Stepney and Wapping
The world famous Tower of London stands on the River Thames on the western boundary of the borough. It dates from the reign of William the Conqueror in the 11th century and in the past 900 years it has been as a fortress, royal palace, zoo and state prison.
The Tower now houses the Crown Jewels, as well as the Imperial State Crown made for Queen Victoria's coronation and worn by the current Queen at her coronation.
Visitors can see the site of the scaffold where Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey were executed, have their photo taken with the Yeomen of the Guard who wear the distinctive red and black costumes and are known as Beefeaters. Then there are the black ravens that have always lived at the tower - there is a legend that if they ever leave, the kingdom will fall.
Nearby is the spectacular Tower Bridge. From outside on the walkway, magnificent views stretch eastwards to Canary Wharf, and to the west Big Ben and the dome of St Paul's Cathedral can be clearly seen. Inside the bridge, exciting animatronics and interactive displays bring to life 100 years of the bridge's history.
Just beyond the Tower, a short walk will take you to St Katharine's Dock. One of the first of London's docks to be restored, its latest additions include pubs, shops, restaurants and an attractive marina. Historically, it was established at the end of the 18th century with warehouses importing tea, rubber, marble, ivory and sugar.
Travelling east along the river, Wapping was the landing point for generations of watermen and the setting for Dickens' novels. The name Wapping comes from the original Saxon settlement of "Waeppa's people". The more recent history and character of Wapping is closely bound up with the Port of London, and in particular with the development that began during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Today it is noted for its centuries old riverside pubs and new luxury flats in former warehouses.
The pubs of Wapping all have their own stories to tell. The Prospect of Whitby is said to have been a regular drinking place for Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and James Whistler. It was known as the haunt of thieves and smugglers.
Another pub, the Town of Ramsgate, originates from the Wars of The Roses in the 15th century. By 1750, the pub was just one of 36 along the High Street alone, serving the thirsty needs of the shipyards and wharves that made Wapping one of the busiest parts of London.
The Captain Kidd pub was named after a naval officer who was executed at gallows nearby for murder and piracy.
Well worth a visit is the Nicholas Hawksmoor designed historic church of St George- in-the-East, located on The Highway, close to Shadwell tube and DLR stations. There are plans afoot to improve the public Gardens, which surround the church. Take a look at the Cable Street Battle Mural on the side of the old Town Hall in Cable Street, at one of the main entrances to the Gardens.