Few things are free in the City of London. London in its entirety? There’s loads to do, but in the city itself, full of suits, rooftop bars and financial offices there’s not too much in the way of tourism. One gem in the city’s skyscraper crown is the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, or the ‘walkie talkie’ as most Londoners fondly call it!
On the 35th floor there is a public garden with a couple of restaurants, cafe and a terrace with a birds eye view of London and all completely free if you book one of the limited spaces in the daily slots on the Sky Garden website. For my boyfriends birthday, we took a day off work, and having a whole day of activities to try and plan I was looking for something we had both never done before and Sky Garden was just that.
Our time slot was 1pm, although I would seriously advise arriving early as the queue for a full security check and the lift to go up was pretty hefty, around a 20 minute wait. But once we were up it was worth it!
When the lift doors open we headed straight to the outdoor terrace, which makes a difference from viewing the city from an indoor platform. Yes there’s glass for obvious reasons, but being so high up and being able to hear the city beneath you really adds to the experience!
Directly across you can see the Shard, and below that the HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. You can see east across to the Olympic Park and west over past the BT Tower in what is a really spectacular view of London.
Inside there’s a cafe with sofas to relax on, the drinks are pretty pricey but as its a free experience you can’t blame them for trying to make money somewhere! After a cuppa, we wandered round the gardens – yes it’s not just a name, there is literally plant life up there! – and took in the view from as many angles as possible before making our way back down to ground level.