In my last blog post I told you that one of the best ‘cheap’ or actually, free things to do in London was to visit The Sky Garden.
And I found this out for myself, when I went last month with my sister.
She’d just returned from a month long trip to Thailand and considering we’re usually totally inseparable it was a pretty big deal for us to have spent that much time apart. Therefore we decided to see our reunion in, in style.
I booked a whole day off work, a table for two at The Breakfast Club and a viewing slot at The Sky Garden at 11.30am on the Friday. Reunion nailed. Or as Peter Kay would say: Booked it, packed it, fucked off.
It was a stunningly beautiful, blue skied January morning and I was first to arrive outside the bright yellow door of The Breakfast Club.
If you’ve heard anything about The Breakfast Club, you’ll know it’s a bit of a London breakfast institution.
With a seriously cool & quirky interior the Breakfast Club is an all-day diner that everyone is just dying to get into – I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been past one and there not been queue outside. There are 7 branches in London & 1 in Brighton but rest assured this definitely is not a ‘chain’ place, in fact it’s actually a family affair and certainly has that homely feel.
As you can imagine this all makes for the ideal place to kick-start your day or I dunno, enjoy a mammoth breakfast and catch up with BAE.
Having cleverly reserved a table at the Spitalfield branch a few days earlier (I think Spitalfields is the only brekkie club you can book tables at) I pushed past the long queue of hungry non-bookers like some sorta a-lister / socialite who was ‘on the list’ (#soznotsoz, out of my way peasants *sassy girl emoji*) and was shown straight to my booth by the window.
I ordered a latte while I waited for my soul sister to arrived and not long after, a little, freckly, brown and beaming face popped up at the window and I felt my heart leap into my throat as I pointed her in the direction of the door.
HERE SHE IS!!!!!
Once inside we embraced like a couple of macaque monkeys (see THIS GIF to understand what I mean) and then sat back down grinning from ear to ear, eager to regale each other with hilarious tales from our time apart.
But you guys don’t care about all that do ya? Noooo y’all just wanna know what we ate…
Well after a month of Thai curries and chicken satay; Sam only had eyes for a good, old fashioned Full English or as TBC (were into abbreviations over here) refer to it, The Full Monty.
Eggs any way you want ‘em, bacon, sausage, baked beans, black pudding, mushrooms, grilled tomato, fried potatoes and toast. Yum.
As for me, I plumped for something a little more exotic and ohmygod all my fave ingredients in one dish – Huevos Al Benny – Classic Eggs Benedict with a Mexican twist.
Poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, roast peppers, chorizo, avocado and fresh chillies. Hubba hubba.
It was to die for. The ideal breakfast and the perfect start to our day.
But would you expect anything less from The Breakfast Club? Well no you wouldn’t.
If you haven’t been you need to immediately.
Even more so because they also do five, YES FIVE different types of pancakes one of which is the All American – eggs, sausage, streaky bacon, fried potatoes & maple syrup. Dayyyum.
And the rest of the menu ain’t too shabby either, check it out HERE.
The Soho branch is BYOB. Can I get a whoop a whoop.
(or it used to be – maybe double check before bowling in with a magnum of champs + 15 crates of beer yeah?)
The Spitalfields branch has a shhhh secret bar in it that is only accessible through a SMEG Fridge. Just go in and ask for the Mayor of Scardy Cat Town shhhhh.
I heart the BC. Really and truly. Check out their website here.
But enough gushing about them, we need to move onto the next part of the story….
So our bill came to about £25 all in. We paid up, I struggled to get out the door as we left which was embarrassing thanks to the queue of people watching me and then we walked, in the sunshine, to The Sky Garden.
The entrance to Sky Garden is around the back of Walkie Talkie (not actually what the building’s called that but apparently that’s what it looks like?!) and as I said it’s totally free to go in and have a nose around.
However, in order to visit you MUST book in advance. This is easily done online (click here) and apparently you get an hour slot for your visit but I don’t see how they can police that so really you can spend as long as you want up there.
We found the entrance and joined the small queue for security checks and because I’m a natural doofus this is when I realised I’d deleted the email with our booking confirmation on and also emptied my mailbox trash so I couldn’t even recover it. If someone would like to be my full time carer that would be just swell!
Luckily it didn’t matter. All we had to do was give our names to the nice lady at the desk and show her our ID – this is prob the most important thing to remember as you totes won’t get in without it…not even if all your friends have theirs and they tell security they’ll keep an eye you, you absolute rogue. Nah mate, soz you’re not coming in. So make sure you bring either your passport or driver’s license with you.
ID flashed we then went through the airport style security -and I panicked that I’d accidentally forgotten about an AK47 in my bag or a bit of kryptonite in my coat pocket as I do every time I walk through a metal detector.
(oh ghaaad I just accidentally typed mental instead of metal and have now been imagining for the past 20minutes that there was such a things as a mental detector and security could be like, soz love, you’re too batshit to come in here, Dave get the straight jacket out will ya? While you’re trying to act completely normal and not mental at all. Haha I mean IMAGINE. Absolute LOL or what?!…well at least I make myself laugh).
ANYWAY we breezed through security and got into the lift with about 5 other people where we then headed up to the 35th floor.
Exiting the lift and turning right, the first impression of The Sky Garden was amazing.
The floor to ceiling, panoramic windows, coupled with the incredible weather meant it was a really amazing space and view! Yes it does totally look like an airport but c’mon people love airports! I mean normally being at an airport means you’re off somewhere exciting and full of jolliday cheer so why wouldn’t you want to feel like that!
So in the Sky Garden there are three levels. On the first level (35th floor) is the main concourse and The Sky Pod bar where you can enjoy a bev, stretch out on a sofa and wrap yourself in a bright pink blanket if you’re feeling chilly…which you certainly might be.
You see, despite being technically ‘inside’ the Sky Garden feels a bit like it’s outside – i.e. pretty damn cold in January, so wrap up!
One level up from the Sky Pod Bar is the Darwin Brasserie which is open for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch & dinner. We peered in through the window and it looked very lovely albeit pretty empty. However it was only 11.30am so perhaps there was about to be a lunchtime rush!
And above the Darwin Brasserie is the Fenchurch Restaurant which only does lunch and dinner and looks like it’s a bit posh. (They do a tasting menu which is how I work out if somewhere is posh or not.)
Tbh, I’d be keen to try out all three places but having filled up on avocado, chorizo & eggs at TBC we obviously weren’t hungry so instead we did a 360 walk around the Sky Garden.
Pretty impressive huh?
You can see everything from Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge & the Shard to St Paul’s, The Eye and Wembley Arch in the distance and The Gherkin.
And once you’ve walked around you can pop outside to the viewing deck and take yet more pictures.
Oh London, ya beauty!
We eventually tore ourselves away from the view and sunshine and made our way back to the lift.
As we left lots more people seemed to be arriving and it felt a lot busier so I think timings wise we nailed it with a mid-morning visit!!
Afterwards I dragged my sister over to St Dunstan’s in the East. An old Parish church that was damaged during the Blitz and then not rebuilt.
It’s a cute hidden spot in the middle of the city, somewhere you can take a minute to sit and relax.
You can find it here if you want to escape the madness of the city for a bit.
As it was too cold to be outside we didn’t stay long, instead heading off in the direction of a bar! Where I had a tonic water. Yup. I was doing Dry-January you see, and you’ll be flabbergasted to know that I actually stayed on the wagon for the whole month. Go me!!
And that was that – mine & my sister’s reunion day! I think you’ll agree it was damn near perfectly planned and I honestly couldn’t have been more impressed with Sky Garden and our Breakfast Club munch.
Both are well worth a visit so make sure you add it to your ‘to do’ asap!
Thanks for reading!