Welcome to the Sky Garden, quite literally a garden in the sky. My opinion of the Sky Garden is a conflicting one. On one hand, I was quite unimpressed with its flaccid design. But on the other hand, it was still a really enjoyable attraction, especially because it’s free! You can tell that the people who designed it did a lot with the small space they had and to be honest with you, I didn’t expect that much in the first place (mainly due to an influx of negative blog reviews over recent months).
The Sky Garden can be found at the top of the Walkie Talkie, the weird-looking skyscraper on the right, which is near Monument tube station in South East London. We also like to name our buildings weirdly in England, if you hadn’t already noticed. To visit the Sky Garden you have to book a free time slot online, and its opening hours are between 10 am and 6 pm midweek and 11 am and 9 pm at the weekend.
The Sky Garden reminded me of an airport lounge where everyone and everything was uniform, soulless and immaculate. (I just used an airport lounge as an insult but airports are my favourite places ever). To say the Sky Garden juxtaposed to wacky Shoreditch, where we were staying during this visit, is an understatement.
As you enter the Walkie Talkie, you go through an airport-like security, where coats and bags are placed through a scanner, and we had to walk through one too. I felt like if I was to speak too loudly or even perhaps cough, I’d be kicked out for not being respectful enough. Seriously, this place is posh. Note: if you plan to visit the Sky Garden, everyone likes to pretend they’re more upmarket than they are and wear sophisticated clothes. Whilst I felt comfortable in my loud and flowy dress, others might not. Just don’t rock up in joggers, okay…
One big compliment I would give the attraction is that the views across London are unspoiled. However, the views probably wouldn’t have been quite as outstanding if it had been a rainy day. Tourists visiting London for the first time would probably appreciate the Sky Garden more as well. Unlike myself, they will probably have never seen London from above before. However, when I come to think about it, the only time I’ve ever seen London properly from above is when I went on the London Eye at 8 years old!
If you can afford to splash the cash I would recommend booking a reservation at one of their restaurants. Despite the expense, it would give you more of a reason to visit and prolong the experience rather than hopping in and out very quickly, as the “garden” is quite anti-climactic. To be honest, I think most people were just there to get a fabulous Instagram selfie and then leave. I’d also like to visit again at night to see London all beautifully lit up.
The Sky Garden would not have been quite as great had it costed money. It’s a fun attraction to visit for a quick twenty minutes… but it is definitely not worth paying a decent sum of money for! With that in mind, I’d definitely encourage you to visit before they inevitably begin charging an entrance fee, following a similar path of most other London attractions.
While I prefer venturing away from the touristy hotspots, I definitely think the Sky Garden is something you have to experience and I’m very glad I did. If you do fancy visiting, take a gander over to their website and book your tickets in advance. The attraction only opened this January so the tickets do tend to sell out quickly.
So have you ever visited the Sky Garden in London? What were your thoughts; were they as generally negative as mine? Or would you recommend somewhere else to see London’s gorgeous skyline from above? Let me know in the comments below!