If you’re looking for swanky views of London for free, look no further than the Sky Garden.
The Sky Garden viewing gallery on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie offers panoramic views over London from their foliage-filled atrium. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this lush urban jungle provides fantastic views of the famous rooftops of London, with an open-air terrace providing views across the Thames. Like most London attractions, it’s been closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but will reopen on April 12 for more wistful wanderings amongst the clouds.
Having delighted visitors since 2015, the Sky Garden has been designed to create an open and vibrant place of relaxation away from the hubbub of the city, offering visitors a rare chance to experience London from a different perspective.
Aside from the spectacular view, Sky Garden’s main selling point – not that we need to work particularly hard to sell a free view of the city – is its leafy indoor garden. It’s the perfect place to get some botanical inspiration while remaining indoors, which is helpful if it’s raining. (Because it probably will be, knowing London’s track record for weather.)
Sky Garden bar and restaurants
The Sky Garden is by no means all fur coat and no knickers, because it offers visitors several well-regarded dining options including Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant for classy British fare – although they won’t be reopening until May 17. However, their bars – including tempting cocktail bar City Garden Bar and coffee and cake spot the Sky Pod Bar – will both be back on April 12, because a rooftop bar is nothing without the drinks, darling.
To celebrate the resumption of near normal service at the Sky Garden, the venue’s famed DJ nights are also making a comeback. Wide open spaces and reduced visitor numbers means social distancing can easily be maintained whilst grooving to the beats; it kicks off on April 13 with sessions every Tuesday to Saturday throughout the summer. Find out more here.
While the food, drink, and now party options abound here, you’re also most welcome to turn up just to have a wander for an hour without paying a penny. Stroll around the exquisitely landscaped gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace that is London’s highest public garden, all for nothing! Nil pois! Rien. Unbelievable, we know.
Booking a visit to the Sky Garden
This has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Sky Garden remains free to enjoy. Tickets are available to book on a weekly basis up to a week in advance, with new ticket releases taking place each Monday. Sky Garden are, however, limiting the number of tickets and reservations available to protect both staff and customers. Additionally, tickets have timed entry (so miss your slot and you’re out of luck), and you’ll have an hour to explore once you’re inside. Currently, individual tickets are the only type available (group and family tickets are on hold for now to manage social distancing), but you’re able to book multiple tickets to cover a group excursion.
Visiting the Sky Garden without booking is possible, but in the days of enhanced health measures and social distancing it’s likely to be even harder – so booking in advance is definitely advised because this place fills up fast. Walk-in slots are only available on weekdays, and depend on the capacity of the garden that day. Aim for a sunset trip to enjoy views over London by both day and night!
Location: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 8AF. Nearest station is Monument. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: The viewing atrium is open to the public Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm and 11am – 9pm on the weekends.
Entry: It’s completely free to go up and have a look, but any additional drinks and food will (obviously) be extra. A pint from the bar costs £6, cocktails are £12. Make sure you book in advance here.
More information: take a look at their website.