The Sky Garden has been open since the beginning of 2015 but I only managed find the time (and a free slot!) at the beginning of 2017. I’d heard some mixed reviews about this space with some praising it and others seeing it as a huge disappointment. In my view, it’s still a pretty unique feature in London now so well worth a visit if you’re in the city. It’s free so you won’t lose anything if it’s not to your taste!
Here are 10 things you should know before you book so you can make the most of your trip:
You’ll need to book 3 weeks in advance
The advanced booking required has been something of a controversy here and this is the main drawback of the garden. When it was booked apparently it was sold as a place where people in the building could grab a quick lunch (ha!). If you’re planning to visit during the daytime, you’ll be lucky if you can get a decent slot less than three weeks in advance, which is a shame. You’ll need to think ahead when choosing your tickets so unfortunately a spur of the moment romantic date is probably off the cards. Book your tickets here.
If, however, you are planning to visit after 6pm on weekdays or 9pm at weekends, you can just turn up and queue.
It’s a whopping 155m up!
It is located on floors 34 to 37 of the Walkie Talkie building offering you one of the best unobstructed views of London’s top sites. Provided the skies are clear you should be able to see everything from Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, the London Eye and more. If you’re out on the terrace you’ll be looking at these sites without a sheet of glass in the way and it really is magnificent.
You’ll get a 360 degree view of London
Out on the viewing platform at the Sky Garden you can get an amazing view of one side of London with a clear cut view to the Shard. However, to get a 360 view of all of London you’ll need to head inside and walk all around the glass building. There are steps leading up to another level where you can see the other side of London including St Paul’s and Tower Bridge (see pictures below).
Spend as much or as little as you want
Whilst the restaurants and bars up here are quite pricey, entrance to the Sky Garden is completely free so it really is up to you how much you end up spending here. My boyfriend and I just went in to enjoy the view and didn’t indulge in any of the food or drink on offer so we didn’t spend any more than the tube fare for this visit. If you want to splash out though, there is plenty of opportunity to do so with a range of different restaurants of different standards. The restaurants often have to be booked weeks in advance too though, so do you think about that in advance too if you want to dine in the Sky Garden.
The outside terrace is subject to weather conditions
The best views are from the outdoor terrace but unfortunately this is only open if the weather is good so this is something to bear in mind if you are booking during the rainy season (i.e. any day in London). It would be a real shame to wait weeks to get your slot then get up here and find that you can’t enjoy the view in it’s entirety because of the weather. Another to bear in mind is that even if the terrace is open, if you visit on a particularly overcast day you may find that many parts of the London skyline are blocked by grey clouds.
It’s perfect for couples
Yep that’s a photo of me flying solo under the header about couples #loner. But seriously, I visited the Sky Garden with my boyfriend and there were lots of other couples around enjoying the view. It’s such a lovely slice of London high in the sky that feels both classy and special. There are plenty of places to sit and look out over London or enjoy a cocktail in amongst the trees so it makes for the perfect date location.
You can book an early morning yoga class here!
It’s £20 for Yoga and breakfast or just £10 for just yoga class at the Sky Garden. I can’t imagine a more peaceful location for a spot of yoga in the very heart of the city centre than up in this peaceful garden. The view in the morning must be absolutely magnificent and you can see the city waking up along with your body.
There’s live music
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights there’s live music. I left at around 6:30pm on a Saturday just as the music was getting started and it looked like there was quite an atmosphere. What better way to start off a night out in London than drinks and music 155m up in the sky?
The flowers are in bloom all year round
Being an indoor garden, of course the flowers and the trees can be kept in bloom all year round! This must be the only garden in the city that can be easily kept in bloom whatever the weather, whatever the season and it does not disappoint. When I visited it was full of these beautiful pink cherry blossom trees and many leafy trees too.
A sunset visit requires forward planning
So when I booked my tickets I looked up the rough time of sunset in London and aimed for that time. Of course, by the time my visit came around, three weeks later, the sun was setting much, much later so I was far too early! If you can find a tool to tell you the time of the sunset in advance on the day you wish to visit then I’d definitely use that so that you figure out the best time to visit and don’t end up disappointed like me!
Book your visit now:
20 Fenchurch Street
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