Sky Garden sits atop 20 Fenchurch Street. Known locally as the ‘Walkie Talkie’, it boasts two decks of lush plant life, bars, restaurants and stunning 360-degree views of London. Best of all, Sky Garden London is completely free.
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This isn’t an ordinary skyscraper. The building gets wider as it rises, the highest floors literally hang over the streets below it. Like a wave ready to crash it looms over you in intimidating fashion, yet draws your attention completely.
From here you can see the shape changing as it reaches it’s peak, a height of 525ft. A quick show of the ticket and a scan of my bag and I am on the 35th floor in just a few minutes.
A short walk from London Bridge and Bank/Monument Underground, it is easily accessible on foot and well connected by train and bus routes. Tickets are free on their website (linked below) and easier to book two to three weeks in advance. Last minute bookings can be made but I would avoid if at all possible. Tickets go fast and it is hardly surprising.
The 360-degree views of the city make Sky Garden one of the best views in London.
Classic landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and The Shard draw your attention immediately, and signs on the windows help to spot the sights further away. London’s Olympic Stadium can be seen, as can the Wembley Stadium arch on a clear day.
When should you visit?
I visited twice on two very different days in the city. First with Ju, my Brazilian friend living in London. The second time was during the recent heatwave with clear blue skies. Interesting to note that despite the clouds, the overcast day helped make many buildings more visible. The bright sunshine was beautiful but created a haze. When booking, you really don’t need to wait for a less cloudy day. Just avoid fog!
In summer the sun sets outside of the free ticket hours, so it is recommended to book one of the bars or restaurants to catch this. Also as tickets are required for the free trip, you don’t need to worry about it being overly packed during your visit.
It is important to note that the areas are ventilated, so even whilst indoors wear clothes appropriate for the outside temperatures.
Steps run up the east and west of the building, taking you even higher. It is possible to walk up clockwise or anti clockwise and then back down to the 35th floor.
The plant life really stands out in the middle of London’s concrete jungle. A lush oasis that gives you a sense of calm and tranquility, with seating areas hidden within the greenery. Signposts prevent us from getting lost, although getting lost is what this kind of escape is all about surely?
Sky Garden outside deck
Two revolving doors allow access to the outdoor section of the building, the Shard is the first thing to be seen and looks incredible from here. Squint and you will see the tiny double-decker buses crossing London Bridge, along with the commuters that look more like ants. The deck is secured with a giant glass barrier that you have to look through, but being outside feels great at such a height.
Looking south west, the London Eye is visible behind neighboring buildings, along with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern and Millennium (the Harry Potter) Bridge. Can you spot them all?
Bars and Restaurants
The easiest bar to find is the Sky Pod Bar, situated right in the heart of Sky Garden. With huge windows and an open plan, it is the perfect place to relax with a bottle of wine and watch the world go by. With your friends or your partner, on a date or even alone (like I did on this day!), it really is perfect for all occasions.
Prices seem to be slightly more than what is expected in London. A bottle of beer will cost £6, although it will hardly come as a shock in such a place. Full menus are available on their website, and the venues available are:
-Sky Pod Bar
-City Garden Bar
Although causal wear is accepted in Sky Garden, smart-casual is recommended if booking any of the above.
Pssst… if you head up on an evening from Wednesday to Saturday, a resident DJ plays live music as you wander the gardens and catch the sunset. From 7pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends, what better way to end the day in London?!
Let me know if you have been, and add it to the list if not!
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