The View from the Shard

March 26, 2014

At the top of Western Europe’s tallest building, and London’s newest landmark, The View from the Shard offers spectacular 360° views over London for up to 40 miles.

Designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano, the Shard redefines London’s skyline and has become a dynamic symbol of London. At a height of 1016ft or 310m, it is a vertical city of high-quality offices, world-renowned restaurants, the 5-star Shangri-La hotel, exclusive residential apartments and the capital’s highest viewing gallery, The View from The Shard.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting this newest iconic building with a group of Russian customers and thought it would be a perfect blog post to describe my experience.

You should ideally book in advance using their website www.theviewfromtheshard.com as time slots can easily sell out on busier days. Prices are also slightly cheaper (currently £24.95 in advance verses £29.95 on the day). I was fortunate because I booked 51 tickets for our group I was able to get a 10% discount on the advance price, a significant saving on the total cost.

Our allocated time slot was for 11.30 on the 27th February and you have to ensure you are there on time or risk losing your chance to go to the top.

We arrived by coach and the nearest coach parking is outside Southwark Crown Court which is a three minute walk away, the nearest underground station is London Bridge.

Upon entering the building I collected our tickets from the front desk and passed them out to the group. You then need to go through security, much the same way as you would at an airport. You walk through a metal detector and you need to empty everything out of your pockets and take your jacket off for it to pass through the x-ray machine. Once this is done you move on and have a photograph against a green screen (you photo will be waiting for you when you come back down with a hefty price tag attached).

You then board the first of two lifts which take you to the top. At a speed of 6 metres per second it does not take long to stop at the elevator interchange where we swop lifts. The lifts are an experience in themselves with lcd walls and roof to project images on as you travel, my ears also popped at the altitude.

Once you get out on the 69th floor you are greeted by floor to ceiling windows with a view that overlooks all of London. From this floor you can see all the iconic buildings such at the Tower of London, London Eye, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin and even as far as the Olympic Park. If your eyesight is not up to scratch you can use the  state-of-the-art interactive touchscreen telescopes to explore the views in greater detail, with information about 200 landmarks in 10 languages and alternative day, night, sunrise and sunset views.

Once you have seen everything on this floor you can ascend to Level 72, the open-air viewing gallery, here you can gaze up to the very top of the building as the shards of glass that form the spire disappear into the sky. You are also exposed to the elements, so you can take in the atmosphere and sounds of the city. It is the same view as the lower floor just from a little higher.

Once you have seen everything it is time to go back down. Near the elevator on floor 68 is the Sky Boutique the highest shop in London, it is quite small but has a number of things that would make a nice souvenir.

I then descend in the same lifts that I came up with and again the lcd panels display a kaleidoscope of imagery. You come out in a very large souvenir gift shop that has every conservable thing you could want related to the Shard, after a quick look around I then leave the building through a revolving door. 

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