Destination UK

A Day Out in London with a visit to Sky Garden

Posted on
November 1, 2016

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?

  1. Reply

    Dean of Little Steps

    November 1, 2016

    That looks amazing and a lovely London-trip. I’m afraid of heights though, but this still looks like a grand experience 🙂

  2. Reply

    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    November 1, 2016

    Ooh the Sky Garden looks lovely – and I never knew it was there! I must go on my next visit to London!

  3. Reply

    Jen Walshaw

    November 1, 2016

    Wow, I had no idea. I have bookmarked this for the next time we go as I know the boys would LOVE this. Thank you ever so much for sharing

  4. Reply

    Moderate Mum

    November 1, 2016

    What an amazing experience for the children. It does upset me that St Pauls is no longer free, it’s an important part of British history – everyone deserves to see it.

  5. Reply

    Mary Louise

    November 1, 2016

    So glad I stopped by – I had no idea there was a sky garden and it is free! Will be visiting.
    We did a tour of Big Ben last week and it was really amazing

    • Reply


      November 2, 2016

      I want to do Big Ben but it is no kids sadly

  6. Reply


    November 1, 2016

    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.

  7. Reply

    Michelle Twin Mum

    November 1, 2016

    Ohhb yes, we are hoping to go here in a couple of weeks. I’ve heard lots of good things. Mich x

  8. Reply


    November 2, 2016

    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!

  9. Reply


    November 2, 2016

    I’ve never been to the sky garden and I live in London. That said, my favourite place here is Camden, I love the uniqueness x

  10. Reply

    Penny Alexander

    November 2, 2016

    What a brilliant thing to be able to do for free, must remember that one, lovely post too, happy smiles all round.

  11. Reply


    November 2, 2016

    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!

  12. Reply


    November 2, 2016

    I had no idea this even existed so thanks for sharing x x

  13. Reply

    Newcastle Family Life

    November 2, 2016

    This looks amazing, I would probably be terrified though as I am so scared of heights. I bet the views were fab x

  14. Reply


    November 3, 2016

    I would be quite scared to go up there but I am sure that my hubby and my eldest will be thrilled! So nice!

  15. Reply

    Kate Williams

    November 3, 2016

    St Pauls is £44 for a family?!? Oh my goodness! I’ve heard lots of brill things about the Sky Garden too, would love to visit it with my two.

  16. Reply


    November 4, 2016

    Oh I must check this out when we next go down to London x

  17. Reply

    Where To Next Kids?

    November 4, 2016

    I must check out the sky garden when I visit. I was shocked by how much it was to go in St Pauls. That’s quite steep

  18. Reply

    Steph Curtis

    November 4, 2016

    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!

  19. Reply

    Charly Dove

    November 15, 2016

    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.

Leave a Reply


Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog