30 Apr On Top of The World at The Sky Garden, London
News just in…I’m going to Russia in May with Topdeck. If you haven’t heard of them already they’re a company who offer overland adventures for 20-30 somethings and since I’m 27, I fall nicely in that category. While I’m super excited about visiting such a mysterious country, the Russian border police don’t exactly make it easy to get in.
Getting your Russian visa is a little easier these days now they have an online system set up for handling applications, but it’s still a convoluted process. Not only do you have to list every place you’ll be staying during your trip, you’re also supposed to list every country you’ve visited in the last 10 years. For a travel blogger who’s been to over 40 countries and has visited many of them more than once, that takes a while. On top of that, once you’ve completed the online application, you have to attend one of their application centres in either London or Edinburgh so you can submit fingerprints!
S0, since I had to visit London to get my visa sorted, I thought I’d catch up with my best friend Alex who recently moved back from Toronto. The weather was gorgeous with blue skies- perfect for visiting The Sky Garden, London’t highest garden.
Look Mum No Hands!
The Russian visa application centre is in the Barbican area and a quick search for cafes on Yelp brought up Look Mum No Hands! This cool, quirky cafe has a bicycle theme, with bike wheels hanging from the ceiling and a bike shop inside. There’s also outdoor seating, so you can sit outside and enjoy your iced coffee in the sun. I had something I’ve never tried before- chocolate flavoured tea, along with a mixed salad plate, which was delish. Definitely check this place out if you’re feeling hungry and thirsty in the Barbican!
The Sky Garden
Entrance to The Sky Garden is free but you have to book tickets online to go up there. You get a 1.5 hour time slot and ours was booked for 2.15pm, so we decided to hop in an Uber to make sure we arrived on time.
After passing through airport security-style scanners at London’s ‘walkie talkie’ building, we hopped in an elevator, which took us up to The Sky Garden. The view is just jaw-dropping, with the Shard dominating the skyline. And the best thing about it is, The Shard costs £30 to go up, while The Sky Garden costs nada, zilch, nothing…
There’s an outdoor balcony where you can take pictures, although you have to take them through the glass, which is a shame, but…safety first.
After admiring the view and repeating the ‘wow’ numerous times, Alex and I ordered a couple of cocktails from the Sky Pod bar and the bartender gave me a bit of a funny look when I enquired ‘What are your most attractive drinks on the menu?!’ I can’t help it, it’s the photographer/Instagrammer in me!
Our choices were delicious and very photogenic, although expensive (roughly £14!)…
I have to say the garden itself is nothing particularly special to look at but it gives it that sort of humid greenhouse vibe and it’s a novel idea. If you come on a sunny day, you can see miles and miles into the distance. It’s incredible and definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been already.
Tower of London and St Katharine Docks
Once we’d prized our way from The Sky Garden, we strolled down to the Tower of London, which was teeming with tourists.
We walked along the water to take photos of Tower Bridge, then pottered over to St Katharine Docks, my favourite spot in London. My cousin lives here and so this is usually where I stay when I’m in the big smoke. It’s so quiet there, making you feel like you’re worlds away from the chaos of the big city. In need of somewhere to charge our phones, we stopped in The Boat House cafe, where we ordered a bottle of wine, crepes and pastries to enjoy while we sat looking out at the yachts! It’s days like this that make me want to move from Manchester to London ASAP!