• Ina

Sky Garden – The Best Place for FREE Panoramic Views over London

Updated: Jan 26

Are you searching for London’s most exotic sky-high foliage-filled garden? Look no further than the top of the 37-storey Walkie Talkie building. Opened in January 2015, Sky Garden is a tropical indoor atrium that covers three floors located at 155 metres above the ground. Quite impressive, right? No wonder it's the perfect spot to take in some of the best views over the whole city without paying a single penny. (Yes, access to the Sky Garden is free of charge!).

Sky Garden was envisioned and designed by award-winning landscape architecture firm Gillespies.
The distinctive Sky Garden was envisioned and bought to life by award-winning landscape architecture firm Gillespies.

Why Should I Visit the Sky Garden?

Just imagine: a lush sub-tropical paradise tucked between the 34th and 37th floor of London’s 20 Fenchurch Street, right in the heart of London Town. A soothing sanctuary surrounded by clouds, way above the hustle and bustle of the hectic streets below. Here you can enjoy the most spectacular views while walking around a rich array of flowers, exotic smells, and colours.

The richly planted terraces feature a variety of drought-resistant South African and Mediterranean species.
The richly planted terraces feature a variety of drought-resistant South African and Mediterranean species.

Plants like African Lily, Red Hot Poker, and Bird of Paradise flourish all year round at the Sky Garden. Oh, and if you’re wondering “are the plants in the Sky Garden real?” the answer is a resounding “Yes.” The leafy glass dome is also sprinkled with delicate, fragrant herbs, including Rosemary and French Lavender. From a botanical perspective, the garden is split into three zones/microclimates: Shade Tolerant Forest, flowering plants, and a Transition Zone. If you like vibrant, colourful plants, you'll adore the lower terrace, and if you don't, then perhaps the top terrace of fig trees and tree ferns with its cool, shaded spaces will charm you. Either way, Sky Garden has a space to relax for everyone.

Sky Garden is at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street - The Walkie Talkie – designed in 2004 by Rafael Viñoly (world-renowned architect from Uruguay).
Sky Garden is at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street - The Walkie Talkie – designed in 2004 by Rafael Viñoly (world-renowned architect from Uruguay).

The beautifully landscaped garden includes a viewing area, terrace, bar, café, and restaurant where visitors can experience anything from champagne and canapés to exquisite seasonal plates of British cuisine.


Is there a special dress code for London Sky Garden?

Sky Garden London aka the public park doesn’t have a dress code (yes, you can wear jeans, shorts, cowboy hats, etc) UNLESS you’re making an evening reservation at Darwin Restaurant and Sky Garden Bars from 6 pm onward – in this case, you have to stick to smart casual attire. As for Fenchurch Restaurant, it operates a strict dress code with hoodies, sportswear, and gym trainers strictly forbidden.

Do you need a passport for Sky Garden?

At the door, visitors need to show any kind of original photo ID, including a Passport, driver’s license, work ID, or travel card. Anything with the guest’s photo on it.

The best part: head to the outdoor observation deck to catch a birdseye vista of Tate Modern, Thames and the Tower Bridge.
The best part: head to the outdoor observation deck to catch a birds eye vista of Tate Modern, The Millenium Bridge, the Thames, and Tower Bridge.

What is the best time to visit Sky Garden?

The ideal times to visit Sky Garden’s all-encompassing views across the capital’s skyline are either early mornings (when it’s not very crowded) or at sunset when you can catch extraordinary 360-degree super instagrammable snaps of London sunsets. To choose the best timing, make sure you check out London sunset times throughout the year (visit this page) and plan accordingly (it’s best to book a slot that starts at least 30 minutes before the sunset, and you’ll catch the golden hour as well.

What is better Sky Garden or the Shard?

The Sky Garden is far better simply because it’s a lush urban jungle that’s significantly bigger than the Shard. At London’s highest public garden, the atmosphere is more relaxed, with plenty of places to sit, relax and just enjoy stunning views over London through amazing floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The Sky Garden is an astonishing addition to the London skyline, offering unique 360-degree views across the City of London
The Sky Garden is an astonishing addition to the London skyline, offering unique 360-degree views across the City of London

Both places provide fantastic views of iconic London rooftops. Sky Garden’s open-air terrace and observation decks provide fresh-aired vistas across the Thames, overlooking the City of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and even the city’s biggest landmarks, including The Shard, The London Eye, and The BT Tower.

 Aerial view of St Paul's Cathedral and BT Tower from Sky Garden in London,
Aerial jaw-dropping view of St Paul's Cathedral and the BT Tower from Sky Garden in London.

Is the Sky Garden indoors?

Yes, although the technical term for Sky Garden is “naturally-ventilated atrium.”

Is it free to go to the Sky Garden?

One of the best parts of the Sky Garden is that it’s totally free of charge on weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and during weekends, between 11 am and 9 pm.

View from the Sky Garden towards Canary Wharf, London,
View from the Sky Garden towards Canary Wharf's high-rise blocks, London.

Although walk-ins are accepted, it’s highly recommended to book a free access ticket, up to three weeks in advance of your visit. New batches of tickets are released on Mondays.

the historic City of London financial district.
The historic City of London financial district, with The Walkie Talkie building on the left-hand side (seen from the iconic Tower Bridge)

📅 Sky Garden is open to everyone, 7 days a week. ⏰ Public Garden ticketed hours: Monday – Friday (10 am – 6 pm); Weekends and Bank Holidays (11 am – 9 pm);

📍 Where: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

🎫 Admission is FREE and you can book a Sky Garden ticket here.

🚇 The closest Tube station to Sky Garden is Monument, on the District and Circle Lines.


*All photos were taken by Ina/WithinLondon, unless stated otherwise :)

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