Sure, it’s good to get away sometimes, but there really is no need to spend thousands of pounds to travel many hundreds of miles away from London just for a break.

If yours is anything like my family, you will have lived on the outskirts of the city for many years but barely scratched the surface when it comes to discovering all that it has to offer.

Earlier this year we got the chance to be tourists on our own doorstep in central London – not just visiting some of the places that might usually be considered more aimed at visitors than residents but also staying overnight in a hotel to get a complete change of scenery.

From August: How to be a tourist on your doorstep, get more out of London - and eat some great food

We thoroughly enjoyed that so when the opportunity came up to repeat the experience in another part of the capital we don’t know very well, we of course jumped at it.

The area we were to explore and learn about this time was Canary Wharf. With its futuristic high-rises and landscape that in part at least wouldn’t look out of place in a Star Wars movie, this was about as different as it’s possible to get from our usual surroundings while still staying local.

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It’s a wonder we haven’t spent time around Canary Wharf before, with it being not that far from our home in SE London and only just across the river from Greenwich, an area that we are more familiar with, but we’ve never really had cause to go there until this trip.

For our latest adventure as tourists on our doorstep we were put up for the night in the superb Hilton Canary Wharf. After a pleasant travel on the DLR, the driverless monorail that we don’t get to use that often, we arrived at the hotel after just a couple of minutes’ walk from South Quay station.

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As soon as you step into the hotel it feels like a high-end establishment, somewhere classy. Living up to what we expected from somewhere bearing the Hilton name, the hotel was clean, fresh and bright. Any dealings we had with staff from check-in to breakfast and check-out were pleasant, with them always being very friendly and helpful.

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If this hotel was a TV show, it would probably be on Netflix with a big budget, star cast and high production values - it just oozed quality.

With its location, business facilities and other amenities such as the luxurious executive lounge, the hotel is ideal for people staying there for work.

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It also turns out to be a great spot for families looking for somewhere that ticks all the boxes. Rooms are very spacious and comfortable, offering wifi and a good selection of TV channels to keep kids entertained during whatever time you spend indoors. And the hotel is also in close proximity to some fun things to do.

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Canary Wharf is better for sightseeing and shopping than you might think. It was at least better than we thought it would be. The one previous time we did visit the area on a weekend around 10 years ago we found it to be like a ghost town without the thousands of office workers milling around, and we didn’t spend long there before moving on. Not this time though – it was much busier and more bustling, with visitors making up the majority of the weekend population, taking advantage of the hundreds of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants spread across several malls.

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On a wet and miserable afternoon, we enjoyed wandering around some of the many shops at the bottom of One Canada Square before making our way across to Crossrail Place to see the roof garden sitting atop the new station and featuring some beautiful plants from around the world.

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This Is Local London:

This Is Local London:

It was also here that we found where we wanted to eat – Big Easy, a huge American-inspired restaurant specialising in some seriously good barbecue and seafood. With live honkytonk and blues music creating a great Saturday night atmosphere, we stuffed ourselves on one of their family-style meaty ‘blowouts’ before taking the short but scenic walk back to the hotel to settle down for a great night’s sleep.

The next day we were privileged to have the company of David Charnick from Touriocity, a local with in-depth knowledge of the area who took us on a fascinating two-hour walking tour.

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This Is Local London:

This Is Local London:

Along the way we got to see Jubilee Park, a lovely oasis of calm and tranquillity which is at ground level but technically another roof garden since it sits above Canary Wharf Tube station. As sights such as the West India Docks, Blackwall Basin and Billingsgate Fish Market were covered, we learnt the rich story of how the area had been transformed from one type of enterprise zone in the 19th century to the very different modern-day business district it is now.

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This Is Local London:

It was hugely rewarding to get so much detail from such an informative guide, and we really enjoyed hearing and seeing how the area has changed dramatically while still retaining much of its docklands legacy.

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The Museum of London Docklands, an offshoot of the main Museum of London, is a highly recommended place to visit for families looking to delve deeper into the history of London as a trading port. To its credit, the museum doesn’t shy away from some of the darker themes, such as the capital’s links with the slave trade.

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This Is Local London:

The museum is part of a strong selection of family-friendly attractions around Canary Wharf, but if you still need more then Westfield at Stratford, The O2 at North Greenwich and Greenwich itself with its plentiful things to see such as the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory are all just a short ride away.

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It’s very easy to take London for granted when you live in or near it. To appreciate it more you need to break away from the usual routine and take time out to try different things and to see it in a different way. This is what you get from spending a weekend being tourists on your own doorstep, and Canary Wharf proves to be an excellent place to do it from.

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The hotel stay and walking tour were courtesy of Hilton. See more about the hotel here, and see more about the walking tours on offer here