Today is the first day of the rest of your life. – Anonymous.
A life which, at one point or another, is likely to involve a trip to Sky Garden, a 45,000 square foot greenhouse in the clouds, spread across the 35th, 36th, and 37th floors of renowned Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly’s own London icon, The Walkie Talkie.
As well as coming complete with 360° panoramic views of London, being located on the edge of the Thames and being encompassed in its entirety by a huge, steel-framed dome of glass, Sky Garden feels, unfortunately, a little like an airport lounge. But airports, as you well know, are the best places in the world.
Because if you’re in an airport, you’re going somewhere.
And in this airport, you’re going to one of the following –
The Sky Pod Bar & City Garden Bar
Level 35 & 36: They’re a kind of bar. ‘Kind of’ in the sense that although they are bars (from which you can get platters of snacks, cocktails, wines and beers) they’re also located within an incomprehensibly vast hangar in the clouds.
Head there on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and that incomprehensibly vast hangar will be alive with live music too.
The Darwin Brasserie
Level 36: Despite serving nice, modern European comfort food like herb crusted rump of lamb with ratatouille & salsa verde, and harissa-baked aubergine with cashew hummus & pomegranate, the best thing on Darwin’s menu – providing you can secure a table front and centre – is the view. They also happen to do a killer breakfast…
The Fenchurch Restaurant & Terrace
Level 37: A treat if you A) Like oysters, seafood platters, champagne and caviar, B) Enjoy being higher up than everyone else, and C) Have deep pockets.
Of course, if you don’t fall into that category, you can score the same views as everyone else by booking in for a free viewing (albeit limited to a 90 minute slot that must be booked at least 3 days in advance, on the Sky Garden website HERE). This’ll allow you to saunter through the stepped gardens/rockery winding round the interior and to access the open air balcony, where you can get the best views of London’s skyline (no selfie sticks allowed, thankfully). And if the altitude leaves you feeling a bit parched, all of Sky Garden’s bars and restaurants save space for impromptu walk-ins too.
If you decide to visit Sky Garden, please note that (in keeping with the airport theme) there are security restrictions in place which limit bags to 8 x 17 x 19 inches.
However we’ve done the maths on your behalf, and have concluded that this equals 2,584 inches. Or roughly the wing span of an Airbus A380.
Generous of them.
NOTE: Sky Garden is open daily – you can reserve a table for the bars or restaurants online HERE. There are also free access passes to Sky Garden’s viewing platform, which you can also book, however these are subject to time restrictions depending on day and season – currently a 90 minute slot from 10-6pm on weekdays, and 11am-9pm on weekends.
Sky Garden | 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY
Like spots with a view? Read our guide to the best rooftop bars in London