The Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden, offers one of the most spectacular views of London. The best part? It’s completely free!
The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street spans three floors and offers uninterrupted views across the City of London. Served by two express lifts, visitors arrive to a beautiful landscaped garden with a viewing area, terrace, café, bar and restaurant. The Sky Garden is a truly unique space and has been designed to create an open and vibrant place of leisure, offering visitors a rare chance to experience London from a different viewpoint.
[20 Fenchurch Street website]
Located at the top of the Walkie Talkie (officially known as “20 Fenchurch Street”) building in the City, the Sky Garden in London is a truly breathtaking experience!
The entrance is at the back of the building, just a few minutes’ walk from Monument and Bank stations. The Sky Garden is open every day, to visit you simply need to book a ticket online or book a table at one of the three restaurants available. The most accessible one is the Sky Pod bar on the 35th floor, which offers a range of light snacks and drinks.
Then there’s the Darwin Brasserie on the 36th and the Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill on the 37th. I wouldn’t recommend dining at Fenchurch for the views, as Grace Dent wrote on ES Magazine, it’s an “elegant, sophisticated dining room with views that are somewhat obscured on all sides by the roof’s girders and the fact that you are essentially sitting in a box within a box”.
The Darwin Brasserie is also secluded in a glass box, but the views from here are actually not too bad. I enjoyed the birds eye view of the Sky Pot and outdoor terrace, as well as the view of the two side gardens and – looking further – of London. It’s better from here than from the main hall.
I had my first experience of the Sky Garden this morning as I went to Darwin for breakfast with my husband, my brother and our parents who are visiting us from Italy. I booked our table a month in advance, but the brasserie wasn’t completely full this morning so we would have got a table even as walk-ins. It’s always better to book to avoid disappointments and to speed up the controls at the entrance downstairs (as only visitors with a booking can go through).
We were sat at a long table in the middle of the restaurant – not ideal for me as I was facing the bar with my back towards the glass window. It wasn’t a big deal of course, since I had all the time to gaze at the view after breakfast when I roamed around the sky garden and all the three floors.
The breakfast menu (served until 11am) features a healthy section with yoghurt, granola, porridge (and so on) as well as the traditional British breakfast dishes such as Full English or Eggs Benedict.
The food was great and – to be honest – above my expectations. All the dishes were well presented and prepared with good quality ingredients. My dad loved the breakfast brûlée which is served with a bowl of fresh fruit and a small smoothie of blueberries and goji berries!
My cappuccino was quite good for a restaurant; not the same standard of a specialty coffee shop, but not bad either.
The service was great and the overall atmosphere relaxed and comfortable. It’s definitely a place I would want to go back to for a networking breakfast or with friends visiting London from abroad.
After breakfast we continued the visit of the Sky Garden and admired the 360° view of London.
The terrace is the best view point to see the Tower of London and the Shard. And take selfies, if that’s your thing! ;)
My only critical point would be that the garden is not as big and lush as it could have been (or as it was planned to be if we go by this computer visualisation). Wouldn’t it be amazing if exotic plants filled the 35th floor platform instead of the empty space of the Sky Pod? Probably yes, but then the views from the two restaurants would be completely obscured and after all the view is what we come here for.
The highlight of the Sky Garden is, no doubt about it, London. This amazing city is what me and you want to see, and neither the garden or the food could ever compare to it.