Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit ‘The View from the Shard‘, before its official opening to the general public on 1 February.
The View from the Shard is a two-level deck on floors 68 to 72 of the Shard, offering visitors with 360-degree views across the capital and beyond.
Every visit starts at the ground floor. While queuing, you can view a huge screen playing footage of London (then and now), and views from the Shard. Nearby, you will find a wall inscribed with quotes about London life – “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” (Samuel Johnson). Next you will see panels showing illustrations of famous Londoners at play in the capital, which includes: Boris Johnson polishing shoes and William and Kate as Pearly King and Queen. Expect to queue and wait for around 20-30 minutes.
After passing through the airport style security scanners, I was whisked up to the 68th floor. The lift experience was rather lovely, with ambient background music and video screens on the ceiling showing different weather seasons in London; in total the lift journey took about a minute or so.
Once I reached level 68, I took the stairs to the main viewing gallery on Level 69, the views of the capital were truly spectacular. London city was literally on full display. You can see 40 miles in every direction, but no, you cannot see France! I had clear views of Tower Bridge, the river Thames twisting through the city, the grounds of the Tower of London, the skyline of Canary Wharf, Wembley Stadium and its lattice arch, the London Eye, railway tracks snaking out of London Bridge, the endless movement of buses and cars, and so much more…
For a close up of the city, you can use the telescopes scattered around the viewing area. I really liked the digital telescopes with touch screens, as it allowed me to zoom in on points of interests, buildings and different areas. I managed to spot East Dulwich, thanks to Dawson’s Heights, towering above the area.
After admiring the view on level 69, I went up to the 72nd floor. It was an amazing experience to be up so high and open to the elements. You can feel the chill in the air as the wind whistled around the open-air on level 72. Moreover, the views were equally spectacular.
My Verdict: Well visiting The View from the Shard is quite expensive, but in line with other London attractions – a pre-booked full price adult ticket costs £24.95, while a child’s ticket costs £18.95. Or you can pay £100 per adult/child if you want to ascend straight away – a bit too steep! There’s also no time limit for your visit and you can hang around for as long as you wish. The real attraction for me was the view, without question, the Shard does offer one of the best views of London. I strongly recommend visiting the Shard on a clear day.
The View from the Shard has its official opening on Friday 1 February and from then on will be open from 9am to 10pm every day www.theviewfromtheshard.com.
(Images: Thanks to my fiancé!)