The London Sky Garden was something I’d wanted to do for a few years now; although we had mentioned going before, it was decided we’d go on my birthday.
Although some other reviews have talked about it taking around half an hour to get in and there being rather pompous and fancy security taking a while; however, we got in fifteen minutes early and therefore could have over an hour in the gardens. The security system is airport-styled which may seem a little over the top, but it was pretty quick and we didn’t have to queue for longer than a few minutes to go on the lift that takes you up the 35 floors to the top. Once at the top, you come out in a small funnel and then get a view of the viewing area, balcony and cafe.
The viewing area is huge, and the whole inside section has dozens of places to sit and recline whilst looking at the view and eating. Many people have also commented that the food is expensive, but as the whole experience costs nothing I think that inflated pricing is fair enough. Plus, the iconic view is worth paying extra for.
So, after the open space at the front comes to a large section of huge glass windows, there are two turnstile doors that allow you to access the balcony. From the front, you can see the Shard, the London Eye and across the Thames. You can see as far as Canary Wharf and Wembley from other directions, and even though the October air was slightly misty, the visibility was still good and didn’t affect the view very much. Further, you get great views of the Tower of London from the left side of the balcony. What I liked about the balcony was the fact that you could see almost directly below the platform to the streets underneath where you were standing, and you can marvel at the size of the people and cars and buses on the roads. The view is actually breathtaking; you can see so much of London that it allows you to get a completely different view of the city, as well as see the famous buildings that everyone will recognise. As the Sky Garden is a few streets from the Thames, you can see London Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, plus watch the boats travelling up and down the river. So many attractions are visible that it takes at least ten minutes to properly appreciate such a view – ensure you give yourself enough time! This is definitely the best aspect of the experience and the view is insane – also make sure to bring a camera, but selfie sticks aren’t permitted on the balcony.
Once you’ve finished surveying the stunning view, you can go inside and enjoy the ‘garden’ aspect of the building. Tropical plants are placed up a slope of the rooms across three floors, and there are several little alcoves in which you can sit and have your photo taken or see the view from another perspective – the glass stretches around the entirety of the space, so you are able to see over London in all directions.
At the back of the room, there is a wide wooden bench that has plenty of space for tourists to sit and enjoy a drink from the bar (again, same idea, a little expensive but still worth it, and the range is impressive) and look over the opposite side of London. Here you can see the Gherkin and a little to the left, you should be able to see Wembley. You also get a great view of St. Paul’s Cathedral and across all the other buildings on the surrounding streets, as well as an overall look at the impressive size of the city.
So, if you’re planning to visit the Sky Garden, get there around ten minutes early and try to put your belongings in a small bag so you can easily go through security. Definitely take a camera and a phone as the view is spectacular, and if you’re planning to eat then pack some cash. Wear something cute as the whole place is very photogenic and perfect for some cute shots!
It’s such a cute idea for a date or a day out with friends or family – plus, booking is relatively easy online and completely free. This means you can spend money on eating out, whether that’s inside or outside; there are several restaurants and cafes within a ten-minute walk, and I would strongly recommend the Pure only a few streets away; it does street food and fruit pots and everything is SO good!