April 25, 2022|
3 min read
We all know that rain is part of London. However, when spring arrives, and the sun comes out, London’s rooftop gardens bloom and become the best places to enjoy the good weather with family and friends. Sitting in the sun while appreciating stunning cityscape views is a unique experience in London, but definitely one worth exploring.
Luckily, the city offers many green spaces that allow us to enjoy nature without having to go to the countryside, from royal parks to local spots, secret gardens, and the special rooftop gems. Rooftop gardens have also become an important element of sustainable architecture. They improve water and air quality, increase the city’s biodiversity, and reduce stress for those who work there or visit. Whether it’s to enjoy the view, feel the fresh air or have a unique date, nothing compares to a rooftop! Read on to discover some of London’s best and most secret rooftops.
1. Sky Garden
A must if you haven’t been yet! Sky Garden is at 20 Fenchurch Street, and in addition to a bar and restaurant, live music, yoga classes, and incredible views of the city, Sky Garden features a garden by award-winning landscape architecture practice Gillespies. With a variety of drought-resistant Mediterranean and South African species combined with a multitude of colours, this design brings harmony and peace to the space all year round.
Among the flowering plants are African Lily (Agapanthus), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) and Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) – alongside fragrant herbs such as French Lavender. The sky garden features three green floors where you can enjoy an incredible and unforgettable evening.
2. Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens
Is it possible to find a green place to get away from the everyday stresses in the heart of the city? It is in London! Located right in the city centre and next to the Thames, you will find the Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens. Overlooking The Shard, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can enjoy the city in a calm atmosphere, surrounded by greenery and a luxurious, award-winning glass marquee that provides an inspiring and unique setting for any event.
A huge outdoor space with miraculous views of London, the entire area is planted with grass and shrubs, creating a surprisingly green idyll. In 2004, the garden won the Denys Hodder Shield for the best commercial venue, awarded by the trustees of London in Bloom. It is now an ideal venue for corporate events, company hospitality events, product launches and client entertainment.
This building, owned by Japanese financial services company Nomura Group, is London’s first carbon-neutral building. The 11-storey building houses a rooftop garden, where a variety of flowers and plants, as well as organic vegetables, are grown. These plants attract insects and pollinators, in turn, attracingt birds, including some rare species. This roof has become one of the few biodiverse green roofs in London.
It also houses exploited beehives, and employees can also participate in honey harvesting workshops, where they help harvest, filter and bottle the honey, and can also take part in the ‘Adopt a Bee’ programme. A fantastic idea to take care of our planet even in the industrial city.
The Roof garden is situated on the 15th floor of the building at 10 Fenchurch Avenue in the City of London. All the plants grow in a continuous layer that extends below the hard surface areas and also forms the subsoil for the paving. It is a purely mineral substrate composed of lava, pumice tuff and zeolite tuff, which has high water and nutrient holding capacity. A beautiful space where vines cover the walls and Wisteria ‘Trees’ grow on the steel pergola canopies folding across the roof garden at a high level.
The building has shops and restaurants, making it a perfect way to spend the day and finish by enjoying the spectacular London Skyline.
This rooftop at 40 Commercial Street grows vegetables and herbs which are then used in its onsite restaurant. Salad leaves and herbs grow in in the garden all year round and are complemented by courgettes, beans, tomatoes, chillies, aubergines and some root vegetables in summer. So, if you decide to visit this garden and restaurant you will most likely end up tasting some cultivated produce. They grow with mushroom compost (reused from mushroom farms) mixed with horse manure and topsoil. Another fun fact is that they also use worms to create liquid food from kitchen scraps to maintain soil fertility.
It is certainly an awareness-raising initiative, which also allows you to enjoy quality, local food. There is the option to volunteer if you wish and contribute to the cause!
The incorporation of urban rooftop gardens is one of the initiatives that green cities are adopting to follow a more sustainable path and also to beautify cities with stunning public places. Not only do they counteract carbon emissions and reduce the city’s dependence on water. They also become an incredible place to spend the afternoon surrounded by nature and can help reduce stress. Have you already enjoyed the incredible views from one of these recommended rooftops? Discover more places to visit in the city by checking out our Conscious London blog category.