1. One Fen Court EC3
Described in the Guardian as a "candy striped miracle on the London skies", the public roof garden at One Fen Court on Fenchurch Street exudes exclusivity despite its free public access. The feeling of standing inside the skyline (rather than above it) gives the terrace a special something - making you feel part of things rather than simply looking down on them.
2. Paternoster Square EC4
Adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral, bustling Paternoster Square is today unrecognisable from its former huddle of post-war office blocks. In 2003 Arup assembled a collective of leading architects including William Whitfield, Richard MacCormac and Allies & Morrison to reimagine the site.
Alongside its busy shops and cafes, the square hosts a street food market and regular ‘pop-up’ featured including a big screen and deck chairs for free public viewing of Wimbledon. The newest addition to the square is a mini golf course with London inspired putting greens. Definitely worth a lunch time visit!
3. Flat Iron Square SE1
In Bankside, just south of Southwark Bridge and Borough Market, Flat Iron Square occupies seven railway arches and a Grade II Listed former warehouse. There’s there is very little that doesn’t go on here, with an all-day garden, bars, restaurants, street food trucks, live music and weekend flea markets. The industrial surroundings are an evocative backdrop for lunch, drinks or dinner and there’s another big-screen opportunity for fans of tennis and football with showings of the Women’s World Cup and Wimbledon.
4. The Sky Garden EC3
Thirty-eight floors up, and occupying three storeys at the top of the Walkie Talkie, the Sky Garden’s open air terrace, observation decks and breathtaking 360° views of London are given a spectacular tropical lift with richly planted horticulture from the award-winning landscape architecture practice Gillespies. If you feel like a fresh start, you can join a 6:30am Sunrise Yoga class followed by breakfast in the sky. It’s a super-smart venue and you need to book your free ticket in advance, but the experience of London’s highest garden at the top of the City’s fifth tallest building is one that’s well worth planning for.
5. Festival Gardens
When it comes to views in the City there is little that can compete with a clear view of St Pauls Cathedral. The protective line of sight means that the Cathedral is visible 10 miles away from the highest point in Richmond Park but people from all over the world will travel much further than that to take in the view from Festival Gardens. After you walk past the Cathedral several times a day it is easy to take the historic landmark for granted. There is no better place to enjoy a quick lunch in the sun.