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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Sky Garden at the Walkie Talkie, London

I hadn't heard of the SkyGarden until someone mentioned it recently on the Europe forum over at Fodors but I had heard about the Walkie Talkie building it's housed in. This is the building that reflected the sun right onto someone's Jaguar and burnt the paint. A classic fail for the car, the architect and the developers. The Brits love a failure and it was immediately dubbed the Walkie Scorchie. Now, sometime later it has undergone an expensive modification and is no longer a danger to the local cars and shops.

So what about this garden then? Well as part of the permission for the development, the owners promised a public garden on top of the building. So, here is where you can get your tickets ...
The mention of tickets lets you know this isn't like a stroll around Hyde Park. The experience isn't about the garden, it's about the view. You have to bring your tickets, photo id and pass through airport style security before you even make it to the lift. Then you head up 35 floors which is surprisingly quick and you come out in what looks exactly like an airport lounge. Sadly the hostesses at the cafe(who are right there when you emerge from the lift) are standing on a green shag rug, I think it's meant to be a playful reference to grass, but it just looks rather sad, like a scary overgrown bathmat!

Don't get too excited, the "garden" isn't nearly as nice as the greenery in the Singapore airport, in facts it's quite pathetic. The whole place has the feeling of the public space in a shopping mall. But don't worry it's not about all that, it's about what you can see when you look out. 
Ohh, the view is glorious and  you can walk right around the building to get a 360 degree view of London. From here you can see its of the new buildings and it's a great place if you're an architecture buff. There is an open viewing deck on one side (where they carefully monitor people as they go in and out) with an incredible view over the Thames, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. From this height you can rally appreciate the curves in the Thames. You can see it all, Canary Wharf, the Shard, St Pauls, the Barbican, the London Eye and Westminster in the distance, well D. could see that but I couldn't because I'd left my binocs at home! Here is St Paul's seen through the reflection and a closeup of the Tower.
So, not impressed with the interior or the garden but the view is just spectacular and it's free which is always fab.