Sitting on the 35th floor of 20 Fenchurch Street in the heart of the City is the Sky Garden, London’s highest garden offering spectacular views over three storeys of the City, the river and beyond.
The Sky Garden is free to visit but tickets must be booked in advance through their website skygarden.london I managed to get mine for a Saturday morning. When you arrive at the building you have to go through security similar to that you would experience at an airport, staff there were quick and efficient and we were through in a few minutes.
From there it’s a quick journey up in the lift to the 35th floor.
When the lift doors opened the first thing that hit me was the light, the sun was streaming in and it was bright up there. The space is massive and the huge glass roof is quite something. The Sky Pod Bar is here and was serving coffee and snacks when I was there, there were plenty of tables, chairs and even some comfy seats so you could just sit and enjoy the view.
At the front of the main area there are doors out onto an open air terrace with stunning views up and down the river and directly across to the Shard at London Bridge.
Back inside there are two more levels that house the restaurants Darwin and Fenchurch, the actual gardens sit either side of these and can be accessed by stairs that take you up through them.
The richly planted terraces are dominated by drought resistant Mediterranean and South African species with plants chosen to work in harmony with the particular quality of light found under the roof canopy. Some of the flowering plants are African Lily (Agapanthus), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia), and Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae).
At the top of the garden terraces and depending on your view point, the back of the building, there’s another large area with fantastic views of the City of London and other famous buildings like the “Gherkin” and the “Cheesegrater”.
The design of the building is just as impressive as the views outside and I thought it was worth just taking a seat for a few minutes to take it all in.
If you follow directions to the Fenchurch Restaurant they bring you out onto another terrace which overlooks the main concourse of the Sky Garden and gives you a real perspective as to how big the place is as well as some more incredible views.
It doesn’t take long to wander around the gardens but I’d definitely recommend seeing it if you’ve not been yet, it’s free after all and who doesn’t like that!
TIPS: Tickets are released every few weeks and are usually only bookable about one month in advance. It’s easier to get tickets for mid week rather than at the weekend. If you can’t get weekend tickets book a table at one of the restaurants, you skip the queues and get full access to the gardens as well.