Reach for the sky

At the end of last week, we had the first fine day in London for ages and I celebrated by visiting one of the newest tourist attractions: Sky Garden at the top of the walkie talkie building.

While not the tallest building in London (it’s only the fifth in this respect), the views are nevertheless stunning, and, unlike the Shard, it is completely free, so, once at the top, you may feel that you can splash out on a cup of coffee, as I did.

As to whether or not it’s a garden, well that’s debatable.  There are certainly a lot of plants ranged over three floors, and you can walk round and inspect them, but, as one reviewer said, it isn’t Kew, and I thought the range was somewhat limited – palms, rubber plants, that sort of thing. However, that said, I’m not really a gardener, and there may be some finer points that escaped my notice.  Anyway, it’s a novel idea and makes for a pleasant hour or so.

As ever in the City of London, old and new sit cheek by jowl, and nestling at the bottom of the walkie talkie is a Christopher Wren church, St. Margaret Pattens. In days of old, I expect its spire was fairly prominent on the London skyline, but these days it’s completely dwarfed by its new neighbour.  It is a typical square City church and is actually quite plain inside, but it does have a wonderful coat of arms just below the organ.

Sky Garden, St Margaret Pattens, Temple Church 060

Pattens, incidentally, were protective coverings for shoes, and there is a small but intriguing display of pattens along with a quote from my favourite author, Jane Austen.

Sky Garden, St Margaret Pattens, Temple Church 054Sky Garden, St Margaret Pattens, Temple Church 055

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