The long-awaited The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street opened for its first event this week, and Shout About London dissects how it stacks up against other rooftop venues.

I’m sure there will be many a blog hurling flattering superlatives on every event hashtag from #EventProfs to #BuggerMeThatsABitHighIsntIt over the next six months. So, rather than offer a descriptive narrative (of which any picture we take would do a better job for us) we thought we’d do something a little more relevant to our readers.

What with the 21st century craze of building as high up as we can (London space is bloody expensive per square foot to be fair), we ask the question: just how high do you need?

Flying cars are certainly going to have to be quite nimble if it carries on.

Having said that, this is (only) the fifth tallest building in the City of London. Not even in the top 10 of London proper. So does that make it less awe-inspiring than the Shard or Heron Tower?

Perhaps then we should also be focusing more on the horticultural element. These ‘floating’ Roof Gardens are in fact the highest in Europe (I think they finally scraped that moss off of the tip of the Gherkin) and are an overpowering element to the space.

Here’s a link to the website so you can see the visuals for yourself.

Before we start, thanks to the girls at Rhubarb (the team that cater at and manage the space) for the excellent and informative show-round. There’s a lot of passion in that team, as the excitement of the launch is really starting to kick in. Exactly what you want to see.

So let’s compare this venue against some alternatives with a game of (Roof) Top Trumps.

DISCLAIMER – they’re not all roof tops but we liked the pun

Scores out of 10

10 = good

0 = bad





That wasn’t even rigged.

Of course there are too many codicils to read too much into any of that and you’ll be pleased to find out that – despite it being a bit of fun – it caused more arguments than anything in the history of Shout About.

Imagine someone saying that The Shard is further to go for a fag than the Gherkin, as it’s the tallest building in London. Then, some smart arse brings up the speeds of the lifts and you start thinking all this was a bad idea.

You can see why we left off price too, given how many permutations there are.

Give us a shout if you want to know a little more detail.

One thing I would say is that Sky Garden could use a glossary of exactly what you’re looking at on the skyline. Who knows they might still?

In venues like the Tate, Altitude 360 and the London Eye, they have information charts telling you the names of the more eye-catching buildings and points of interest. I’d like to see someone like 20 Fenchurch Street step up to the digital age and have a display with information about key locations. Perhaps on the glass like something out of Minority Report. 

It may seem like a pointless exercise to some, but trust me, as soon as you get up there, you’ll hear those three familiar voices: 

“What’s that funny building over there?”

“Oh that’s the Walkie-Talkie”

“No! We’re in the Walkie-Talkie, that’s the Cheese Grater?”

“Why’s it called the cheese grater, it looks like a cucumber?”

“You’re looking at the Gherkin”

“Which one”

“The one that looks like a Gherkin”

“Looks like an upside down ice cream cone to me”

“That’s the Shard”

And so it goes on….