A Day Out in London with a visit to Sky Garden

During half term we were invited to the Mondrian Hotel for a special Skylanders Academy screening.

The screening itself took just a couple of hours, leaving us with plenty of time to explore some of the sights that London has to offer.

A few weeks ago we took a sightseeing trip along the Thames with City Cruises and during the onboard commentary they mentioned that there was a FREE alternative to The Shard, where you could see London from above – Sky Garden in Fenchurch Street, affectionately know as the Walkie Talkie.

Sky Garden

It is important that you book your tickets in advance as they do get snapped up quickly, so we booked for the afternoon of our visit to London which left a couple of hours to explore after we had finished with Skylanders.

The Mondrian Hotel is just across the River Thames from St Paul’s Cathedral so we took the short stroll across the bridge to have a look around.

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the devastation of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

St Paul's Cathedral

It has been quite a few years since my last visit and I had forgotten how green it was around the outside of the building.

St Paul's Cathedral

As a Cathedral I had assumed that entry would be free, but it was £44 for a family ticket to go inside which we decided was too expensive for something the kids were not really interested in seeing, so Hubby and I will return when we visit without them in tow.

St Paul's Cathedral

We are big fans of the TV series First Dates which is set at the Paternoster Chophouse Restaurant in Warwick Court, just behind St Paul’s, so we couldn’t visit and not pose for a photograph outside.

First Dates Restaurant

It was about a 20 minute walk from here to Fenchurch Street to visit Sky Garden. We arrived 15 minutes before our time slot and were surprised by the queues outside to get in, however they were fast-moving and after our bags had been scanned we entered the fast lift to take us up to the 35th floor.

Sky Garden

155 metres up, the spectacular Sky Garden offers views across the capital and far beyond, even on a murky October Day.

Sky Garden

The famous enlarged glass dome is dedicated to three storeys of exquisitely landscaped public gardens and London’s most exclusive social spaces, including observation decks, an open air terrace, a restaurant, brasserie and cocktail bar.

Sky Garden

It is a truly awe-inspiring visit with 360° views of the city and the kids loved seeing what they could spot from the windows.

Sky Garden

The landscape designer behind Sky Garden is award-winning landscape architecture practice Gillespies. The designers opted for a series of richly planted terraces for Sky Garden and the planting is dominated by drought resistant Mediterranean and South African species.

Sky Garden

It is probably the open air terrace that is the most fascinating part of the building with views over the River Thames, Tower of London, City Hall and the London Eye.

Sky Garden

Although the terrace is open air, there is a large glass window that stands about 6ft high in front of you and it is covered above so you are sheltered from the elements so I was happy for the kids to run, dance and enjoy themselves.

Sky Garden

The advantage of visiting Sky Garden is that it is free, however, we have visited The Shard and the viewing platform is higher and it has interactive screens and audio to help you understand where to look and what you can see.

Sky Garden

You get an hour to enjoy the gardens and view before it is time to return to the ground. As it is a 5 minute walk to Pudding Lane we decided to go and see the Monument to the Great Fire of London too.

Pudding Lane

I didn’t realise you could go inside the Monument for a small extra charge, but as it was half term the queue was huge so we have added it to our list to do another time.

The Monument

By now our feet were starting to ache from all the walking so we decided it was time to head back to the car, but with another list of things we want to do next time we visit London.

Where is your favourite place to visit in London?



20 thoughts on “A Day Out in London with a visit to Sky Garden

  1. This is the sort of day out I love to do too. I love St Pauls, even climbed to the very top which was awesome. The views are incredible. The Sky Garden is still on the list, and it looks fab. I don’t have a favourite place, as there is just so many places in London.

  2. I didn’t realise you could go inside the walkie talkie as a visitor, I will have to add it to my list. One of my favourite things to do with the kids in London is walk across the elevated walkways of London Bridge. The glass floors there give you such a cool view and the history of the bridge is fascinating. Still so much in London I haven’t done yet!

  3. What an amazing view. I love that you felt safe enough not to worry about the kids too. I’m not a fan of heights so would have to stay well back!

  4. Wow we live near here and I had no idea you can go up the walkie talkie for free – it’s now on my to-do list! My fave thing to do has been the ‘Up at the O2 walk’ where you go over the top. That’s fab!

  5. Sounds like you were busy beans in London Kara, what a great time you all had! I never knew the Sky Garden was free, how awful is that! I must go and have a nose next time I’m in London. I can imagine the views are quite something. I was at the Shard recently and you could see for miles albeit in the evening. I lived in London for many years so there are lots of places I love but the Southbank is always a favourite.

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