An imaginative roof garden has opened on the 15th floor of a just-built office block at 120 Fenchurch St in the City. It’s free for the public to visit and unlike the nearby Sky Garden at the WalkieTalkie, you don’t have to book in advance - just turn up.
A striking water feature runs through it, and there are plenty of wooden benches, popular at lunchtime with office workers. (Bring your own sandwiches, though there will soon be a restaurant one floor down.) The pergola that covers the central area is designed to be smothered in wisteria in early summer - dozens of vines have been planted to grow up the struts. There are also fruit trees, just coming in to blossom at time of writing.
A lot of thought has gone into the planting, ensuring that there will be an ever-changing display of seasonal colour.
The garden covers the entire roof, some 2,800 sq m, and has 360° views that range from the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie to St Paul's and Tower Bridge.
When you exit the lift on the way out, it’s worth stopping for a few moments to admire the digital art installation on the ceiling of the entrance hall (below), with stunning moving images, mostly taken from nature.
The building, One Fen Court, is designed by Eric Parry Architects on behalf of the insurance company Generali. The garden can accommodate just over 200 people at once, so while access should usually be fast, there may be some queues, especially on a sunny lunchtime. It's open Mon - Fri 1000 – 2100 in summer, 1000 to 1830 in winter (October 1 to March 31). This live link shows how many people are actually there: