The Gherkin

City of London


The Gherkin

30 St Mary Axe
The City of London
+44 (0)20 7071 5008


Get up close to The Gherkin, one of the City of London's most recognisable pieces of architecture.

What is The Gherkin?

The Gherkin, otherwise known as 30 St Mary Axe, is one of the capital's most famous buildings. It's a feature of the London skyline and home to offices, a restaurant and a cocktail bar.

Why is it called The Gherkin?

The distinctive landmark got its nickname due to its round, vegetable-like design.

Who designed The Gherkin and when was it built?

The glass-fronted tower was designed by legendary British architect Sir Norman Foster. It took two years to construct and features a distinctive spiral design. The Gherkin opened in 2004.

How tall is The Gherkin?

The Gherkin is 180 metres (591ft) tall. Towering 41 floors above the City of London, The Gherkin looks magnificent at any time of the day, but it’s particularly dazzling when lit up at night.

Where is 30 St Mary Axe?

The Gherkin is found in the City of London’s financial district, close to Leadenhall Market, The Monument and the Bank of England Museum.

There are 12 London bus routes serving the area around 30 St Mary Axe. It can also be reached by Tube via Liverpool Street station or Aldgate and Bank Underground stations.

Can you go inside The Gherkin?

The Gherkin isn’t normally open to the public but you can visit Helix restaurant and Iris bar, which are located on the top floors and have amazing panoramic views across the City of London.

You can also can step inside the iconic building during special events such as Open House London. This event is extremely popular, so make sure to enter the ballot for entrance to 30 St Mary Axe.

Learn all about the tower during a walking tour, including the The City of London Tour or the skyscrapers and sculpture route of the City of London Visitor Trail.

What is The Gherkin used for?

The Gherkin is a private office building, which is home to several large businesses.

What’s at the top of The Gherkin?

The top floors of The Gherkin tower include Helix and Iris, a panoramic restaurant and bar both open to the public. There you can enjoy sophisticated cocktails and contemporary British cuisine, while taking in the uninterrupted views of London.

The Gherkin facts

  • Despite its shape, the lens at the very top of the tower is the only piece of curved glass used in The Gherkin.
  • There are 18 passenger lifts which travel at speeds of up to six metres (20ft) per second.
  • There are 1,037 steps in each of The Gherkin building’s stairwells.
  • 30 St Mary Axe is covered in 24,000 sq m (2,200 sq ft) of glass, which equates to five football pitches.
  • The Gherkin building is constructed from more than 35km (21 miles) of steel, weighing a total of 10,000 tonnes.