I recommend the Sky Garden to all my friends visiting London, not just because of the killer views but it’s also completely free! And you can’t go wrong where those two things are considered.
Plus, I have yet to receive a complaint regarding my recommendation.
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It’s no secret that London is home to an array of wonderful places to explore, and the stunning Sky Garden is certainly one of them. This scenic spot takes exploring gorgeous greenery to another level.
It boasts an abundance of blooming flowers and fragrant herbs like French Lavender, African Lily, and Birds of Paradise. You’ll also have mesmerising vistas and a bird’s eye view of some must-see London landmarks.
There are plenty of delightful experiences on offer, from breathtaking photography opportunities to exquisite rooftop dining. It’s also an excellent way to explore your surroundings without breaking the bank.
However, the free tickets are limited, so you’ll want to secure your spot beforehand. Fortunately, you’ll find everything you need to know for planning your Sky Garden visit in this comprehensive guide.
The Sky Garden is a relatively new attraction in the city that opened in 2015. It’s London’s highest public garden, where visitors can wander around the picturesque grounds and experience 360-degree city views.
You can also tuck into a delicious meal at one of the rooftop restaurants and bars.
You’ll find this stunning site situated in the 20 Fenchurch Street building, also called the Walkie Talkie. The Sky Garden sits in this 160-meter skyscraper in the Financial District of London.
As such, you can expect astounding views of the city skyline and top London attractions.
The Walkie Talkie building was originally proposed to be 200 meters high. However, the height was reduced to avoid blocking the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The building features a unique and intriguing shape that resembles a walkie talkie from a distance. Most of the floors are used for commercial purposes.
But after receiving planning permission for a public space, the Sky Garden was designed between the 34th and 37th floors of this magnificent tower.
The construction was completed in 2014, and this three-floor masterpiece opened its doors in January 2015.
The Sky Garden was designed by the world-famous Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly. It comprises three levels in a massive glass room with sweeping views of London.
The site also features an outdoor observation deck, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the iconic Tower Bridge and the glistening River Thames.
The innovative design features award-winning landscape architecture practice, Gillespies, and draws inspiration from ancient forests. It is a haven for nature lovers to wander around and discover gorgeous foliage.
You’ll find various plants that complement the space, including drought-resistant South African and Mediterranean species. The multi-level garden includes three main zones that represent a particular habitat.
The top terrace features a shaded space with numerous fern and fig trees, while the middle terrace is the transition zone where you’ll find a stunning display of ancient cycads.
The lower terrace is filled with exotic flowers that light up the space with vibrant colours all year round.
If you’re looking for an unwinding experience in a picturesque setting, a visit to the Sky Garden should definitely be an item on your London itinerary. Here you’ll have access to a spectacular viewing area, an airy terrace, and several eateries.
There are also expansive spaces that host a variety of exhibitions and events, from corporate functions to yoga sessions.
Whether you’re visiting for a special event or simply to admire the lush greenery and beautiful views, you’re sure to have an epic experience at this scenic spot.
With so much to discover, it might be overwhelming to navigate your way through this magical space.
However, a few experiences shouldn’t go unmissed during your visit. Here are some of the top things to see and do in the Sky Garden.
The Sky Garden is home to a wide variety of stunning plants, so you’ll want to spend a few minutes taking it all in.
Enjoy soothing fragrances of lavender and rosemary while admiring gorgeous greenery, including the iconic African lilies, palm trees, and many more.
You’ll also find signposts with interesting information about the plant species. Although you could easily spend half the time strolling around this lush urban jungle, there is plenty more on offer for exciting adventures.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in this magnificent glass dome provide spectacular views from 35 storeys above the ground. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee and admire the wonderful sights of iconic landmarks.
You can also enjoy these stunning vistas from the observation decks and open-air terrace.
Alternatively, head to one of the restaurants and bars for a tasty treat with marvelous city views – just be sure to grab a window seat.
If you’re seeking a splendid sunrise experience, an early morning trip to the Sky Garden is an excellent option. Start off your day in a calming environment with a relaxing yoga class.
You’ll have to book the class in advance and bring along your own yoga mat. After doing the Tree Pose in refreshing surroundings, you can indulge in a flavourful breakfast at the Darwin Brasserie.
If you’re not an early bird, the Sky Garden offers several special events in the evenings. The music nights feature live bands and DJs, so you can dine and dance the night away with exquisite views and creative cocktails.
For those spending Christmas in London, there is a festive winter bar and Christmas music night.
You’re sure to have a joyful time at this merry event as the space is illuminated with twinkling fairy lights and Christmas cheer.
The outdoor observation deck runs parallel with the River Thames, so you’ll have a spectacular view of The Shard as well.
With the breathtaking city views and tropical plants, the Sky Garden is certainly an Instagram worthy photo location that you should visit.
When visiting this scenic spot, you’ll want to take a few photos to capture the splendid experience. For the best lighting and awe-inspiring backdrops, here’s where you can strike a pose.
One of the best places to snap away has to be the balcony. It offers a breathtaking setting and highlights the city from a different perspective.
The City Bar Garden and Darwin Brasserie are also great locations for those Instagram-worthy food pictures. Here you can capture a shot at a cosy table surrounded by stunning greenery.
If you’re looking for a less crowded space than the balcony, a hidden gem is the areas on the sides of the buildings. It boasts palm trees and fantastic lighting that are perfect for a Sky Garden photo session.
When it comes to dining, you’ll have plenty of options to have your taste buds tingling during your visit.
For an exquisite fine dining experience, visit the Fenchurch restaurant on the 37th floor. The rooftop restaurant serves contemporary British cuisine and a selection of award-winning wines.
The Darwin Brasserie is another excellent spot to enjoy delectable British dishes that highlights seasonal ingredients. The stylish restaurant is on the 36th floor and overlooks the impressive city skyline.
If you want to nibble on light snacks or enjoy an evening cocktail, head to the Sky Pod or City Bar Garden. These are superb spots to socialise and admire the dramatic views as the sun goes down.
If you’re travelling by tube, the Monument tube station is the nearest to the Sky Garden entrance. Additionally, Tower Hill, Tower Gare, Bank, Aldgate, and Mansion house are less than a 10-minute stroll away.
There are also frequent trains that run into London Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street, and London Bridge. If you want to travel by bus, take the Route Stop T and Stop W on Route 40.
The public garden is open from 10:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and 11:00 to 21:00 on weekends.
Each restaurant also has its own operating hours, so be sure to double-check before making your Sky Garden, London, booking.
Accessing the lush gardens is free of charge. All you’ll need is a ticket that allows access for one hour. However, you won’t need an access ticket if you have a restaurant reservation.
It’s important to note that tickets sell out quite quickly, so you’ll want to start making reservations and booking Sky Garden tickets in advance.
Sky Garden’s booking process is rather simple, and you can easily book your free tickets online. The tickets are available up to three weeks in advance.
There is a limited number of walk-in slots on weekdays. As this gamble cannot guarantee access to this scenic site, it’s best to secure your spot by booking a free ticket.
You can also make a group booking for one of Sky Garden’s community days, but keep in mind that these slots fill up quickly as well. All you’ll need to do is send an email stating the specific community day you’d like to attend, the group size (maximum of 80 individuals), and the desired time slot.
If you haven’t managed to get a free ticket, another option is to book a reservation at the Fenchurch, Darwin Brasserie, or City Garden Bar.
You might get a last-minute sunset ticket due to reallocations or cancellations, but these opportunities are rather uncommon.
After booking a ticket for your Sky Garden free visit, you’ll receive an arrival time. Be sure to get there early to avoid standing in a queue for an extended period of time. Additionally, those who arrive late may not be admitted.
Once you get to the front, you’ll present your digital or printed ticket to be scanned. Then move on to the security and x-ray machine.
After this, you’ll be escorted to the lift, where you’ll shoot up 35 levels swiftly and start the wonderful experience.
Note: If you’re dining at one of the restaurants, you’ll join the restaurant queue on the right-hand side of the reception.
As the Sky Garden is a well-ventilated space, you’ll want to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
On the other hand, you should avoid wearing things like baseball caps, male vest tops, and flip flops inside the restaurants. The Sky Garden is a causal place but not that causal.
If you’re dining at Darwin or the Sky Garden Bars, there is a smart, casual dress code. The Fenchurch restaurant has a stricter dress code and does not permit gym trainers, sportswear, and hoodies.
To help you plan the perfect visit to this fascinating spot, here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions.
The Sky Garden is located in the heart of the city. It sits 35 floors up in the 20 Fenchurch Street building.
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London, EC3M 8AF, UK
It boasts three levels filled to the brim with stunning landscaped gardens.
As the crowds are controlled with the ticketed slots, you’ll have a splendid time whenever you choose to visit. But for the best experiences, book a ticket for sunrise or sunset times.
During sunrise, you’ll have a calming atmosphere, and outstanding views as the city wakes. As the sun goes down, the gardens light up with glowing hues of orange and purple that leave visitors in awe.
The Shard is a 72-storey skyscraper that can be seen from the Sky Garden. Both offer impressive views, but the Sky Garden is the better choice if you’re looking for bigger spaces and a more relaxed environment.
Plus, you can get photos of yourself with the Shard from the Sky Garden.
The Sky Pod Bar is ideal for afternoon tea and scrumptious light snacks.
Whether you’re popping in for a meal or visiting for sunrise yoga, the Sky Garden is undoubtedly worth it.
It boasts sweeping views of the city, mouth-watering menus, scenic settings, and three floors of landscaped gardens that should not be missed.
It’s easy to see why the Sky Garden attained quick popularity in the city. From breathtaking vistas to exotic plants, there are plenty of spectacular experiences that await you.
Now that we’ve looked at how to plan your visit to the Sky Garden, the only thing left to do is to secure those free tickets. And if you’re looking for more exciting adventures nearby, check out these day trips from London.