An exotic roof garden has opened in Canary Wharf on top of the building that will house the new Crossrail station.

While trains aren’t due to start running until 2018, the public can visit the seven-storey Crossrail Place now.

The building, the design of which is inspired by an old clipper, will be home to the concourses, platforms and ticket halls for the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station.

The levels above the station will provide retail and leisure facilities including a cinema and restaurants.

The top level contains the new roof garden based on the area’s heritage as a trading hub.

Designed by Gillespies, many of the plants in the garden are native to countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company, which unloaded their wares where the station now sits.

Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and CEO of Canary Wharf Group, said: “The opening of Crossrail Place is a defining moment for Canary Wharf – the area is constantly evolving providing a diverse range of options, addressing the increasing demand for social and leisure facilities.

“This is only the beginning of an extraordinary development.”

Lord Foster, of Foster & Partners, which designed Crossrail Place, said; “Like Crossrail, one of the aims of the new roof garden is to connect London from east to west.

“It provides a welcoming public space between the residential neighbourhood of Poplar and the business district of Canary Wharf, demonstrating the role of infrastructure as the ‘urban glue’ that binds a city together.”

Stephen Richards, of Gillespies, said the roof garden would “offer visitors a totally new vantage point from which to look out across the water and the surrounding area.”

The roof garden will be open from dawn until dusk and booking is not required.

Shops and restaurants will be arriving in phases at Crossrail Place, with the first 10 opening last week.

More details at