Recently I paid a visit to the newly opened Sky Garden inside Rafael Viñoly’s £200m+ walkie-talkie, aka 20 Fenchurch Street. The whole visit was very pleasant, with friendly staff, great facilities and a brilliant view. We spent 2-3 hours up there, relaxing with a nice drink. A pint of Heineken was £5, so not too expensive. However, the space had a slightly clinical feel. The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright summed it up nicely when he said “it feels like you’re trapped in an airport“.
The viewing platform itself is on floor 35, about half the height of The Shard, but because there aren’t too many other tall buildings close by, it feels very open. At the back, you get a nice view of the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin and NatWest Tower, and of course the rest of the City.
It was about 2.30pm when we arrived,and we stayed until about 5.30pm, so we got to enjoy a nice sunset during our visit. The terrace isn’t opening until March, and it was pretty cold and windy whilst we were up there so I don’t think we would have gone out there anyway.
The whole area was very spacious and pretty quiet, making it quite an enjoyable area to relax, but there was a very distinct lack of garden. The original concept was a real garden like area that also acted as a viewing gallery, but because of the inclusion of “event space” to make the area viable, the amount of garden has nearly disappeared. The two strips of planting run along the East & West sides, parallel to the long staircase connecting the North & South areas of the gallery. There was plenty of seating and a good selection of drinks and snacks, with some fairly comfortable chairs. I would personally say this was far more enjoyable than the viewing gallery up The Shard, and this was completely free, so added bonus. However, Anyone planning to visit will have a bit of a wait now, as the slots are fully booked until April. However, you can still make some reservations for the 3 bar/restaurants up there.
I didn’t take too many photos, as I don’t think they really do the space or the view justice, but I have attached a few.
Have you visited the Sky Garden? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.