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London is awash with lovely green spaces and expansive public parks. While there are countless free gardens in London to visit, the London Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is still our favorite. Perched atop a skyscraper, the mostly-indoor Sky Garden London offers phenomenal views – and, unlike other pricey London tourist attractions, is completely free to visit…all you need is a Sky Garden reservation!
20 Fenchurch Street, Sky Garden London
Located in the City of London on the north side of the River Thames – and directly across from The Shard, London’s tallest edifice – is the 20 Fenchurch Street building.
Nicknamed the Walkie Talkie for its uncanny resemblance to a two-way radio, it ranks as one of the tallest buildings in London. Most of the structure’s 38 stories are used as office space. However, the top floors are occupied by a public green space: The Sky Garden London.
Offering wonderful views of London – including a south-facing, open-air viewing terrace – the 20 Fenchurch Street Roof Garden is a must-see!
London Sky Garden Tickets
The Sky Garden in London is free to visit! However, visitors are still required to book tickets in advance. Sky Garden London Tickets are booked online – and are time and date specific. Tickets are made available up to 21 days in advance.
Because of its popularity, time slots fill up very quickly. Visitors should make a Sky Garden booking as far ahead as possible, which requires a little pre-planning for your London Itinerary. Weekends tend to book up fast; Saturdays and Sundays are often fully booked within just a couple of hours of being made available. More info and a link for booking your Sky Garden free visit below!
What To Expect on Your Visit to Sky Garden London
When we arrived at 20 Fenchurch Street at our reserved date and time, we encountered a long queue – but, thankfully, it moved quickly. We had our Sky Garden tickets scanned on our mobile phone and our bags needed to be inspected before we were whisked to the 36th floor.
The London Sky Garden
When we stepped off the elevator, it felt like we were walking into an airplane hangar hovering in the sky. We were completely wowed by the space. Guests are free to stroll the perfectly manicured gardens, which are lined with benches – or grab a drink and seat at the Sky Pod Bar. To begin our Sky Garden visit, however, we bee-lined for the outdoor viewing platform!
Sky Garden Rooftop View Outdoor Observation Deck
The open-air deck runs along the south side of the building providing stunning panoramic views over the River Thames. Our sights quickly fell on The Shard that stands directly to the south. To the east, we could see the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London City Hall and Canary Wharf off in the distance. Looking westward, we were able to see the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament.
The only downside to the Sky Garden observation deck is that, even though it is open air, it is walled by a high glass partition. We could see clearly through the glass, but the tall barrier kept us from snapping the stellar pictures of London we had hoped to get. Of course, it’s for safely and security, but we’d love just one photo from the Sky Garden of London that wasn’t through glass!
More Sky Garden Walkie Talkie Views
The outdoor viewing deck only provides excellent views to the south and somewhat limited views to the east and west. However, the entire Walkie Talkie Garden is enclosed in floor to ceiling glass windows – which means there are stunning Sky Garden London view in every direction!
Sky Garden Restaurants and Bars
At the top of 20 Fenchurch there are two restaurants and two London Sky Garden bars. There is also one restaurant on the first floor, but what fun is that?! To ensure you get a seat at any of these locations, we recommend booking your table in advance (up to 60 days).
Fenchurch Restaurant, located on the 37th floor, is an upscale dining establishment with west-facing views, and coveted tables. The menu features quality British ingredients mixed with a flair of Caribbean spices. The space also features the exclusive Viñoly Room for private celebrations.
On the 36th floor of Sky Garden you’ll find The Darwin Brasserie, the highest such venue London (so far). Serving classic British fare all day and night, they also offer a fun brunch menu to really take your Sky Garden visit up a notch!
Sky Pod and City Garden are the two bars at Sky Garden. Both are situated in the lush green setting and serve signature cocktails and a range of other beverages to daytime visitors. Tables can be booked for early morning and evening visits, too (outside of the regular Sky Garden free ticketed times).
Sky Garden London Events
The Sky Garden rooftop lounge isn’t only for views and drinks – fun events are held at the garden, too! Some of the most popular events are Sunrise at Sky Garden (with optional yoga), Winemaker Dinner Series and the Sky Garden NYE Party.
Sky Garden London FAQs
To help you plan your trip to the Walkie Talkie Roof Garden, we are answering a few frequently asked questions.
Is there a Sky Garden Dress Code?
There is no dress code to visit Sky Garden during the public ticketed hours. However, the restaurants and bars have a smart/casual dress code during the day. No shorts, sportswear or flip flops are permitted in the evenings, with a higher desk code at Fenchurch Restaurant.
What are the Sky Garden Opening Times?
The public opening hours of the Sky Garden are Monday through Friday from 10am until 6pm and on Weekends and Bank Holidays from 11am until 9pm. The restaurants and bars have opening hours outside of the public ticketed hours; tables can be booked in advance, although some walk-ins may be accommodated if space allows.
What is the Sky Garden Address?
The address is 20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 8AF. Use this link to Google Maps for the Sky Garden location pin-drop.
How Much Time Should I Plan to Spend in the Garden?
We recommend allowing at least half an hour to tour the location and take in the view from the Sky Garden. Free Tickets to the London Sky Garden are valid for 1 hour after entry.
Sky Garden London Booking
Sky Garden free tickets are booked through their official website. Tickets are released on Mondays for the following 3 weeks – and it is wise to book as soon as possible to ensure entry. There are some walk-in tickets available during weekdays, however, entry is subject to availability and may no longer be free of charge.
Visit The Shard or Sky Garden?
Visitors who are deciding between The Shard and the London Sky Garden have a few factors to consider.
Shard vs Sky Garden Price Comparison
The Sky Garden London price is FREE, which is pretty tough to beat. Meanwhile, tickets to The Shard start out at about $35 USD for entry to the viewing platform.
Best View in London
The Shard is a much taller building, so the views are certainly more dramatic. However, the space is relatively tight at the top of the Shard and we found it not as atmospheric as Sky Garden.
Booking The Shard vs Sky Garden
Tickets to both venues should be pre-booked online. However, The Shard will likely have last-minute tickets available…unlike the Sky Garden which if often fully booked long in advance.
Other Free Rooftop Views in London
Although still the premier free London Viewpoint, the Sky Garden does have some competition! One New Change offers a free rooftop terrace with peeks at some of the most iconic London sights, including an up-close and personal look at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Tickets are not required for access to the viewpoint at One New Change.
The Garden at 120 is located just down Fenchurch from Sky Garden, and also has an outstanding free rooftop viewing deck. No ticket or booking is required to visit The Garden at 120.The newest, and for the time being, tallest free London Rooftop is Horizon 22 at Twenty-Two Bishopsgate. Free timed tickets are required for Horizon 22, and again, should certainly be reserved as far in advance as possible.
More London Budget Tips
London is an expensive city, there’s no doubt about it. Admission into some of the iconic landmarks can cost upwards of $30 USD. However, we have found a few freebies, one of the best of which is visiting the Sky Garden in London.
As budget travelers, we seek out low-cost and free activities in any destination we travel to. We also created our own Self-Guided London Walking Tours and are content with seeing many sights from the outside. Read more of our money-saving tips to top attractions in our guide to London in 3 Days.
Get and Stay Organized for your Vacation to London!
Read More For Your Trip To London: We’ll take you to London for Christmas, off to Windsor or Greenwich For a Day, and for a walk along the River Thames. We also have tips for all the Best London Food and we’ll duck into the arches under the tracks in Bermondsey for great London Craft Beer!
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