The Sky Garden Walkie Talkie Experience Is Amazing

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The Sky Garden Walkie Talkie Experience Is Amazing

THE JUNGLE AT 20 FENCHURCH STREET | Sharon Henry

High inside the Sky Garden Walkie Talkie building, London, a soft mist falls, leaving glistening beads clinging to furry New Zealand tree ferns, 37 floors up.  Like a light shower of rain, it moistens clusters of ginger flowers and dampens the leaves of 100-year-old palms whose roots once veined the soil at the foot of Mount Etna.  This is the Sky Garden on 20 Fenchurch Street, aka the Walkie Talkie or even Walkie Scorchie building, in the City of London, and it’s pretty amazing.

First glimpse of walkie talkie building as we emerge from the London Underground. The Sky Garden is right at the top.

First glimpse of walkie talkie building as we emerge from the London Underground. The Sky Garden is right at the top.

 

The Best London Panorama You Can See For Miles

My ears popped in the quick elevator ride up and I was awe-struck the minute the doors slid open.  We stepped out into a huge atrium, three-storeys high, entirely encased in glass (roof included) which reveals what must be the best view of The Shard.  Behind us stood what looked like a slice of a mountain side, green, leafy and lush.

We made a beeline to the open air terrace, there was so much detail to consume of this iconic cityscape I didn’t know where to look first.  The Shard, HMS Belfast, More London, Tower Bridge, boats on the Thames, red double-deckers, ant people crossing London Bridge, the golden pinnacle of The Monument, down onto rooftops, Battersea Power Station…  Suffice to say, umpteen photos were taken.

The three storey atrium is an impressive introduction to the Sky Garden space, overlooking London.

The three storey atrium is an impressive introduction to the Sky Garden space, overlooking London.

 

One Day In London?  Get Free Tickets To The Sky Garden

It took a while before we ventured back inside.  The Sky Garden Sky Pod Bar is on the lower level and up above are two restaurants which are flanked by green slopes on either side.  To the far left and right are stairways leading to the gardens themselves and top-most floor where you can stand eyeball to eyeball with the ‘Gherkin’ and ‘Cheese Grater’ buildings.

Unfortunately, the gardens had to compete with the spectacular bird’s eye view of London and it took a while before we felt sated enough to turn away from the cityscapes below and follow the path under the tree fern canopy inside.

Where To Find Exotic Plants In London

But now that I’m here I don’t want to leave.  The range of Sky Garden plants reminds me of home; the tree ferns of our cloud forest up on Diana’s Peak and the succulents, creepers, ferns and shrubs – the rest of St Helena Island.  Along with the red hot pokers, agapanthus, birds of paradise and cockroach grass.

Standing amongst them is peaceful and calming and for a few moments as the sun shines directly onto my skin, it’s pure bliss.  I didn’t think my Sky Garden Walkie Talkie experience would make me feel homesick!

Walking under the Sky Garden jungle, where the tall tree ferns reminds me of St Helena Island.

 

The Sky Garden has its own microclimate and there are three planting zones, the shade tolerant forest at the top, sloping to the sunniest area at the bottom.  The plants are ‘drought resistant’ and were carefully selected to give colour and flowers throughout the year.  The misting units come on automatically to regulate the humidity to 75%.  I love the smell they generate; earthy, just like any garden after a shower of rain.

Visit The Sky Garden Walkie Talkie Building For FREE!

A visit to the Sky Garden is highly recommended.  Admission is FREE although limited in availability and in one-hour time slots.  We highly recommend a visit and unsurprisingly for this a brilliant London tourist attraction the Sky Garden tickets are snapped up fast.  Thankfully we got lucky when we booked our tickets online just last night.  It’s a simple and instantaneous process and you can either print a hard copy of your ticket or bring it on your phone. The ticket holder will also need to bring ID.

There are queues and a security check but it’s reasonably fast moving, it took us just over half an hour to get in.  Come at least half an hour early.

Where To Find The Sky Garden Entrance

Oh, and don’t do what we did and go into what is the actual front door of 20 Fenchurch Street.  This is the reception area for the corporate side of the building – not for tourists.  The Sky Garden entrance is around on the opposite side, via Philpot Lane.  The long queue should’ve been a clue – duh!

The Sky Garden is a relatively new attraction, only opened to the public in 2015.  The property developers were granted permission on condition that free admission was given to the public.

The Sky Garden Nearest Tube Station

And even though we’ve been allotted an hour, there are no obvious signs of anyone monitoring this.  No one has tapped us on the shoulder to say, ‘time’s up,’ guess it’s self-regulating; some people who queued with us left a while ago.

We should go too, and not overstay our welcome up in the Sky Garden.  Oh, but what a place, what views, we love it.  Let’s just take one last photo…

The nearest London Underground Station to get to the Sky Garden on 20 Fenchurch Street is Monument on the Circle and District lines.

 

Viewing deck looking down on the River Thames and the More London area. The Sky Garden is an amazing experience and all for free!

Viewing deck looking down on the River Thames and the More London area. The Sky Garden is an amazing experience and all for free!

A list of the Sky Garden Walkie Talkie restaurants.

A list of the Sky Garden Walkie Talkie restaurants.

Amazing views from the Sky Garden down over St Paul's Cathedral and, away in the distance, the BT Tower, iconic sights of London.

Amazing views from the Sky Garden down over St Paul’s Cathedral and, away in the distance, the BT Tower, iconic sights of London.

Having lunch at a Sky Garden Walkie Talkie restaurant.

Having lunch at a Sky Garden Walkie Talkie restaurant.

Stairways leading to the top level of the Sky Garden in London.

Stairways leading to the top level of the Sky Garden in London.

Misting units regulates the Sky Garden humidity at 75% for the giant tree ferns and other plant life.

Misting units regulates the Sky Garden humidity at 75% for the giant tree ferns and other plant life.

Super light conditions at the top of the Sky Garden ceiling, hard to resist taking pictures.

Super light conditions at the top of the Sky Garden ceiling, hard to resist taking pictures.

Green energy, what else for the Sky Garden. Solar panels line up right across the roof top.

Green energy, what else for the Sky Garden. Solar panels line up right across the roof top.

Checking out the sky scrapers of London's Canary Wharf from the top of the Sky Garden.

Checking out the sky scrapers of London’s Canary Wharf from the top of the Sky Garden.

Looking up the side of 20 Fenchurch Street as we wait in the queue to go up to the Sky Garden in London.

Looking up the side of 20 Fenchurch Street as we wait in the queue to go up to the Sky Garden in London.

Almost bumping into that glass ceiling! The view from the Darwin Brasserie Sky Garden Restaurant. As high as we can go inside London's Sky Garden.

Almost bumping into that glass ceiling! The view from the Darwin Brasserie Sky Garden Restaurant. As high as we can go inside London’s Sky Garden.

The London Sky Garden offers an awesome view across to The Shard.

The London Sky Garden offers an awesome view across to The Shard.

 

 

 

By |2018-08-31T13:10:42+00:00March 7th, 2018|City Life, Tourist Attraction, UK|14 Comments

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14 Comments

  1. Elaine March 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    Wow, this looks amazing. Didnt know about this, could have took the girls in 2016 on our day out to London 😊

    • WTSDN March 11, 2018 at 1:52 am - Reply

      This would have made an amazing stop-off on your London day out. The queues are long which might be a problem keeping the girls entertained but once up inside it’ll feel like you have wings! 🙂

  2. Rick and Sally Stucker March 8, 2018 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Great text and photos as always, and what an interesting attraction. I have a technical question, do you use a polarizing filter to avoid reflections when shooting through Glass? Aside from the great shot of Sharon and the glass ceiling, I didn’t see many reflections.
    Cheers!

    • WTSDN March 8, 2018 at 7:22 am - Reply

      Thanks Rick and Sally, great to hear from you. We do use a polarizing filter that is carried in the kit bag at all times, however, we didn’t use it for these photos at the Sky Garden. There wasn’t really an issue of reflections looking out, perhaps they have none reflective glass. 🙂

  3. Shirley green March 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Definately top of my list of thngs to do this year ,((nephew Nigel Henry )) is always Inviting us but sonething always get in the way after seeing your pic it got to happen this year having sat up Dianas peak since 2004 cant get home yet so London it is. ❤️😄

    • WTSDN March 7, 2018 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Hee hee love it – going to London to have a sit on top Diana’s Peak! Make sure to take some bread ‘n’ dance with you to complete the feeling. 🙂

  4. Chris Pashley March 7, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Another ‘gem’ Sharon & Darrin- might inspire me to make the effort! – only 20 miles away but your expert description & photos leave little to the imagination. Thanks Chris

    • WTSDN March 7, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Excellent thanks Chris! It’ll definitely be worth the effort, nothing like being there and seeing things in real-life. 🙂

  5. Shirley green March 7, 2018 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Amazing pictures and a wonderful read you have a way with words. I felt I was there .👏👏 .You have been to so many places I’ve lived in UK for 55yrs and only been to London twice.

    • WTSDN March 7, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Wow thanks for that lovely compliment Shirley. But you made us laugh, fancy only going to London twice in 55 years! London is our favourite city. Suggest you remedy this with a trip to 20 Fenchurch Street. And you’ll feel a little bit like being up on Diana’s Peak sat under the tree ferns. 🙂

  6. Lawsonhenry March 7, 2018 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Great pictures and creative writing we have come to expect wonderful

    • WTSDN March 7, 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Thanks so much Lawson! If you haven’t been already, we totally recommend a visit next time you’re in town. 🙂

  7. Kevin Moore March 7, 2018 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Took my family there in 2016 great experience and yes its free all you have to do is book via there website in advance

    • WTSDN March 7, 2018 at 10:46 am - Reply

      It’s totally cool right? being budget travellers we’re always on the lookout for free things to do and the Sky Garden in the middle of London is a gem. Great place for a family outing. 🙂

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