*Disclaimer - we were given complimentary tickets in exchange for sharing an honest review*
There's no doubt about it, Battersea Power Station is one of the most iconic landmarks on London's skyline. From the 1930s to the 1980s it was a working power station which supplied 20% of all London's electricity needs. In 1980 the building was listed for protection, but for over 30 years it remained empty. In the 1970s there was concern about the pollution and air quality due to burning coal so in 1975 station A was closed and in 1983 station B was terminated. Now Battersea Power Station has undergone an extensive renovation which includes shops, restaurants, a cinema and Lift 109.
The four iconic chimneys that Battersea is so famous for underwent restoration between 2015 and 2017 using the same methods which were used to build the original chimneys. The Power Station reopened its revamped doors this Autumn of 2022.
Inside Battersea Power Station's northwest chimney is a cylindrical glass elevator, that takes you 109 metres above sea level and peeks out of the top of the chimney giving you 360-degree-views of London. The lift can take 16 - 20 people per ride and your experience includes a multi-media exhibition which tells you all about the history of Battersea Power Station.
Getting to Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station can be reached a number of ways. You are probably best off going on public transport. If you are using the London underground you can take the Northern Line to the new Battersea Power Station stop or if you are coming by train Battersea Park station is around a 10 minute walk away. We drove and parked at Circus West Village underground car park. It cost us £5 for around 2 hours but you are right on the doorstep of the power station which was a bonus on a rainy day.
Lift 109 is accessed from Turbine Hall A, there are plenty of staff around inside the power station who can point you in the right direction. When you book your tickets you are given an arrival time. You will have to go through a security check before having your tickets scanned.
Whilst you are waiting for your turn, there is an exhibition with an interactive touch screen and displays showing a lot about the history of Battersea including valves and machinery. There are also QR codes which you can scan on your phone to learn more. You will be grouped together with a maximum of 20 people before being offered a green screen photo (we didn't do this) then you are led into an immersive room whilst a guide talks you through some facts and history, the walls are interactive with whirling lights, which "generate energy" whilst you walk around. We were told that 6 million bricks were used in the original building of the power station among plenty of other interesting facts.
Next your group will be split into 2 small lifts which take you to the 12th floor which leads to a short spiral staircase. It all seems very futuristic, with colourful lights and shapes. There is then a short wait to enter the glass elevator. It is a large glass cylinder with a seating area in the centre. As the lift rises, red and yellow spiral lights glow and then suddenly, pop, you will emerge from the top of the chimney with full 360 degree views across London. There are icons around the edge of the lift pointing out all of the London landmarks. We went up after 4.00pm in the winter, so it was already dark and it was raining. But the views of London lit up including Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland were spectacular.
You get to spend about 10 minutes viewing London from a great height in Lift 109 but all in all the whole experience lasted about 45 minutes. You will then descend back to the 12th floor and exit through a gift shop.
Battersea Power Station is basically now a huge shopping mall, the shops are high-end style, so all out of our price range, but the architecture inside is pretty impressive. As we visited before Christmas there is a Christmas tree, the Glide ice rink outside, including a carousel and some food stalls and of course you can take a stroll by the Thames.
After passing Battersea Power Station on the train since I was a child it was amazing to actually go inside for the first time. We had our 14 year old and 11 year old with us, both of them really enjoyed the whole experience and I think it is well worth doing when you are next in town.
Tickets for Lift 109 start at £15.90 for adults and £11.50 for children (under 15).
Battersea Power Station, Circus Road West, Nine Elms, London SW8 5BN