The View from The Shard | Review

The Shard is a 1,016 feet high, 72-storey skyscraper in London and currently holds the distinction of being the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Construction of the tower began in 2009 and 'The View from The Shard', which is an observation deck on the 72nd floor, was opened to the public in 2013.  

The View from The Shard

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Since its opening, The View from the Shard has become one of the most popular attractions in London. And in this post, I will share all the information you would need to plan a visit to this top London attraction.

The Shard

Designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano whose other notable works include Nemo Science Centre in Amsterdam, Kansai International Airport in Osaka and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Shard is a glass-clad pyramidal tower of exceptional design. The 72-storey skyscraper houses office complexes, a few residential apartments, three restaurants, a five-star hotel (Shangri-La Hotel) and the UK's highest viewing gallery, The View from The Shard.

Getting to The Shard

The Shard is located at 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG.

The most convenient and the easiest way to get to The Shard is by tube/train. The building is located a few minutes' walk away from London Bridge Station (Southern and South Eastern trains) and London Bridge Underground Station (Jubilee and Northern lines). The station exits have signs directing you to The Shard. It takes just minutes to get to the building from the train station.

There are other ways, as well, to get to The Shard. You could take a bus (there is a bus station right outside the main entrance of the London Bridge Station), arrive by car (you will have to park at nearby privately owned car parks as there is no parking on-site), get a taxi or walk (if you are based locally).

Tickets for The View from The Shard

Tickets can be purchased on the day of your visit or in advance. The latter is recommended as the prices are cheaper than buying tickets on the day of visit and also ensure guaranteed entry.

Differnet ticket types are available like Standard, Premium (fast track access, guidebook and 4 x souvenir digital photos included) and Ultimate (fast track access, guidebook and 4 x souvenir digital photos, private lift to the top, reserved table and drinks included).

You can view the latest prices here.

If you shop around, you will also find best price deals on many sites. For e.g. Buyagift has a 'The View from The Shard for Two' experience which at the time of writing this post is available at a discounted rate of £38 (was £64). Included in the experience are flexible entry tickets to The View from The Shard for two. There is no need to pre-book with this voucher – simply check the availability before you travel to The View from The Shard and arrive on your chosen date. If the venue is very busy, you might be required to queue. But price wise, this is a good deal.

Similarly RedLetterDays have offer 'The View from The Shard Gift Box Package with Entry and Champagne for Two', which includes entry tickets for two, a fast track upgrade for two and a glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne each. The product is presented in an elegant gift box with a souvenir coin and is currently available for £75 (was £122). Another fantastic deal!

Our experience of The View from The Shard

We loved our experience, from the beginging to the end. We had an experience voucher from Buyagift and it did not require pre-booking. So, when we were in London, we simply walked to The View from the Shard and the staff exchanged our voucher for tickets. After going through security, we made our way up via the lifts. There are two lifts in the building - one from Level 1 to Level 33 and the other from Level 33 to Level 68. The lifts travel at six metres per second, taking visitors from Level 1 to Level 68 in about a minute. Amazing!

There are 3 viewing areas. The one on Level 68 is referred to as The Cloudscape as the views are obscured by playful cloud formations. It kind of gives you an idea of the stunning views that await you on Level 69.

Level 69 is the main viewing gallery and is triple the height of other floors. It offers stunning 360-degree views of the city for up to 40 miles.

Level 72 is partially open-air and is the highest public viewing level of the building giving 360-degree views around the building.

Luckily, we visited on a clear day and could see miles of London's skyline including popular attractions like the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge Station, HMS Belfast, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf, London Eye and more.

Tower Bridge as seen from the Shard

The Bar at the View from the Shard

The View from the Shard - London Bridge Station

The View from the Shard - London Skyline

Partially outdoor viewing gallery at the Shard

London's Bridges from the View from the Shard

London Skyscape as seen from the Shard

London Bridge Station as seen from the Shard

London Skyline from the Shard

HMS Belfast as seen from the View of the Shard

Busy London Roads as seen from the Shard

There are 'tell:scopes' (digital telescopes) on Level 69. These are fully interactive, allowing you to zoom in on each tourist attraction and learning more about the landmark.

We spent around an hour taking in the views and then we made our way back to Level 1 using the lifts. Visitors exit through the gift shop which is stocked with official souvenirs ranging from metal figurines to key rings to fridge magnets.

Overall, we enjoyed our experience. There was no queing when we visited, there was no time limit on our stay on the viewing platforms and we had, luckily, picked a clear day to visit. The views from the top were stunning and it was wonderful seeing London's popular attractions from up in the sky! I think this is a great day out option that will appeal to most ages.

Tips for visiting The View from the Shard

  • Shop around for the tickets. You are sure to find discounted tickets on sites like Buyagift or RedLetterDays.
  • Try to plan your visit during sunrise or sunset. It adds to the beauty of the views.
  • There are no parking facilities at The Shard. So, if you are planning to arrive by car, look up local car parks online before travelling.
  • Large bags and backpacks are not allowed into The View from The Shard and they have no cloakroom facility either. So, travel light when visiting the building.
  • Toilets are on Level 1 and Level 68.

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