Lately, I have been on a bit of a merry-go-around with skyscrapers in London.
As space becomes more scarce on the ground level, London’s skyline is growing to become more like New York, building one skyscraper after another. The sky really is the limit by the look of the choices I have in this city.
Having seen the view from the Shard and Sushi Samba, the latest addition to London is the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street with 360 degrees panoramic views of London. If there was a sky high club, then the Sky Garden just nudged itself in with the big boys by towering above the nearby Gherkin and Cheese Grater (The Leadenhall Building).
I always wondered what the views from the top of the Walkie Talkie building will look like as I watched it slowly rise up, month after month until it was completed. Plus, it’s always an added bonus to be able to scout out the location before I decide to have my mains there with a side of sweeping views of the city.
The good news is that the entrance is free in comparison to spending £25 to get similar views at the Shard. You just have to make sure to book your time slot on the Sky Garden’s website. Great deal right?
I think London’s beauty remains in its lower profile across the skyline, allowing me to enjoy the all-encompassing views all the way to the edge of the city. On a clear day with lots of fluffy white clouds and blue sky, you can find me gazing across this beautiful metropolis for hours in awe.
So, if there is one view I would show you, it would be the new one from this quirky Walkie Talkie.
At the main entrance, the ground floor security rivalled those at the airport as I was told to scan my bag and coat. However, it was quickly over and I was then directed towards the lifts. For those with a fear of heights like me, I can assure you that this is not a see-through lift, so no need to worry!
The lift quickly took me to the 35th floor where Sky Garden was located. It is a space shared by a public garden, Darwin Restaurant, Seafood Bar and Grill, and Sky Pod Bar with views towards the Shard.
The views were simply breathtaking. I loved the curved architectural lines and really started to appreciate the design behind the concept of this Walkie Talkie shape, despite not looking particularly attractive from the outside.
There was a sense of cosiness built into the seating areas at the cafe level with lots of soft furnishings. People lounged on fur-lined seats and outdoor lanterns were placed around the coffee tables. I can certainly see myself here with a good book on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa or a glass of bubbly!
The interior space was unexpectedly vast and airy. Despite having numerous visitors come in and out, I never felt rushed or claustrophobic. There were lots of space to sit and enjoy my time here at my own leisure. Make that another round of cocktails then!
For dining options, there are the Darwin Brasserie and the Seafood Bar & Grill. The Darwin Brasserie overlooks the Sky Pod Bar below. It did feel a little bit removed from the view surrounding the Sky Pod Bar, which in my option, had the best view out of the three.
Can you see those little Canary Wharf buildings in the distance?
Meet the ‘Cheese Grater’ and the lovely Gherkin.
From here, I can peer into Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Don’t you find city gazing from above mesmerising?
After lingering amongst the exotic plants in the garden, I made my way down through the winding staircase and returned back down to ground level from this castle in the sky.
I highly recommend a visit here as it was clearly a contender for the various other sky high spots in London, especially winning on the free entrance ticket. You will be welcomed here with friendly service, albeit slightly sky high prices, which is to be expected.
How to get here:
To get your share of the view, you can book your free tickets here.
The Sky Garden opens Monday to Friday from 10am-6pm. On weekends, from 11am-9pm. Note that the last booking slots are 1.5 hours from closing time.
The nearest tube station is Monument. However, it is also a walkable distance from Bank, London Bridge, Cannon Street and Tower Hill.