The Gherkin: Open House Weekend

The Gherkin: Open House Weekend Wrap-Up

The Gherkin was one of the buildings I first connected with when I moved to London. Completed in 2003 at a cost of £130m, alongside Tower 42 the Gherkin boldly stood out of the known skyline, a skyline which now seems littered with skyscrapers with nicknames of inanimate objects such as the ‘Cheesegrater’ and ‘Walkie Talkie’.  London’s skyline has the ‘Boomerang’ and ‘Scalpel’ to look forward to next.


What is so special about the Gherkin?

Tower of London from Gherkin
View of Tower of London from Gherkin

Perhaps it is due to it being London’s first ecological tall building, or indeed it’s instantly recognisable phallic shape. No matter what it’s endearing qualities the Gherkin is still a ‘must-do’ on many Open Houses attendees. With both the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines down, I needed extra skill in getting to the Gherkin during a thunderstorm without getting too wet. “That will keep them away” I thought merrily to myself as I scurried through the streets of Clerkenwell. Boy, was I wrong.


How long are the queues for the Gherkin on Open House Weekend?

When I reached the gherkin it was 08:30 and there already was a queue round the corner down to 80 Leadenhall St. By 09:45 we had moved down to 107 Leadenhall St, past a rather inconveniently closed Caffe Nero; a missed opportunity me thinks. Only one hour of queuing left! I queued for a total of 2.5hrs. When I left the gherkin I did notice the queue looping round itself, significantly longer than when I had joined it two and half hours before.

After regaling my experience to a few victims/ friends they all asked the same thing “Was it worth it?” To zoom up 34 stories in 31 seconds is an experience in itself, with 360 panorama views of the city I fall in love with every year and to tick off an item on my bucket list the answer for me was an unequivocal ‘yes’. Just make sure you arrive early and are prepared for a long wait in any weather.

More pictures from the Gherkin and Unilever House

Hazel Baker is a qualified CIGA Tour Guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.


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