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 – “Imagine a greenhouse at the top of a skyscraper. Or a bunch of flowers sticking out the top of The Shard. That's basically what this is. It's like the Palm House at Kew -- lifted five hundred feet into the sky. The great thing about the Sky Garden is that it's totally free. The Shard will cost you close to thirty quid to look out over London, but they let you up here… continued”
School of Rock – 22 Oct 2016 to 20 Oct 2019 – The Jack Black movie 'School of Rock' has been turned into a West End mind-blowing musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes.
Dreamgirls — soul music from 1960s America – 19 Nov 2016 to 12 Jan 2019 – The Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls is about a struggling soul group from 1960s America.
Princess Diana — Her Fashion Story – 24 Feb 2017 to 17 Feb 2019 – Diana's Fashion Story at Kensington Palace is an exhibition of iconic dresses that show the evolution of her style
42nd Street — High-kicking Broadway hit – 20 Mar 2017 to 5 Jan 2019 – 42nd Street tells the story of a Broadway dancer who gets her shot at stardom when the leading lady gets injured.
Poster Girls — A century of art and design – 13 Oct 2017 to 1 Jan 2019 – Poster Girls celebrates the work of female designers who worked for London Transport over the last 100 years
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – 6 Nov 2017 to 6 Apr 2019 – 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' is all about overcoming prejudice, with songs by The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells.
Superbugs — The Fight For Our Lives – 9 Nov 2017 to 10 Mar 2019 – Learn how scientists are fighting back against the bacteria that are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics
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 Emirate 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)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans