The View From The Shard is the newest and largest London tourist attraction, due to open to the public on 1 February 2013 with tickets priced at £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children. Essential Travel had the opportunity for a sneak preview to get a feel for what it's like and what everyone can expect. You can see pictures of our visit at the bottom of the page taken by Sebastian Barros.
The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe, standing at 309.6 metres high (to be exact). The building is a hub for London, containing offices, an exclusive collection of residences (the highest homes in Europe), a 5-star Shangri-La Hotel and Spa, restaurants and the highest viewing gallery in Western Europe. The Shard was designed to be an elegant shape against the sky, and then to disappear into it almost seemlessly, something that we think they've definitely achieved.
To quote William Matthews, the Project Architect, when he was comparing The Shard to other large buildings in London; "The Shard is such a significant building that everyone should get to go to the top of it, unlike many other buildings currently". And that's exactly what is now available. The Shard is set to be the biggest London tourism attraction to date.
Upon arrival at the building you're instantly impressed with the sheer scale and enormity of it. Without being negative about London, my city, things like this don't normally get built here.
As you begin your trip to The Shard and start to move towards the lifts, you're met with murals of over 140 new and old London icons, which act as a playful juxtaposition that helps to build anticipation of the view. The lifts travel at 6 metres per second from the ground until you reach level 33. You then enter another lift to make the final journey to level 68; all in all taking around 60 seconds to reach the highest viewing platform in Western Europe.
From there it's just a short walk up a staircase to Floor 69, out into the (hopefully) glorious sunshine, and then you're met with one of the most fantastic views imaginable. Without meaning to be cliché, it's take-your-breath-away stuff.
You can walk around and enjoy the indoor space and views or make the final climb to Floor 72, the very top of the viewing platform, and into the open-air area (bring a coat). At the very top viewing platform you really get the feel of being outside and exposed. This helps to bring with it the realisation of just how high you actually are, a truly remarkable expereince .
Fortunately you can spend as long as you like at the top; because I didn't want to leave. Watching London just continuing whilst you're at the top of this viewing spectacular is just incredible and you could comfortably spend the afternoon at the top enjoying it.
For a final tip to really make sure that you make the most of your experience, visit the bathrooms on Floor 68. They're something truly unique, but that's all we're giving away!
Take a look at the pictures below for the full experience:
For enquiries about the use of these images, or to speak to the man behind them, please get in touch with Sebastian Barros.more blog posts