I love to seek out beverages in high places when travelling in order to step out of the rush of the city, relax and enjoy the views from floor-to-ceiling windows for a while.
Here are four London sky bars and restaurants with views I’ve checked out, in ascending height order. On a security note I was glad to discover some form of screening in place including ID checks, metal detectors and bag checks or scanning to enter the all of these venues.
A great way to see London from The Shard without paying the hefty entry fee is to visit one of the restaurants for a drink.
We went to Shanghai Bar at Hutong (Level 33) on a weekday afternoon and practically had the place to ourselves and the pick of tables by the window. It’s certainly wasn’t cheap – my small glass of Italian white wine was £9.50 and mocktails start at £9 but the view (especially from the bathrooms) is fabulous.
Skygarden is on level 35 of 20 Fenchurch Street (‘the walkie talkie’) and has free entry. You have to book if you want to visit before 6pm, but it seems possible to do so on a weekday with only a couple of days notice.
There was a beautiful range of cakes and a garden (which badly needed watering) to wander around, as well as a restaurant. The wifi was rubbish but I can highly recommend the Veranda 35, a Gin based cocktail with sparkling wine, as well as the lemon and earl grey tea cake.
Duck and Waffle
Duck and Waffle is a 24/7 restaurant 40 floors above London at 110 Bishopsgate.
I booked online as soon as bookings opened two months in advance of the date I wanted and we were lucky enough to score a window seat, but in reality the venue was only half full for brunch at 9:45am on a Tuesday morning.
You certainly wouldn’t go to Duck and Waffle for the food – Renee had the signature Duck and Waffle (£15) while I had a Salmon version with a poached egg (£13). The waffles were far from freshly cooked and there was an obvious assembly line of pre-prepared food items going on in the kitchen.
Vertigo 42 (closed)
Vertigo 42 is located on level 42 of Tower 42 on Old Broad Street. There’s a £15 minimum spend per person and a reservation is required and ID to enter. We didn’t have a reservation when we arrived shortly after their 12pm opening time on a weekday but were able to be booked in on the spot.
Vertigo 42 is a champagne bar with pricey drinks and snacks and it’s far quieter than any of the other London sky bars we visited. Given the minimum spend and lack of atmosphere I’d make it my last choice out of all the above options.
Have you been to any of these London spots? Where in the world is your favourite bar to view a city from?