Imagine a skyscraper with an indoor garden, three eateries and arguably the best views in London. If you like the sound of this, you will love the Sky Garden. Read on to find out more about this fantastic London landmark.
Visiting the Sky Garden, London
The Sky Garden was designed by award-winning landscape architects Gillespies. This iconic London landmark is located within 20 Fenchurch Street, designed by the famous Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly in 2004.
The highest public garden in London, this incredible public space offers spectacular views in the heart of the City. The building is three storeys high and 155 metres above ground.
There are some quiet spots along the way to sit and take stock of the serenity. The space is so vast, it never feels overcrowded.
Arriving at 20 Fenchurch Street, you can’t miss the Walkie Talkie, as this building is nicknamed. It’s best to book tickets, although there are occasional spaces available for walk ins at the Sky Garden bar.
These can be booked up to 3 weeks in advance on the Sky Garden website and are free of charge. Inside, you’ll be greeted by smiling and very smartly dressed staff.
After showing your ticket, you’ll pass through airport style security. You then take an express lift up to the 35th floor and enter the atrium.
The Sky Garden Plants
The terraces feature Mediterranean and South African plants, installed by horticultural specialist idverde UK. These species have been chosen to work with the quality of light under the roof canopy and to resist drought.
Among the plants used are Bird of Paradise, Red Hot Poker and African Lily. Visitors will also notice sweet-smelling herbs like French Lavender.
Sky Garden Viewing Platform
The Francis Golding Terrace is named after the well-known townscape advisor who helped to develop 20 Fenchurch Street. He was tragically killed in a bicycle accident.
The open-air terrace at the Sky Garden London is open daily from 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 11am to 6pm on weekends. However, this is weather-dependent so the terrace may be closed without advance notice.
There are also two indoor observation decks at Sky Garden London – one at the front and one at the rear of the building.
Even from the inside, all the views are stupendous – to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and further afield to Canary Wharf.
20 Fenchurch Street is larger at the top than the bottom and is made of huge sheets of glass. This is the panorama looking towards St Paul’s Cathedral, with the London Eye on the left.
Below you can see Tower 42 on the left, the “Cheesegrater” aka 122 Leadenhall Street in the middle and the famous “Gherkin”, 30 St Mary Axe on the right. You can also see all the way to the Wembley Arch.
Sky Garden Restaurants and Bars
There are five places to drink or eat in the Sky Garden:
- Sky Pod Bar
- Darwin Brasserie
- Fenchurch Restaurant
- City Garden Bar
- Fenchurch Terrace
The Sky Pod Bar serves up casual snacks and afternoon tea. It has been beautifully decorated. There are fake fur throws, lanterns, comfy cushions and an outdoor terrace.
Although not technically a London rooftop bar as all seats are inside, you have get great views of The Shard.
For a causal meal, we recommend Darwin Brasserie. Attention to detail is impressive, we love the lighting and the pared-down decor of this Sky Garden restaurant.
The panoramic view over the London skyline is simply mesmerizing.
The food is the sort of hearty comfort food that you dream of in cold weather. We shared a sticky shallot tarte tatin to start. Topped with goat’s cheese, this was utter perfection. My main was a venison pie with golden puff pastry, buttered kale and mustard fruits.
We also recommend the Goodwood Estate pork belly with crackling, Puy lentils, heritage carrot and apple puree.
As for the chocolate pave dessert, we’re already dreaming of our next portion! Served with banana and toffee ice cream, it was beautifully decorated with edible gold leaf.
How Do You Make a Sky Garden Booking?
Visitors can reserve a free ticket to the Sky Garden London online. It is recommended that you book entry to the Sky Garden in advance online to guarantee entry, as visitor numbers are currently limited.
Tickets are valid for the date and time specified only and you must enter within one hour of your time slot. There are currently no family bookings or group bookings available.
To visit the Sky Garden you can also reserve in one of the restaurants. There is a separate restaurant queue, allowing you faster entry. As you would expect, you aren’t allowed to take your own food in, apart from baby food and milk.
There is live music with dancing on Thursday and Friday nights, and DJs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
Is There a Dress Code?
There is no specific dress code in the day time. From 6 pm onwards, there is a smart casual dress code in the Sky Garden Bars and Darwin Brasserie.
Fenchurch Restaurant does not allow gym trainers, sportswear or hoodies. Baseball caps, flip flops and male vest tops are not permitted in any of the restaurants.
It’s wise to dress warmly on cold days, as the space is naturally ventilated.
Can You Bring Pets to the Sky Garden?
No pets are allowed in the Sky Garden London, apart from guide dogs.
Can You Hire the Sky Garden?
You can rent all or part of the space for events. Fenchurch restaurant can be hired from Sunday to Wednesday after 6pm, from £5,000 excluding VAT and excluding food and drink costs.
Darwin Brasserie is also available for hire from Sunday to Wednesday after 6pm. The cost is currently £9,500 excluding VAT, with a minimum catering spend of £10,000 excluding VAT.
Food is provided by rhubarb, the luxury London event caterer.
Yoga Session at Sky Garden
For a unique London yoga class, you can’t beat this venue! The hour long classes take place on Saturdays and Sundays and start at 8.30 am.
They cost £20 per person and include access to the gardens. There are no shower facilities and mats are not provided, so you must bring your own.
Please note there are no shower facilities and mats are not provided, so we ask you to please bring your own.
Sky Garden Opening Hours
7 am – 11.30 pm, Monday to Wednesday. 7 am – 12 am, Thursday to Friday, 8 am – 1 am, Saturday – 8 am – 11.30 pm Sunday.
Getting to the Sky Garden
By tube – Monument is the closest. Tower Hill, Tower Gate, Aldgate and Bank are less than 10 minutes walk.
By train – London Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street, and London Bridge are all within walking distance.
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF
We hope you have enjoyed our review of this spectacular London landmark. If you visit London’s sky gardens, don’t forget to take a camera, but remember that tripods are not allowed. These public gardens are a photographer’s dream and the light is constantly changing.
Do you agree that this is the best view in London? Which do you think is the best in London or your city?
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Source: Luxury Columnist