London is a city with a scale that must be seen to be believed. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a weekend, guests of the Piccadilly West End Hotel Spa can only get to know London’s true size by drinking in the view. Thankfully, the city is teeming with beautiful viewpoints, both natural and manmade.
Among the latter but reflecting the former is the Sky Garden, a project on the top floors of number 20 Fenchurch Street – also known as the Walkie Talkie building. This free-to-visit tourist attraction is among the best ways to see the size of London, and offers a tranquil ambiance even if the views over the city of London weren’t present. Guests of boutique hotels in London’s West End can book their half an hour slot in the Sky Garden via Number 20 Fenchurch Street’s website.
But if you’re prone to a spot of vertigo, then you needn’t climb the dizzying skyscrapers of London to see those vistas. This blog will explore some of the city’s most popular spots for literal sightseeing. From the 40th floor of iconic skyscrapers to naturally occurring hills over the city, these beautiful views will give a sense of London’s layered, historic and highly photogenic landscapes.
20 Fenchurch Street
The 2015 opened 20 Fenchurch Street is also known as the Walkie Talkie building thanks to its curved shape, an architectural flourish that has attracted much criticism over the years. Depending on your tastes, the Walkie Talkie building, designed by Rafael Viñoly, is either a striking piece of modern architecture or an eyesore. 20 Fenchurch Street curves upwards and outwards, stretching up to and its 40 floor reflective front panelling has in the past led to reflected sunshine heating up neighbouring streets. This has been curbed thanks to protective fins on the side of the building, but nevertheless exacerbated the criticism of the Uruguayan architects design.
As part of the planning permission for the rebuilding of what was once a 25 floor block, 20 Fenchurch Street had to deviate part of their building to public use, hence the launch of the Sky Garden. The two top floors of the Walkie Talkie building were kitted out with indoor rockeries, exotic plants, 2 bars, 3 restaurants and an observation deck, providing stunning views over the City of London from about 160 metres above ground level. The fig trees, exotic flowers and walkways of the Sky Garden are set over two floors and are completely free to book.
Sky Garden Bars
The Fenchurch Terrace Bar is of note thanks to its location above the Sky Garden, providing views of both the City of London and the garden below. The City Garden bar is located below the terrace bar within, as the name suggests, the garden itself. When booking your allotted time within the Sky Garden, guests of hotels in West London England may be lucky enough to coincide with one of the DJ sets and live music at the Sky Pod bar, adjacent to the garden area. All three of these bars serve an array of cocktails and pub menu drinks and snacks to accompany your visit to the Sky Garden.
Other Viewpoints For London Tourists
The Sky Garden is open to bookings between 10am-6pm on weekdays and weekends 11am-9pm, but if there are no slots available for your visit, then there are plenty of other ways to drink in the landscapes of London. Below are some of the other viewpoints that guests of corporate accommodation in London’s West End can enjoy during their stay.
Officially the tallest building in London, the Shard is located near London Bridge and is mainly used for office space for the likes of Al Jazeera, Heinz of baked beans fame and the Warwick Business School. Of course, these properties are off limits but if guests of the Piccadilly London West End book a table at one of the 6 restaurants within the building, you can enjoy floor to ceiling panoramic views that, on a clear day, has a visibility of up to 40 miles in every direction. Bar 31, Aqua Shard, Oblix, Huton TING and GONG are all situated on mid to upper floors of the 95 storey building.
Primrose Hill is located within the heart of Regent’s Park, one of London’s more central royal parks. The beautiful hill is another example of a naturally occurring London viewpoint, and is highly popular in the summer, when locals such as Harry Styles are often spotted picnicking in the area.
The London Eye
The London Eye is situated on the South Bank and was originally named the Millennium Wheel in celebration of the year 2000, when it was first erected. Consisting of 32 passenger capsules that represent each borough of London, a ticket will provide you with one full revolution of the Ferris wheel, with a peak of 135 metres. On a clear day, passengers will be able to see up to 25 miles in every direction, whilst the views of the city centre from the London Eye’s South Bank home are unforgettable too.
The Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory is located within another royal park – this time southbound. Greenwich Park is famous for its Royal Maritime Museum and for being the home of the Greenwich Meridian Line, a key astronomical marker and navigation point that even helps set the time for different international zones. The hill on which the Greenwich Observatory was built is now a popular attraction thanks to its beautiful views over the Canary Wharf business district of East London. Try visiting at sunset to see the lights of London begin to turn on, whilst the red light reflecting off of the skyscrapers is truly remarkable.
Parliament Hill is located in Hampstead Heath and is named so thanks to the urban legend surrounding it. Allegedly, this hill, from which visitors can see the Houses of Parliament and much of Central London, was the spot at which Guy Fawkes planned to spectate the destruction of Westminster if his gunpowder plot was to succeed. Of course, Guy Fawkes and his fellow assassins were foiled on November the 5th 1605, but visitors can still survey the cityscape from the crest of this beautiful ancient woodland.