If you’re looking for swanky views of London for free, look no further than the Sky Garden.
The Sky Garden’s 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.
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.
From here you’ll be able to gaze out at The Shard, The Gherkin, the ‘Cheesegrater’, Tower Bridge and, of course, the River Thames. In fact you can pretty much see everything.
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
And the Sky Garden is by no means all fur coat and no knickers, because it offers visitors several well-regarded dining options. Try Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant for classy British fare, City Garden Bar for a tempting selection of cocktails, or take a seat at the Sky Pod Bar for a coffee and a cake (this rooftop bar is located in prime viewing position and, naturally, serves alcoholic drinks).
While the food and drink 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
For convenience’s sake, it’s best to book in a visit no fewer than three days in advance. Aim for a sunset trip to enjoy views over London by both day and night. Really, make sure you book because this place fills up fast!
Visiting the Sky Garden without booking
At certain times, you can actually visit the Sky Garden without booking at all, subject to availability. For a free wander around, it’s limited to weekdays, mid-morning, 10am – 11.30am, and in the early afternoon, 2pm – 4.30pm.
If you’re willing to settle in for a coffee or a cocktail (and the bar actually isn’t too heinously overpriced, as it goes) then you have a few more options – they accept walk-ups in the early mornings and evenings. On weekdays that’s 7am – 10am and after 6.15pm, on Saturdays and Sundays that’s 8am – 11am and 9.15pm onwards.
Location: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 8AF. Nearest station: Monument.
Opening hours: The Sky Garden bars and restaurants are open seven days a week, from early till late. Monday 7am – 11pm, Tuesday 7am – 12am, Wednesday to Friday 7am – 1am, Saturday 8am – 1am and Sunday 8am – 11pm. 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.