Sky Garden

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Photo by Kirsten Johnson from Mummy's Gin Fund.
Free 360 degree view of London, with the best views from the outside viewing balcony (in front of the Sky Pod bar): Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and the Shard.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:

To enter the Sky Garden, there’s a path around the building to the right.

Security at the entrance is reminiscent of airport check-in: you queue up, put your bags through an x-ray machine, walk through a metal scanner and have your tickets and ID checked. Seems like it’s under control as there’s not much waiting time and the checks ensure there’s no queue build up for the lift.

Their website tells you that you have an hour to spend up there yet the lady checking my ID told me I had an hour and half. So I think they are quite lax about it. Not that it matters! Unless you are eating a three course meal in the restaurant then an hour is plenty of time.

Staff seem polite and helpful and although there’s a lot of security measures at the entrance it’s a very casual laid back experience.

Own food is not permitted (unless of course it’s for a baby) nor are selfie sticks.

I was really impressed with Sky Garden. It’s a definite alternative for those who want to view London’s sights from above for those wanting to avoid the £26 a head price of the Shard.

It’s well contained so no chance of the little ones climbing over the sides and falling off – which, as a mummy was one of my worst fears.

My child loved the open space on the observation deck on the top floor. Running about on his reins meant he was in his element.
There are only a limited amount of tickets available and I assume they get fully booked so it doesn’t matter which time you go as they’ll be the same amount of people waiting with you. I arrived 15 minutes before my entry time and got up on my time, so my advice would be to be 15 minutes early what with the security checks.

Definitely take ID. Children don’t require it but they do check.

One final note I’d like to share is that I noticed an abundance of slippery floor signs dotted around from where the garden had been watered. So just a word of caution to mind your step!

Address: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BY.

Website: www.skygarden.london.

Playground: None, but there’s a nice wide open space on the second tier.

Cafe: There are three places to eat. The Sky Pod Bar, Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant.

The Sky Pod is most commonly used by the public. It is an all day drinking and dining experience where people buy hot/cold drinks, pastries et al. Items like brownies and muffins are priced around the £3 mark.

The Fenchurch restaurant offers a more upmarket selection. It considers itself ‘British contemporary’, serving dishes including lobster, truffled macaroni cheese and squab pigeon. Main meals such as their Cornish halibut are priced at £30.

Darwin is an all day brasserie, also focusing on a British (yet seasonal) menu with home grown ingredients. Fish & chips were priced at £17.95 and any additional side cost an extra £5 each.

The website recommends you book if you wish to eat in either Darwin and Fenchurch.

Each café/restaurant is open during the Sky Garden opening times (some continue to operate when the Sky Garden is closed) except for the Fenchurch Restaurant which opens for business each day at 11am and is closed on Sundays.

Toilets: Yes, nothing unusual to report

Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes. There’s the main lift that will take you up to floor 35 and another one on the other side that takes you further.

Wheelchair users book a separate type of ticket, accessible from the same booking page on their website.

During busy times you may be asked to leave your buggy in the lobby but most of the time people are permitted to take them up.

Parking: Unknown.

Nearest Station:

Train:
Fenchurch Station: 0.3 miles/ 6 min walk
London Liverpool Street: 0.7 miles/14 min walk
Cannon Street 0.3 miles/8 min walk

DLR:
Bank: 0.2 miles/5 min walk
Tower Gateway: 0.5 miles/10 min walk

Tube:
Monument: 0.2 miles/5 min walk
Aldgate: 0.4 miles/ 8 min walk
Cannon Street: 0.3 miles/8 min walk
London Liverpool Street: 0.7 miles/14 min walk

Phone: 0207 337 2344

Email: info@skygarden.london

ABOUT: London’s highest public garden consisting of three floors and an observation floor and open air terrace.

Opening hours are 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Monday to Friday (last entry 4.45 p.m.) and 10.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (last entry 7.45 p.m.). Tickets are free but must be pre-booked via their website and are released three weeks in advance. There is a limit of four tickets per booking.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult (over 18) and a maximum of three children per adult.

 

Review by Kristen Johnson

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Helen is the founder of MGF, a friendly, supportive community of fabulous mums and dads, making a difference to the local community, promoting local business and organising events.