London’s architectural diversity has always fascinated me. The more I walk these old streets and get to know the city, the more I realise how differently shaped the British capital is. Throughout history, London has faced the need to rebuild from scratch after several catastrophic destructions and the transformation brought by the economic and social evolution. The Great Fire of 1666, a multitude of historical wars and the Industrial Revolution, to name a few, have defined London’s skyline. As a result, a mix of architectural styles have become inextricably intertwined, ranging from historical architectural styles (Victorian, Baroque, Edwardian) to innovative modern buildings (Brutalist, Skyscrapers).
Now, what if I told you, you can admire London’s most iconic buildings, parks and the River Thames from above? And even better, that you can do so for FREE? Our latest adventure took us to the top of 20 Fenchurch St. where the magnificent Sky Garden rewarded us with the most incredible views over the city.
A 360° panorama of London
I love a good excuse to discover a little more about London, especially when it’s about crossing incredible places off my Ultimate London Bucket List. Sky Garden has undoubtedly become one of London’s most sensational attractions. Standing at the top of The Walkie-Talkie, it is the city’s highest public garden. At 160m high, the three-storey glass and steel dome combines stylish restaurants and bars, 360° observation decks and long stairs surrounding the sloping rain-forest style garden. Among the palm trees, ferns and moss hide a plethora of tropical flowers such as Agapanthus and Birds of Paradise, both of which we had seen on our trip to Madeira just a month before!
Outside the conservatory, a long open-air terrace faces The Shard, offering fantastic bird-eye views of south London. Although it stands roughly at half of The Shard‘s height, many argue this is perhaps why Sky Garden shows a better perspective of London’s skyline and most iconic landmarks. From both the platform and inside observation decks, you get sweeping views of the River Thames running across London and many of its emblematic buildings. The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Cheesegrater, The Gherkin and even Wembley Stadium become perfectly visible on the horizon.
The best part of it all is that you can enjoy all this scenery for free! Sky Garden offers multiple 1h slots every day allowing you to explore the glass dome and balcony. You can also enjoy a drink at any of the two bars (Sky Pod Bar and City Garden Bar). However, make sure you book in advance as slots tend to fill up insanely quickly! Early morning, a yoga class and breakfast from the heights is also available for booking.
With such a magnificent panorama, Sky Garden is undeniably one of the best dining locations in London, especially at night. Once the last slot has been covered and tourists have left, the dome gets filled with live music, cocktails and delicious food at the bars and their three restaurants (Darwin Brasserie, Fenchurch Restaurant and Fenchurch Terrace). Definitely the perfect spot to enjoy London’s nightlights from above!
What do you think of the views from Sky Garden? Have you been before? Tell me all about your experience in the comments!
Sky Garden | 20 Fenchurch St., London EC3M 8AF
Want to discover more of London? Then check out:
- My Ultimate London Bucket List
- Afternoon Tea at Sketch, London | REVIEW
- Barbican Conservatory, a Tropical Jungle in Central London