Sky Garden is one of London’s best kept secrets, the trip up to the top of the iconic ‘walkie talkie’ building (or 20 Fenchurch street as its official name) gives some of the best views across London and is totally free!
Head to Sky garden’s official website to get your hands on a free ticket, link here. There are timed slots to keep visitor numbers under control. It is possible to turn up and walk in at certain times but beware that this is unlikely as tickets usually sell out. On arrival you make your way through airport style security checks and then straight into the high speed lift to the top for your free skyscraper view of London!
Stepping out the lift, the first thing you see is the circle shaped Sky pod bar selling fancy (& expensive!) cocktails for people to enjoy in the large open space. Panoramic views of the Shard and south London are the first spectacle through the huge glass wall forming the top of the building. The open air balcony is accessible when the weather allows too. Visit later in the day for amazing sunsets over the city and the night skyline. Sky Garden even becomes an evening destination every Friday and Saturday with DJ nights in the highest venue in London.
This is just the bottom of the 3 levels, walk up the stairs and this is where you enter a world of wild flowers, exotic plants and giant trees. They are labelled, well kept and make beautiful backdrops for photos against the skyline, time it well and you get the plants, sunset and view in one picture! This view to the west looks down the Thames with the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace all in the distance but close enough to admire.
At the top of the stairs is the view looking north out to the other skyscrapers of the city – the famous ‘gherkin’, ‘can of ham’ and ‘cheese grater’ buildings. Yes they sound like components of a British lunch but in reality they are the nicknames of some of London’s towering icons making up an impressive landscape. Step down the east sides stairs which offer a birds eye view of the Tower of London and further away lies the O2 arena and London 2012’s Olympic Park. The middle level in between contains Darwin Brasserie, the finest dining at the Sky Garden which you will definitely need a booking for. The elegant restaurant offers the best of British food overlooking the open space of the Sky pod bar so the views are all yours.
You can spend as long as you like at the top, admiring the views, looking at the beautiful gardens and drinking the cocktails, so take your time. The views are almost as good if not better than the paid for Shard, you are just on the opposite side of the river and slightly lower to the ground, but if anything this means you can see the sights more clearly. Being totally free, you can’t miss one of London’s best attractions so add it to your list and you won’t regret it!
Check out some of my other travel posts!
New York City – Amazing views, Attractions & Central Park
Paris – Eiffel Tower, Louvre & Arc de Triomphe in One Evening!
Cappadocia – Fairy Chimney Rocks & Fantastical Valleys