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The Gherkin - London's Egg Shaped Building

Updated: December 12, 2022
 By Margaret

This post will provide information about one of the most interesting buildings in London, the Gherkin, often referred to as the egg or bullet building.

We include details about what you can expect to see here, the restaurant on-site, and the viewing area.

Let's get started!


One of the most recognizable parts of London’s skyline, The Gherkin captured world attention when it opened in the early 2000s.

Officially named 30 St. Mary Axe, the building has become known by its more popular moniker, “The Gherkin” because of its supposed resemblance to that particular food. 

On the top floor – the 40th, in fact – there is a bar for workers and their guests, providing a panoramic view of London. There is also a restaurant on the 29th floor and private dining facilities on the 38th.

Although it’s not currently open to the public, many visitors like to head to the Gherkin for photographs and to see it in person.


Even though the Gherkin isn’t technically open for business (or really being used for much right now), there is still a restaurant called Helix on the 39th floor.

Alternatively, you can also visit the Iris bar on the very top floor!

While most fine dining establishments are pretty expensive, the Helix offers a variety of deals throughout the year.

At the moment, they are offering 3 courses for £42.

While it’s possible to get reservations within a day or two, there are times when it could take up to a week for a spot to open up.

With that in mind, we recommend reserving your spot at either the bar or restaurant well ahead of time.

If you plan to visit the bar, you can expect to pay as little as £8-£13 for drinks.

When compared to ticket prices for the view from the Shard, it’s easy to see how you could actually save money by going to the bar. 

That said, it should be noted that the Shard also has several restaurants and bars you can visit without paying for access to the observation deck.

The View from Searcy's

Each of these locations offers fantastic views of the city in addition to excellent food and drinks.

The major difference between this viewing location and others in London is that you will have to make reservations ahead of time in order to visit. 

This photo of Searcys at The Gherkin is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It should be noted that at 40 stories high, the Gherkin isn’t quite as tall as the Shard.

Although you may enjoy a better view with the opportunity to see more from that observation deck, there are still a few good reasons to choose this location instead.

For one thing, the Gherkin is surrounded by a lot of notable buildings in the area, ensuring you’ll have plenty to see from the top of the structure.

As a matter of fact, there is a relatively unobstructed view of the Shard!

Another excellent reason to consider visiting is the unique perspective, as the design of the Gherkin ensures an almost unobstructed 360-degree view of the city and the sky above.


About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: December 12th, 2022
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