The View from the Shard

London Highlife – The Shard Opens:

I’m leaving because the weather is too good.  I hate London when it’s not raining

Groucho Marx

The Shard opens its doors to the public on 1st February 2013.  And, visitors will be treated to an unparalleled view of London, from 244m, the highest vantage point from any building in Western Europe.  But, right in the heart of London so that visitors can enjoy a 360 degree view across the City, from the Thames Barrier to Wembley.

the shard - outside

From a relatively inconspicuous entrance on Joiner Street (until you look up), you are thrown into a London lifestyle experience.  Yes, you have to queue to collect your tickets, but in an area that introduces you to the essence of the City.

the shard - security


And, as you go through security checks on your way to the lifts, you might just recognise some of the faces along the way.  It’s quirky urban street culture, grown-up and polished and despite the apparent contradiction,  it worked, at least for me!

the shard - security entrace

The lifts themselves are an experience, travelling at six metres a  second, my ears popped on the way up.  And, when you reach the 68th floor, you can enjoy London as you’ve never seen it before.

the shard - HMS victory

I particularly liked the ‘intelligent’ telescopes, which hold a comprehensive database of London sights, so you can find out more about the buildings you find as you walk around the viewing area as well as zooming in on the ant-like figures you see milling around the streets of London.  They make the Shard a must visit attraction for newcomers in London, if only to gain a sense of orientation.

the shard - telescope 1

We arrived on a rather grey winter’s afternoon and I was concerned that the view wouldn’t be astonishing for that reason alone.  In fact, visability was fine despite the weather and I found the landmark near my own home in Earls Court and some rather more famous places too (the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace etc.)

the shard - 72nd floor


There are semi-open viewing areas on the 72nd floor which is the highest habitable level of the building.  The surrounding glass means that you will stay warm and dry, whatever the weather. but there is a real sense of ‘being outdoors…particularly if you look up to the top of the building and open skies.

the shard - inside

the shard - st pauls

And as night falls, for me at least, the view becomes quite magical.

the Shard - Canary Wharf

Something everyone should experience…I’d recommend a sunset or sunrise viewing slot so that you see the City lights in all their glory.  Over the next few months, the Shard’s 95 Stories will become a vertical city  with office spaces, restaurants and 10 penthouse flats, as well as the public viewing areas on the top floors and the five star Shangri-La Hotel.

The View from the Shard opens on 1st February. Tickets are £24,95 for adults and £18.95 for children bookable in advance from

The View From the Shard

Joiner Street
London Bridge Station
London SE1 9RL

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    • says

      yes agreed jess…it has to be done at least once. I’m waiting for the restaurants too, it’s a great location on the edge of the thames, so even though the restaurants are on the 33rd floor I suspect they will still have rather a special view!

  1. says

    Great pictures! Great experience! So far, of course, I have seen the Shard just from the outside … and there was also a lot of work still being done.

    • says

      honestly unexpected for me…it was on my ‘I should do this’ list rather than ‘I really want to’. And, I’d now recommend it to anyone. Imagine living there! There will be apartments from floor 52-62 I think!

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