Crossrail Place Roof Garden

London, England

Crossrail Place Roof Garden: is contained within a building that looks like it belongs on Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

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Discover London's Crossrail Place Roof Garden

Designed by Foster + Partners and Arup, the Crossrail Place Roof Garden is located atop the Canary Wharf station with 360-degree views over the West India Quay Dock. It is contained within an "enormous, ship-like building", which houses not only the rooftop garden and railway station but also a range of amenities including shops and a cinema.

Opened partially in 2015, Crossrail Place Roof Garden has a collection of plants from both Eastern and Western hemispheres. These include trees, shrubs, and flowers, filling the garden with popping colour and a floral scent. It is the perfect place to escape London city, while never actually having to leave it!

Crossrail Place Roof Garden 4
- Andrea Vail

Creating the Crossrail Place Roof Garden


The idea for the Crossrail Place Roof Garden was initially conceived in 2008, as part of the Canary Wharf Crossrail development. Designs immediately got underway by the architects at Foster + Partners, and it wasn’t long before this indoor park, brimming with exotic plant species and featuring a unique performing arts space, was created.

Foster + Partners, known for their iconic works like the British Museum's central courtyard and the Gherkin building, infused the garden with their trademark triangular roof design, reminiscent of a ship's structure. Today, it is the largest timber roof in the United Kingdom.

Maritime Inspiration

The design of Crossrail Place pays homage to Canary Wharf's maritime history and its stunning waterside location. The structure itself, shaped like a ship, echoes the area's nautical past while the rooftop garden provides panoramic views of the docks and London skyline.

Designed as part of the Canary Wharf Crossrail development, the roof garden uses modern urban planning and architecture, which combines naturally with the greenery of the vegetation. The garden spans over 300 metres and is divided into different sections, each showcasing a variety of plants and landscapes that evoke a sense of relaxation.

Crossrail Place Roof Garden 5
- Mark

The Influence of Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward

Drawing parallels to a terrarium, Crossrail Place Roof Garden owes its design philosophy to Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, a botanist credited with inventing the Wardian Case. This sealed glass container revolutionised plant transportation by safeguarding specimens during overseas voyages, allowing exotic plants to thrive in distant lands. Ward's invention directly contributed to the garden's biodiversity, preserving rare and unusual plant species within its confines.

Awards and Recognition for Crossrail Place Roof Garden

Crossrail Place Roof Garden has garnered international acclaim for its innovative design. Honours include the following:

  • The prestigious "Best Urban Regeneration Project" at the 2016 MIPIM awards in France.
  • Recognition for "Innovative Design of a Contemporary Garden" at the 2017 European Garden Awards in Berlin.
  • A commendation at the 2016 Landscape Institute Awards for its small-scale development design.
  • Accolades for "Transport and Infrastructure" at the 2016 New London Awards.
  • Achieving the "London Infrastructure civil engineering award" by the Institute of Civil Engineering in 2014.
Crossrail Place Roof Garden 3
- Sludge G

Inside Crossrail Place Roof Garden

The Meridian Line Alignment

One of the garden's main features is its alignment with the Meridian line, where the eastern and western hemispheres converge. Reflecting this, the garden is divided into two distinct halves based on geographical origins. Wander through Australasian ferns, strawberry trees, and American sweetgums on one side, and Chinese bamboo groves, fragrant Japanese magnolias, and Japanese maples on the other. Resultantly a unique opportunity is created where visitors can traverse the world's plant diversity in one stroll.

A Performance Arts Venue

Designed to maximise natural light and ventilation, Crossrail Place Roof Garden is an airy structure that complements the East-West vegetation below. As night falls, the garden transforms into a magical venue as the onsite 80-seat amphitheatre becomes illuminated by the twinkling lights of Canary Wharf's skyscrapers. Managed in partnership with The Space Theatre, a local arts charity, the amphitheatre hosts a variety of free performances including music, dance, and theatre.

For those interested in art and culture, the garden is adorned with several outdoor artworks. These pieces include Summer Lights, 'Hidden Garden' by Hugh Turvey, Michael Lyons' "Shepherd of the Sun", and Julian Wild's "Origin (Vertical)".

Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Summer Lights, 'Hidden Garden' by Hugh Turvey - Loz Pycock

Things to do in the Crossrail Place Roof Garden

Emerging from the Canary Wharf's Crossrail station, visitors are greeted by colourful floor-to-ceiling artworks reminiscent of stained glass, boldly announcing "ROOF GARDEN" in giant capitals. Ascend the wide, yellow and white, cheerfully designed staircase. Upon reaching Level 1, the Crossrail Place Roof Garden unfolds; Australasian ferns sway gently in the breeze, and there are paved pathways lined with emerald bushes.

Throughout the garden are purple informational plaques highlighting the recent expansions of London's Elizabeth line, connecting travellers to key destinations like Paddington and Bond Street. Despite its small size there are plenty of things to do in Crossrail Place Roof Garden. After a short stroll around sipping your coffee, exploring the plants and trees, why not enjoy a picnic on one of the benches, or unwind with a good book?

Dining and Refreshments

Adjacent to the garden are many dining options:

  • @homepizza
  • 640East – Water Street
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Argentinian Grill
  • Assenheims 56
  • atis
  • Atrium Kitchen
  • Badiani Gelato
  • Biang at Wharf Kitchen
  • Big Easy
  • Birleys – Canada Place
  • Birleys – Churchill Place
  • Birleys Salt Beef Bar
  • Black Sheep Coffee – Jubilee Place
  • Black Sheep Coffee – South Colonnade
  • Blacklock
  • Blank Street
  • Boisdale of Canary Wharf
  • bread&truffle
  • Brera Lounge
  • BrewDog Canary Wharf
  • Brick Lane Bagel Co
  • Pergola on the Wharf

The closest establishments to Crossrail Place are Big Easy and Pergola on the Wharf.

Crossrail Place Roof Garden 1
- Ungry Young Man

Visiting Tips for Crossrail Place Roof Garden

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden is an ideal stopover during a day exploring Canary Wharf. While it may not require an entire day's visit, it pairs well with nearby attractions such as the Museum of London Docklands or something a little more quirky like God's Own Junkyard. The garden is easily accessible via public transport, and it is free of charge.

For more ideas on things to do in London read our recent article. Or check out another popular rooftop destination in the city: The Sky Garden.

Crossrail Place Roof Garden 2
- Andrea Vail

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What you need to know

Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Crossrail Place Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR
51.506126, -0.017532
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