclists!

From Herne Hill to Peckham library, depending which bit of HH you settle in, you can probably join the Greendale cycle path, come round the side of Dulwich Hamlet, across Dog Kennel Hill and down Bellenden Road.

Southwark bike train run guided rides on the Blackfriars route - you can contact them via Sally Eva on this forum - or just give me a shout when you move down here, a loop comprising both routes is one of my favourite training rides, be glad to show you around (ETA Mrs H comes with me on weekends lest you be rightly cautious!).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2016:12:21:10:28:32 by rendelharris.

North Dulwich to London Bridge should in theory be quite convenient, but the Southern trains are so abysmal (even when not striking), you'll need at least one backup option. Bus/bike to an overground station (Peckham Rye has a "cycle hub" storage thing). Maybe tube from Brixton, changing at Green Park?
One Tower Bridge is reopened, that's a better and nicer route than Greenwich foot tunnel. Skip over Old Kent Road to go via Mawby Road, Fortune Place, Oxley Close, Chaucer Drive, Lynton Road and then Willow Walk. Cable Street has a good off-road cycle path from Tower Hill to Limehouse.

If you're feeling really brave, the Rotherhithe Tunnel does actually permit cyclists!
Brill - thanks again everyone. Sounds like the bike routes are quite pleasant, and could be a good option - that's great to hear!

And then North Dulwich train is a good option when Southern is running normally - any chance this will get more reliable in the future? Is it just a temporary problem? Can you find out in advance when there is a problem, or do you only realise that they aren't running normally when you arrive at the station?

And then sounds like overground from Denmark Hill is another good backup - busy train, but reliable.

Again - thanks to everyone who has suggested something - helps us a lot!
Southern is part of GTR who run the contract on behalf of the government. It's not a normal franchise, as the government are paying GTR a fixed fee, and taking the fares in return. Normally it's the other way round.

Southern is being used as a proxy in the fight between the unions and the government. To cut a long story short, the unions have been striking on and off since the summer for various reasons. When will it end? Who knows! Either when this government fails, or the unions run out of energy. Both parties are at fault.

Currently, you can find out in advance by checking the live departure boards for North Dulwich / London Bridge before leaving the house / work.

The overground is incredibly punctual and reliable.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2016:12:21:12:18:33 by Lowlander.

Thanks Lowlander - that's very helpful
I go to Peckham Rye, on bus or walk dependent on weather. Peckham Rye is a flat walk from East Dulwich whereas Denmark Hill, as the name suggests, is up a hill. Dependent on where in ED you are Peckham can be easier to get to. It is also less stops than HOP. HOP is not well connected to ED by bus - better to stay on to Forest Hill where there are lots of buses. Then Overground to Canada Water, the one stop on Jubilee. If the Jubilee line is having problems stay on to Shadwell and change to the DLR.
Option 3 takes you to Rotherhithe , then by ferry across to Canary Warf and then cycle the rest

It's silly and expensive, but it's quite nice every now and then in the summer
An option which may be against the general flow of people into town for the first part of the journey is train to Lewisham from Denmark Hill (DH) @ 7:53am or 8:19am or 4 minutes later from Peckham Rye(PR) or Nunhead. It takes about 11-15 minutes from DH depending on which train you take. Then DLR every 2 - 4 minutes to Heron Quays or Canary Wharf whichever is closest to your workplace. Takes 16 minutes. Obviously you can use bike, bus (37 to PR from Herne Hill or 68 to DH), train from North Dulwich to PR (also 42 bus to DH) or walk to your preferred starting point. I don't do this journey but it's always useful to know all the alternatives because there are so many problems on all routes nowadays.
Gosh, so many possibilities - I could try a different route each day of the month! I like the sound of your route bargee99, where you end up on DLR from Lewisham, since this goes direct to Canary Wharf (thus avoiding both London Bridge and Canada Water Jubilee line crush). Is the Lewisham to Canary Wharf DLR crazy busy (like the Jubilee line), or is it better? Cna you get a seat for this journey?
I'm looking into this too for the same reasons (I wonder if we work together) I'm in Nunhead so think going to Lewisham and getting the DLR will be best as it's against the flow. I would have thought you'd be able to get a seat as Lewisham is the start of the DLR, if there are loads of people on the platform just wait 2-4 mins for the next one.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2016:12:21:15:49:35 by DMW23.

There's also a slower and more expensive option, however, it's positively luxurious and very reliable. The Thames Clipper (river boat) from London Bridge to Canary Wharf. I used to get it every now and then as a treat. It has a Costa on board for a morning coffee and a licensed bar in the evenings for beer and wine. It's great sitting out in the sun at the back of the boat on a summer morning.
One thing to remember - if you go the Denmark Hill/Canada Water route it's also cheaper as you avoid going into Zone 1 and the ongoing nightmare of London Bridge. Have been doing the journey for a number of years, its quick, predictable and generally vey reliable. If North Dulwich more convenient you can easily switch from train to overground at Peckham Rye.
Hi Scarlettbanks, I can't testify to how crowded it is in the morning. I only use the route to get to Cutty Sark and Greenwich socially. It also avoids zone one but you would have to check out the daily cost for each route separately. If you bus it to a station from Herne Hill I suspect you will hit the daily cap for the return journey anyway if you don't get a season ticket. For DMW23 from Nunhead it's a no brainer since Lewisham is the next stop only a few minutes away. I do agree with Milhouse about the luxury of the boat down the river. I do it from Embankment down to Greenwich whenever I have overseas visitors. A great way to wind down of a summer's evening after work. London Bridge is the obvious port of call if the trains are running. A river shuttle service between London Bridge and Canary Wharf (13 minutes) also operates every 10 minutes in the peak hours. They accept Oyster cards as well but I don't know if that is included in the daily cap. Hope you find a happy way to work.
bargee99 Wrote:

A river shuttle service
> between London Bridge and Canary Wharf (13
> minutes) also operates every 10 minutes in the
> peak hours. They accept Oyster cards as well but I
> don't know if that is included in the daily cap.

Unfortunately the Clippers don't count towards the Oyster daily cap, they're charged outside, so £6.20 single on top of whatever you spend on buses, trains and tubes, but I agree they are a lovely way to travel for an occasional treat.
Thanks Rendel, That's a pity. Would have been a nice way to get to work or home. Shame we can't really tie up our river services as an inclusive part of our travel cards. I'll have to put it in as a suggestion on the next questionnaire from the mayor about travel on Talk London. In Vancouver for example the travel ticket includes the boat to the other side of the harbour if it is within the set time limit which I believe an hour of the start of the journey. Bit similar to the hop on another bus just bought in by TFL just not as flexible.
Few points from me...
- London Bridge changeover was busy before all the work. I haven't done this since the Overground started unless cancellations gave me no choice and then it was busy busy.
- as I don't go via L Bridge I previously got a zone 2-3 travelcard (just remem to touch the pink reader at C Water each journey.)
- mostly I get bus to Denmark Hill and hop on there (it's emptier as lots of hospital staff/visitors get off.) P Rye can be a squeeze
- if buses are a nightmare and Southern trains are actually running I'll get a train from ED to P Rye and get on the Overground there (same platform). It's actually cheaper for me to do this than bus to/from D Hill but of course can't be relied upon at the moment. On my way home I will always check my app to see if a P Rye train has actually left LBridge else I will have to stay on to D Hill and get the bus (nightly rush to pick up kids in time)
- boat can be useful if all other transport is down on the Wharf
- I have done the train to Lewisham from PR and DLR and yes you get a seat. I found you can't rely on the trains, often late. Used to get this if issue with other options so just changed platform.
- I suspect you're moving into our building in the Wharf! Enjoy the shops and restaurants!
Personally I avoid London Bridge and Southern Trains at all costs, they've been terrible for over a year and show no signs of improvement. The overground/Jubilee route is quick and reliable on the way in though you'll let a few trains go by at Canada Water. On the way home you sometimes have to wait 10-15 mins for a train at Canada Water which can get fairly crowded, but it's still fine.

I get on the 7:44 at Peckham Rye and a few people do get seats so you might get lucky at Denmark Hill. On the way home I get a seat about once a week.
I'm on maternity leave at the moment, but normally this is my commute too. The strikes throw everything out the window, but on a regular day I found north dulwich to London Bridge then the jubilee line the easiest route because of having the fewest changes.

Alternatively the bus (or walk) to Denmark hill. Via Denmark hill is actually quicker, however getting onto the tube at Canada Water is a nightmare. And my commmute was at a more flexible time.
Quote: If you're feeling really brave, the Rotherhithe Tunnel does actually permit cyclists!

I've done it once or twice. It's not actually as dangerous as you might think if you're reasonably quick (20mph camera-enforced limit and much of it too narrow to overtake) but the air quality is beyond awful - even at quiet times, far worse than anything you'll experience above-ground in London. Not worth it.

A couple of other options worth considering are to hire a Brompton from Peckham Rye which you can take on the Overground at all times of day, or Overground to Shadwell and then walk (25 minutes) or grab a Boris Bike from the dock right outside the station (10 minutes).
I commuted from ED to Canary Wharf for a couple of years.
In the morning, I preferred the train to Peckham Rye, then the overground to Canada Water, then the jubilee. It sounds like a lot, but door-to-door it was less than 45 minutes. The overground from Peckham Rye tended to arrive few minutes after I got off the train from ED (it would be the same train from North Dulwich), and on the same platform, so no running up and down the stairs to change platform.

The big question mark is the Southern Fail train from North Dulwich - East Dulwich to Peckahm Rye to catch the overground.

If you move to Herne Hill, you should look into getting a bus from there to Denmark Hill, and then the overground. I have no idea how busy those buses are in the morning. All I can tell you is that most mornings it is quicker to walk from the East Dulwich station to Denmark Hill than to wait for a bus, as most are packed and don't let new passengers on.

I also tried the train to London Bridge then the jubilee to the wharf, but it tended to take longer because London Bridge was always very busy: it may take a good 10-15 minutes from the moment you get off the train to the moment you reach the jubilee line platform - and a lot longer till you actually manage to board a train! Of course the fact that the Southern link to London bridge is so unreliable only makes things worse.

Just a thought: a new Charter school has opened on the Dulwich hospital site, just behind the East Dulwich station.
This year they are based elsewhere because the site isn't ready, but I understand that admission will be based on straight-line distance from Jarvis road. This means it should be possible to be in the catchment of Bessemer primary and the old Charter, or of Bessemer and the new Charter, or of Goose green primary and the new Charter.
I get round London on a Vespa - commute and different offices. Hands down the best (fastest, most fun, affirming) way to get around London. Wet weather can be miserable until you get the hang of it, but on the dry days it's a joy.

I went Lordship Lane to an office next to Harrods in 20 mins, today, for example.
@rcmacf : 20 minutes! Was that in the morning rush hour? You must be so much better than me at filtering! smiling smiley
Neither with a 125 scooter nor with a motorcycle has it ever taken me less than 30-35 minutes. 20 minutes only at night, with no traffic whatsoever.
I have a floating office there

Motorcycle is my favourite route now

Or Overground then tube
When Southern are running a reasonably normal service I get the train from ED to Peckham Rye (where you wait on the same platform for the Overground), then Overground to Canada water and jubilee to CW. Takes about 40 mins generally as the changes don't always work out well between Southern and the Overground plus the Overground is annoyingly slow as you generally have to queue outside Surrey Quays station, whereas if the trains just went straight through it would be about 5 mins quicker I reckon.

Think I heard something about getting 6 Overground trains per hour, but not until 2018, which should improve things if it happens. When Southern aren't working I get the bus or walk to Denmark hill and get straight on the Overground.

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