You know somewhere is good when there’s a 2-week waiting list, that’s the case with Sky Garden and it is good but like most things in life, there are caveats.
Access is going to be your biggest issue with a trip to Sky Garden. Like I mentioned above, when I last went there was a 2-week wait list for booking a ticket, currently it’s closer to 4 weeks. If you have access to a concierge service like the one I use (Ten Group) through my NatWest Premier account you can usually get access whenever you like. I set off driving to London at 09:00 on a Friday and after a brief call to my concierge, I received an email 2 hours later stating I had a table booked for sunset that evening.
If it isn’t a spur-of-the-moment jaunt and you’re planning well in advance booking a ticket is free and simple. Head to SkyGarden.London and select book a ticket. A handy calendar with available dates and times will show up along with how many tickets are available. Once all is said and done you’ll probably get an email confirmation but it’s worth taking a screenshot just in case you don’t.
What’s the big deal then? well firstly, it’s essentially a bar with pretty poor service* that you still have to pay for by way of a service charge. The asterisk is required as it does get extremely busy and as such you have to cut them a bit of slack, though the opposing viewpoint is to just employ more staff…
The views are obviously the selling point. In human nature, the story of Icarus rings true and to soar 35 stories into the sky whilst putting back a few cocktails and nibbles in the capital is certainly a nice experience. The personification of living the high life if you will.
In full tourist mode and aren’t a local? They’ve thought about that. To offer the best experience, each pane of glass has the names and a visual graphic of the major landmarks you’re looking at (most landmarks are glaringly obvious, however).
I’d highly recommend getting a table when you make a reservation, preferably one close to the windows to capitalise on the rather nice views. The reason for the table, well it’s just nice to have somewhere to sit and enjoy your drink.
Don’t worry if you don’t get a table near the windows though, you can always just go for a walk with your drink, after all, it is an actual garden…
If you are wanting more than drinks and a few nibbles there are 2 restaurants you can choose to dine in should you have booked prior.
The shadows tell the unfortunate story of a problem you will face pretty much anywhere you go that’s nice. Aspirational influencers in the wild… If you’ve ever been on the London Eye, you’ll know that as you start to rotate, people swarm to the windows on the right then when you reach the top they all migrate to the left for the downward journey.
That’s what you’re dealing with but at scale when sunset/sunrise comes round. It goes from a lovely view you can see from anywhere in the room to a bunch of bell ends all lined up posing like they’re featuring on a spread in Vogue.
Regardless if you’re visiting the big smoke for the first time or your 30th, if you haven’t been to the Sky Garden it’s worth booking. For beauty, you’ll want to be there for sunset when the city is awash with golden light but the trade-off is people. Any other time on a nice day is still good. The live music is decent if a little loud and it’s London so £7 a pint at the minimum.