The Sky Garden Wasn’t For Me

15th March 2015

Sky Garden Tea Was Here (1)

As of January, London has a new attraction; a Sky Garden on top of the Walkie Talkie (the ugly building that set fire to cars with its reflection and just doesn’t fit into a skyline that scarily looks more and more like Blade Runner) The good things? It’s for free. The bad? Everything else! Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s worth a visit.

Sky Garden Tea Was Here (2) Sky Garden Tea Was Here (3)

It’s free of charge but you need to book ahead, make sure you come on time and bring your ID. But leave the picnic basket, wine, Frisbee, chewing gum and your dog at home because none of those are welcome. There is an airport security like scan to make sure you don’t sneak any of those in. It was the same security treatment I received at the Reichstag in Berlin … which was understandable since it’s the government building.

(The smell of overcooked burgers welcome you, but there is no happy group of people around a barbecue, no laughing kids, no one seems afraid of stepping into dog shit or being overwhelmed by pigeons. We were greeted by a young man who got his job just for his looks and made me feel like I was about to walk in the exclusive suite at an airport.

The place was soulless and nothing like the floating gardens of modern Babylon they initially kept talking about – unless the Gardens of Babylon were designed by fourth graders for their Treasure Island play. The only sincere smile I saw was a young child running around oblivious to where they were and a women sipping on what looked like her fourth glass of wine.

To quote a fellow traveller: ”Even the staff hovering around looked like they wanted to hang themselves, but they wouldn’t be able to because the trees aren’t real and wouldn’t be able to hold a noose let alone their own weight.”

And on top of that, the lift music, cheap looking plastic panelling and decidedly boring decor go in no way to make up for the promise of a public space. It’s more of a viewing platform you go to if you are not bothered to pay £25 for the Shard or £17 for the London Eye. And what about the view? London looks stunning but it’s not presented brilliantly.

The maximum you can stay up there is an hour and a half, but depending on how quick you can do your photo pose you’ll be done in 20 minutes and that’s including a quick stop in the toilets.

I did however enjoy the Art Deco inspired entrance sign on the ground floor which I noticed as I was leaving, amid a crowd of eager, excited faces ready to board the lift to disappointment.

At least the Shard didn’t pretend to offer a public space, it doesn’t care if it invaded the skyline and tore a hole in the sky, this forgetful Walkie Talkie bribed its way into the crowd of buildings like a fake friend wanting to join in the fun the Gherkin and Cheese Grater were having, but it could only get in by offering to give them its lunch money, and the promise of a public access space – which requires booking in advance of at least a three days in advance (but it’s booked out weeks in advance). But at least you can take a selfie, which was the entire purpose of the trip for everyone I saw.

I really hope the next big garden-style project – the Garden Bridge doesn’t suffer a similar fate.
Sky Garden Tea Was Here (4) Sky Garden Tea Was Here (5) Sky Garden Tea Was Here (6)Sky Garden Tea Was Here (8)Sky Garden Tea Was Here (9)Sky Garden Tea Was Here (10) Sky Garden Tea Was Here (11)

12 thoughts on “The Sky Garden Wasn’t For Me

  1. Rachel

    Oh, how disappointing! The trees aren’t real? From your pictures it looks a rather like an airport departures lounge, but without the optimism of a vacation!

    Reply
  2. Abigail

    This is such a shame! Unfortunately I think the garden bridge will go much the same way. 1. They’re actually reducing the net amount of green space due to the areas they are going to build the bridge supports over on each bank. 2. Groups of over 8 aren’t going to be allowed. 3. No bikes allowed either! 4. The bridge closes at night time. 5. They are allowed to shut it whenever they like for corporate events. Seems like another ‘public space’ used to serve London’s elite under the guide of a community project!
    Abigail
    x

    Reply
  3. Lisa

    I agree with so much of this. I was so disappointed by the sterility of it and its lack of gardenness. I had a sunnier and brighter day than it looks like you did and so I thought it was still maybe worth a visit for either tourists unwilling to spend the money to go up the Shard or for Londoners with nothing better to do in an afternoon and with low expectations of the space.

    Reply
  4. Cheyenne

    This is so sad and disappointing to hear. Really was looking forward to go there the next time I’m in London. On the internet etc. it sounds really great but if it’s as soulless as you say it is then I’ll have to think again if I really want to go up there.
    And what’s the point of having a public space like that if you can’t even bring a picknick?!!
    The view does look amazing though.

    xx Cheyenne

    Reply
  5. Andrew

    I am going to London in a few weeks so i might check it out! If anything it will kill some time if i am looking for something to do, some nice views though by the looks of things.

    Andrew.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *