If I say the words "20 Fenchurch Street" then you probably won't have a clue what I'm talking about. But if I say the words "Walkie Scorchie" then the chances are that you will -- because that is the nickname that Londoners have given to one of The City's most distinctive buildings.
When this building first opened its curved facade focused the sun's ray into the street and blistered all the paintwork on the cars (true!). Unfortunately they decided to fix it (boo!), so if you want a free sun-tan then you'll have to go to beach like everyone else.
But the Walkie Scorchie is still definitely worth a visit because at the top of the building is a three-story 'Sky Garden' of tropical plants. Think of it as a massive greenhouse, like the Palm House at Kew, with jungle ferns and rainforest spray being pumped out of the pipes. And because it's 500-feet closer to the sun they are promising us that it will stay in bloom all year round (surely a first for a London garden!).
Craig has been here a couple of times and thinks it well worth a visit. He rates it is as the second-best viewing platform after The Shard, and put it on his list of ten best things to do for free. Read his review of the Sky Garden before you go, and feel free to ask him some questions. You can also post a question on the forum.
You get a great view of the Tower of London from up here (maybe the best view from anywhere in London). You can look straight down into the grounds and see it laid out like a map. Tower Bridge also looks great from up here, and you can see the river bending before the skyscrapers at Canary Wharf. Practically every London landmark is easily visible: from St. Paul's and the London Eye, to Big Ben and Parliament.
Guest – “Are dogs allowed on a lead?”
Admin – “Doesnt look like it, no. This is what they say on their website... http://skygarden.london/visitor-terms”
> Craig’s review of this event – “I used to think of this as the Palm House at Kew, 500 feet in the sky. But now I think of it as one of those giant sci-fi cities in the clouds. This is how we'll all be living soon, enclosed in a giant bio-dome. Skyscrapers are usually out of bounds to the public but all you have to do for the Sky Garden is book a time slot on their website. Once you've made it past… continued”
School of Rock – 22 Oct 2016 to 5 Jan 2020 – The Jack Black movie 'School of Rock' has been turned into a West End mind-blowing musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – 6 Nov 2017 to 28 Sep 2019 – 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' is all about overcoming prejudice, with songs by The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells.
TINA — The Tina Turner Musical – 21 Mar to 21 Dec 2019 – TINA tells the story of Tina Turner, from her humble start in Nutbush to her transformation into a global superstar.
Watch some magic at the Magic Circle – 9 Apr, 14 May, 4, 18 Jun, 3, 17 Sep, 8, 22 Oct, 5, 12 and 19 Nov 2019 – Look around their museum and then sit down to enjoy an evening of magic at the Magic Circle's very own headquarters
Magic Realism — Art In Weimar Germany – 30 Jul 2018 to 14 Jul 2019 – Magic Realism is an exhibition of paintings created during the Weimar Republic years, between World Wars I and II.
Slavery, Culture & Collecting – 15 Sep 2018 to 15 Sep 2019 – This exhibition explores the connection between some of Britain's oldest cultural organisations and transatlantic slavery
Feliks Topolski — Drawing Debden – 1 Oct 2018 to 28 Jun 2019 – The Bank of England Museum will be putting on an exhibition of work by Feliks Topolski about the Debden printing works.
If you enjoy taking photographs of the skyline then here’s our pick of the best viewing spots in London
Here are some more free events in London if you want a cheap day out
If you enjoy Sky Garden then you might like to visit Emirates Air Line Cable Car (catch the train from Monument to Royal Victoria), London Eye (catch the train from Monument to Waterloo), Monument (you can walk it in less than 3 mins), One New Change (walk it in 12 mins or catch the tube from Monument to St Pauls) and The Shard (you can walk it 10 mins)
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