The Gherkin

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
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St Mary Axe is an insignificant street named after a vanished church that is said to have contained an axe used by Attila the Hun to behead English virgins. It is now known for Lord Foster's 30 St Mary Axe, arguably London's finest contemporary building. The building is known as 'the Gherkin' (and, occasionally, more suggestive nicknames) for reasons that are obvious. On curved stone benches either side of 30 St Mary Axe are inscribed the 20 lines of Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay's 'Arcadian Dream Garden', a curious counterpart to Lord Foster's popular tower. The building is closed to the public apart from very occasionally during events such as Open House London when it is, understandably, a red-hot ticket.


For Open House London 2014, the Gherkin will be open on Saturday September 20 and Sunday September 21, 8am-3pm. Make sure you bring photo ID and be prepared for high security, including bag and body scans. There may also be long queues but there will be an organised system in place allowing groups of 30 people to be admitted every ten minutes for a maximum of twenty minutes. Visitors will have access to the foyer and the top of the domed building.


Venue name: The Gherkin
Address: 30 St Mary Axe
Transport: Tube: Bank/Liverpool St
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David M

Been lucky enough to visit the bar in this awesome building. The 360 degree views from there are simply mindblowing!

Sarah F

Let us not forget that this amazing building is 10 years old this year and yet still the place so recognizable it is marked on every map and features in almost everything on TV & movies. It is iconic and precious to locals and tourists alike but the fact that it is closed to the public just adds to its mystical charm. There are many more sky scrapers in the city now, including the tallest in Europe (The Shard) yet this shiny little number is still the one that people come to see in all its splendor on a daily basis. Standing underneath and looking up the flawless reflective side of the building is quite simply breathtaking, a photographers dream. Fun fact: Believe it or not, there is only one actual curved piece of glass on the whole structure, which is at the very tip! If you ever get the honor of going to the bar at the top with its 360 degree view of London, or indeed inside at all then you can see the other magical qualities it possesses also including cut outs of floors, lots of artwork everywhere you look and the circular floor layouts.. Just marvelous.