I wasn’t one of the first eager visitors to witness ‘The View from The Shard’ and I have to admit at first the building didn’t really appeal to me. I felt like there was a lot of hype for a new addition to the London skyline that I actually didn’t find that attractive. However time has passed and I decided I did want to see the view from The Shard and in fact it’s a building that we should be proud to have in London.
We paid for our tickets online, because it’s £5 cheaper than buying on the day (adult 16+ £29.95) and I wanted to avoid any potential long queues. FYI, there were NO queues and I went at a peak time on a sunny Sunday. When you purchase online you receive a link to a PDF of your ticket which you must print to take with you on the day of your visit. You choose an alloted time to go but once you’re at the top, you can stay for however long you wish.
We chose to have our viewing at 4.30pm so we could see the views in daylight and then watch the sunset. The website even has a helpful link to show you a calendar of the upcoming weeks and the sunset times for each day. This seemed like a popular time to visit but as long you arrive a little earlier, it’s not too busy and you should still get a chance to stand right by the windows and get all the photos that you want.
Once you have passed through the entrance of The Shard, your tickets are checked and you must go through a security section before a member of staff directs you to the elevator. The elevator is extremely fast and takes you firstly to the 68th floor, you can then advance to the 72nd floor, the highest floor of The Shard offering supposedly the best view of London.
Some highlights from the view include The London Eye, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, Big Ben, and the cluster of skyscrapers; The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater and The Walkie Talkie. Another addition to the fantastic views are the touchscreen telescopes which allow you to zoom in on LIVE areas and even select specific buildings at which point the name of that building pops up on the screen and with another touch, you can read information all about it. There are also features enabling you to see the view in night time mode as well as sunset/sunrise modes.
As well as taking your own photos at the top of The Shard, there are walkabout photographers taking photos of guests which can be developed and bought as souvenirs before you leave, although I think they are pretty pricey. We were approached by a photographer who asked to take a photo of my boyfriend and I so we obliged and thought it was no big deal, just one photo. We didn’t realise this particular photographer was about to turn one photo into some sort of shoot where he took multiple shots and told us how to pose for each one. It was super embarrassing and at the point he told me to look out and point at the London Bridge in awe by adding ‘show me the finger’ I couldn’t take any more! I was just giggling and told him that we’d had enough photos taken and he seemed annoyed that I was ending his photo shoot. Unfortunately he was very annoying and I didn’t see any other photographers behaving like him with other people that night, but it’s a funny story to tell at least!
My only reservation I had was that I think I imagined The Shard having their highest floor with open air, meaning when you take your photographs you don’t have to struggle getting the angle just right to try and avoid window reflections. The top floor is open in a sense that you feel the cool air above you but you are completely surrounded by windows.
Overall, I think I was pleasantly surprised by the views from The Shard. Most of my photographs turned out okay after choosing the best of the bunch and making a few tweeks here and there. The reason I now believe we should be proud to have the The Shard in London is because it’s not only the tallest skyscraper in London, but also in the whole of Western Europe. The Shard is the Eiffel Tower of London, it is the Empire State of London, it is now one of our top landmarks and is an amazing observation point for tourists to view this incredible city and even the people that live here to remember what a great capital city we have.
A few details:
Website – http://www.theviewfromtheshard.com/
Prices – Adult 16+ £29.95 – Child 4-15 £23.95 (Remember save £5 by buying online)
For adults aged 18+ there is an option to buy a ticket with a glass of champagne included ;).
Nearest tube station – London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines)