Dock water with paddleboarders, historic boat, and buildings

The story of the Royal Docks

  • 1855

    Victoria Dock opens to relieve London’s crowded and chaotic waterways

  • 1921

    A third dock, King George V, is added to what is now the capital’s main shipping hub

  • 1939

    The Royal Docks operate throughout WWII despite severe damage

  • 1981

    After two decades of decline, the docks close to commercial traffic

  • 1987

    The DLR and London City Airport open, later followed by ExCeL London

  • 2019

    The Royal Docks is reborn as a new commercial centre

Past: 1855

The building of the Royal Docks in 1855 introduced a new world of commerce to the capital. They drew produce and people from all over the world, forging London’s position as a global centre for trade and industry.

Past: 1855

Read the Royal Docks’ history in the words of people who lived it

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Present: today

The Royal Docks is emerging as a prime location for business and as a place to live. Covering over 1,200 acres, this vast area of Newham, East London, is undergoing a stunning revival. It is known for its industrious nature, strong sense of local community, established global connections, and unique expanse of water.

Runners along the dock going past the Emirates Air Line terminal
Swimmer getting into the water

Our unique water

We’re bringing London back to its water. Once the largest enclosed docks in the world, today our 250 acres of water is becoming an exciting shared resource for all.

Woman working at sewing machine

Our industrious culture

The Royal Docks is a compelling commercial district, going from strength to strength. London’s only Enterprise Zone, our businesses share a spirit of innovation and invention.

Plane above runway

Our global connections

From an expanding airport to our international exhibitions centre and connections to China, we are expanding our relationships with the world for the benefit of London and the local area.

Our proud communities

Our proud communities

The Royal Docks is part of the youngest and most diverse borough in London. We’re a collection of working and living communities with a proud past and bright future as London’s gateway to the world.

Future: opportunity

The Royal Docks is London’s only Enterprise Zone and the capital’s most ambitious regeneration project. It is set to become an internationally-renowned commercial district and visitor destination, with thousands of new homes, jobs and recreational opportunities in the pipeline.

Find out why you should live and work in the Royal Docks, and learn more about the area's regeneration.

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CGI street scene with retail and office blocks