Towering at 160 meters over the City of London, 20 Fenchurch Street hosts London’s newest attraction to the skyline: The Sky Garden. The highest public garden is spread over levels 35-37 and offers a 360 degree view, a choice of 3 restaurants and bars to relax in.
After opening on Monday, I was lucky enough to get in to check it out for myself and it has to be said, it’s rather impressive. After arriving at the slick reception area on the ground level you are whisked up in the lift taking you straight to level 35, all in a matter of seconds. You then exit out on to a vast, open and bright public area, surrounded by carefully chosen plants. The view is immediate: spectacular views across London and beyond.
The location of Sky Garden couldn’t be better as you get unique unspoiled views of many iconic attractions including: the curving River Thames, The Shard, St Paul’s, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, BT Tower and Canary Wharf. You feel quite alone and forget that you are standing on top of a building in the middle of one of the biggest business centres in the world.
After admiring the view to the south, I headed up one of the staircases that runs alongside the sloping gardens to see the view to the north. Whilst taking in the impressive Palm trees and meticulously landscaped gardens, you are rather boldly reminded exactly where you are once you reach level 37 – with the sight of the imposing buildings standing side by side. They seem almost touching-distance away.
In the middle of the space stands a three-story structure that houses the two restaurants: Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Seafood & Grill. Both the restaurants and the Sky Pod Bar are run by Rhubarb. Unfortunately, I didn’t sample either of the restaurants this time but the Sky Pod Bar, which stretches across level 35, was the perfect place to kick back and take in the view, with a coffee and breakfast muffin. Certainly beats a quick coffee and croissant from one of the many chain coffee joints that crowd the city streets below! The cocktails here looked impressive too.
Whilst the planting is still quite young I imagine how impressive it will be when the Birds of Paradise, African Lily, Lavender and Rosemary are in bloom. This is a space that will only improve over time, with loving care. I will be sure to return to see it again when the flowers are out and to experience the open-air terrace, which is due to open in April.
I used to live in New York City and my advice to visiting friends and family was always to go up the Rockerfeller Centre rather than the Empire State Building. The reason being that you get to see the iconic sight of the Empire State. My advice would be similar here in London, don’t go up the Shard as, not only is Sky Garden free to enter, but you get to admire the Shard in all its glory.
It’s good to note that although it doesn’t cost to go to Sky Gardens, you do have to book in advance and tickets are already sold out for quite some time. You can, however, go earlier if you have a booking at one of the restaurants. If you just want to see the view then it’s definitely worth planning ahead to experience this amazing new addition to the London skyline.