We planned to go see the Sky Garden when we were in London last time, but found that without (free) reservations, you just can’t get in. It is a popular destination, a multistory bar, restaurant, observation deck on top of the skyscraper that overlooks the Thames River and central London, located at 20 Fenchurch Street.
We had reservations for noon and took the Tube from Marble Arch to the closest station and walked the few blocks to the building. This time I used my Apple Watch to pay for the Tube fare, but in crowded conditions, it would be more awkward than simply tapping a contactless credit card or Oyster to get thru the gate. Entrance to the Sky Garden is at the back of the building through a dedicated entrance and elevator. There was a line, but we went right in to go through the security screening.
Inside, there is a large bar on the first of several levels and you can walk out onto the observation deck that overlooks the Thames River. Directly across the River is the Shard, to the left, docked in the River is the HMS Belfast, then further to the left is Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Going right from the Shard towards Westminster, you can see St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye
. There are a number of other landmark buildings (like the “Gherkin” and the “Cheesegrater“) visible from various vantage points within the Sky Garden, but actually as you go up to higher levels, because of the slant in the roofline, you can see less from some points higher up than from the main floor.
As you can see, we had a gloriously beautiful day. If we’d been up yesterday, the weather would not have been great.
While looking down at the river, I saw one of the Thames River RIBs (rigid inflatable boat) that we took down the river a few years ago from the dock near the Eye.
Rigid Inflatable Boat
Upper deck restaurant
In theory, at peak times, you are limited to an hour here, though I don’t know how they’d enforce that, nor did they today.
It was time for lunch so we went across the street to a take out sushi restaurant, then walked back to the Tube stop to go back to the hotel for a bit, but stopped at the Royal Exchange building to do some shopping and window shopping, adding another stop on the HWT (Hermès World Tour) and Halcyon Days.
We stopped by the Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch , which we pass every time when going to the Marble Arch Tube station to see what it’s like inside. It’s a reasonably large building, but the sanctuary is on the small side.
About 4 pm, we ventured back out from the hotel and walked towards New Bond Street and the larger Hermès store. We didn’t find exactly what we were looking for so we headed back towards the hotel, but we were stopped by the vision of a $3m car parked at the curb. A Bugatti Chiron.
At 1500 horsepower, the car is limited in speed by the manufacturer because there are no tires really capable of handling its top speed of over 300 mph.
We weren’t the only ones ogling the car, but I imagine whomever owned it had someone (not visible to me) watching their car.
After leaving “the car” we detoured through Selfridge’s department store, a luxury department store where all the major luxury brands have boutiques within the store. It’s a grand store, if you can afford it and unlike any that mostly don’t exist any longer in the US.
After seeing a Chiron, these guys were in a different class all together.
Tomorrow, we leave London for Scotland by train.