“When there’s hardly no day, Nor hardly no night,
There’s things half in shadow, And halfway in light,
On the rooftops of London, Coo, what a sight!”
The Baron has come over all Mary Poppins, all Chim Chiminey, after indulging in a night on the tiles and discovering that the best way to look at London is from its London Rooftops. And with green roofs and rooftop bars in vogue around the globe, London certainly does not come up short. The Baron’s highest recommendation is the city’s most skyscraping view, at Renzo Piano’s 87-storey, 1,000-feet high The Shard. This prodigious splinter beside London Bridge Station resembles a science-fiction cathedral spire, and presents a panorama from almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London. On the first weekend of every month, The View From The Shard stages the highest Silent Disco in town, a truly uplifting experience. Closer to the ground, but still with views fit for a baron, is the Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop bar at Shoreditch. From May to September visitors can enjoy the high life here – with cocktails, slushies, barbecue, and regular workshops including yoga, knitting and astronomy – while its Whirloscope carousel offered The Baron 360º panoramas without even having to twist his neck. The greenest rooftop, meanwhile, can be found at The Roof Gardens, 100 feet above Kensington High Street, which is also the nearest underground station. Sprawling over a breathtaking 1.5 acres, the rooftop is themed into Spanish Garden, Tudor Garden and English Woodland, and entry is free in the absence of private events. With over 70 trees, a fish-stocked stream and even resident flamingos – Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks – it is hard to believe you are walking above the traffic. There is a pop-up afternoon tea scheduled for 24 May, to celebrate Chelsea Flower Show, and fine dining available at the 7th floor Babylon restaurant. Another green champion is the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at the Southbank Centre. Designed by the Eden Project, and maintained by volunteer gardeners, it boasts allotments, fruit trees and a wild flower meadow, as well as food and drink to be enjoyed overlooking the Thames. From here, it’s a short walk across Hungerford Bridge and up to Vista, the rooftop bar perching atop the Trafalgar Hotel. Here the Baron raised a glass of champagne to English rugby victories while enjoying a pigeon’s-eye view of Trafalgar Square and looking Nelson square in the eye. For a final indulgence, the Rooftop Film Club is once again presenting cinema among the stars, with screenings of classics, cult films and new releases atop the Queen of Hoxton, The Roof Gardens, and the Bussey Building at Peckham Rye. Viewers can enjoy classic and cult films, plus new releases. Wireless headphones replace city noise with soundtrack, and viewers lie back in deck chairs beneath blankets to experience the luxury of watching the big screen against the bigger backdrop of the London skyline and the night sky.
Having indulged in just a few of London’s many high spots, The Baron was delighted to return to his own: enjoying the exceptional views across the treetops to Marble Hill House from his eyrie in the panoramic Hill View Loft at the serviced apartments of 20 The Barons. Coo, what a sight!