Photography at the Sky Garden
Great views to be had from the top of London’s Walkie Talkie tower
Two years ago, not long after it opened, I shot the fantastic views over London from the Shard at sunset and beyond. Back in the metropolis a fortnight ago, I was tipped off about a great alternative: the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, a 34-storey skyscraper in the City completed last year and popularly known as the Walkie Talkie.
The Sky Garden opened only in January and, although only half the height of the Shard, still offers excellent views over the City. Better still, unlike the Shard, entry is free. You go through airport-style screening and take an express lift up to what feels like another world. Night was falling and, to the throb of loud techno music, well-heeled young city types knocked back the bubbly. As a somewhat dishevelled-looking photographer, I probably looked out of place and rather wondered how they had let me in!
Unfortunately, I was told off by an official for putting up my tripod (section 9 of the Sky Garden’s Visitor Rules prohibit their use) and so had to put it away again and crank up the ISO to get reasonable exposures. Internal reflections also limited the possibilities for getting shots of the city out of the window. Even so, I got a few memorable shots of the interior with the city lights beyond.
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If you’re in London with your camera, book a timed slot at skygarden.london. It’s open to the public between 10am and 6pm (later at weekends), although I was able to go up at 6.30pm. Monument is the nearest tube station.