• KH

The View from the Shard

Having lived in London for over a year now, The Shard has become a regular sight during my day to day life here. In a city where high rises have been minimal until recently, The Shard handsomely stands out from its smaller neighbouring buildings.

I’d been up to the Shangri-La Hotel on the 34th Floor of The Shard which has a lovely view and never thought more about going to the top, but since moving to our new apartment which is shadowed behind The Shard I had been admiring it every day as I walked over London Bridge and wondered what the view from the top would be like.

We decided to go to the 72nd floor on a cloudy Saturday. I wished to see both daytime, sunset and nighttime so 5:00 pm seemed like a desirable time.

As The Shard is a major attraction in London, there was a large queue to get in to the ticket stands inside. Thankfully as we had our tickets waiting already waiting inside we were able to skip the line, pick up our tickets and make our way through security.

The average elevator speed is 6 meters per second, which makes it a speedy journey to the top. If you are afraid of heights, this elevator is not glass meaning you can hardly feel yourself travelling 68 floors above.

Once on the 68th floor you need to walk the remainder to the 72nd. There is an accessible lift for people who require it though the stairs were manageable for others.

The 72nd floor is the Open Air Viewing Platform. Seeing as there is no roof you can feel the temperature as it is outside. There is a bar on the 72nd and 69th floors and there were many people all dolly-ed up for the occasion. If this was a special occasion and we had come from out of town we perhaps would have purchased a drink, but in my opinion £16-£20 is too expensive as we live in the area.

Despite it being a cloudy evening (not abnormal for autumn in London) the 360 degrees still remained spectacular. We walked around, took photos and waited for the day to turn into night. There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend up there during opening hours.

Seeing Tower Bridge lighting up during our time made me happy. I just love that bridge so much! St Paul’s Cathedral stood out amongst its neighbouring grey buildings. The London Eye was to the west, Canary Wharf towards the east and The City of London straight north of us allowing you to see a huge majority of London’s architectural sights in one evening.

The only semi-annoying thing during the evening was that like us, others had waited for the sun to set and after we had all enjoyed the sights of the evening the queue to the elevators to get back down were packed. It took us almost 15 minutes to get into an elevator but seeing as we were in no hurry to get anywhere it was no bother.

Would I recommend paying £25 per adult to go to the top? Definitely! It was a one-time thing that I will most likely not do again. I can only imagine how stunning the views would be during a clear day. I only wish we had brought our camera instead we had to make do with our iPhones.

Some facts about The Shard

  • The Shard is 306 meters tall, however if you measure all the way to the tip it is 310 meters

  • It is the tallest building in the UK and Western Europe

  • The View from The Shard ascends to 244 meters which allows for 360 degree views of London up to 40 miles (64 kms) on a clear day

  • The average lift speed in The Shard is 6 meters per second

  • The Shard's construction began in March 2009, it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012

  • Renzo Piano is the mastermind architect of The Shard

  • Over 10,000 panes of glass were used to glaze The Shard.

  • There are over 300 flights of stairs, over 40 lifts (elevators) and the total floor space is more than 25 acres.

  • Most of the materials used to build the skyscraper have been recycled.

Let me know about your trip to The Shard, would you like to go to the top?