I’d bookended our Easter trip to Strasbourg with two extra day’s leave – as well as creating a pair of three-day working weeks, this finally gave me a chance to visit an elusive new attraction in London: the Sky Garden. The city is busily growing new skyscrapers, and the top three floors of one of the newest – 20 Fenchurch Street, or the ‘walkie-tallkie’ – afford excellent views of the changes from “London’s highest public garden”.
You can check it out for free without a reservation at one of the restaurants, but last entrance is 4:30PM on a weekday and a couple of hours later of a weekend – so I had no real hope of getting there after work, and instead used my day off for a lunchtime visit. Numbers are controlled, with tickets needing to be booked at least three days out yet released just three weeks in advance and requiring photo ID to verify on the day – my advice is to follow their twitter account for news of when a new batch is released. They reserve the right to limit visits to an hour at busy times, and access to the open-air terrace to the south runs to a stricter capacity limit than the main space, so once the quota is reached expect one-out, one-in (so don’t dumbly wander out after a couple of minutes like me!). Fortunately all this means that it’s not crowded, so you’ll easily be able to enjoy the views, or find somewhere to sit if you pick up one of the impressive cakes from the cafe (which switches to a bar in the evenings).
Other things to note: there’s a security scan, so don’t try to turn up with your own food/drink or the kinds of things that would raise eyebrows at an airport. Photographers will be pleased to hear that although tripods and any shooting for commercial purposes aren’t allowed, there was no problem bringing in dSLR camera gear for personal use. Which is fortunate, as the main draw really is the cityscape arrayed around you – it’s more “Sky Lobby” or “Sky Terrace” than “Sky Garden”, with only a couple of beds of greenery along the sides. Their occupants hail from rather warmer climes than London, though – presumably the structure acts as something of a greenhouse. Oh, and the express lift from the ground floor is quite a rush too!