Every time I ever draw into London Bridge train station I am fascinated by the gigantic building that shoots upwards piercing the sky with it’s point, The Shard.
The 87 storey skyscraper stands 309 metres (1,014 ft) high and is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is 72 habitable floors and I visited the viewing gallery and open air observation deck on the 72nd floor.
IT WAS AMAZING. No, it was better than that, it was breath taking, it was utterly stunning. It was the most memorable occasion. It was the most fantastic experience and I’d do it all over again and again.
Your journey starts at the bottom, I know you know that but you will be pleasantly amazed by each member of staff who are polite and engage in conversation with you, with a smile on their face too! This is why it’s going to be one of the best experiences ever.
I had an online ticket from Attraction Tix which I had to exchange the print out for my real ticket at the cash desk. You then make your way over to the security check and an optional souvenir photo if you wish.
Have a look at all the different Fun Days out for Couples
There are two lifts, the first takes you to level 31-33 where the restaurants are situated, here everyone gets off and makes their way around to the second elevator which will take you to the observation rooms. By the way even the journey in the lift is exciting with a great film to watch on the ceiling.
The second lift arrives at level 69 and you follow the path around and up stairs to The View.
There are two floors to visit, the first is enclosed and is very high with floor to ceiling glass. As you walk around some of the capitals most famous monuments are written above your head encouraging you to look for them in the distance.
There is a champagne bar selling it at £10 a glass but offering soft drinks too. There is also a shop worth visiting as it has the usual souvenirs plus some very interesting merchandise.
You can then go up a level for some more fantastic views, at this point it is n longer enclosed, you feel and hear the wind whistling around you, a plane passed over head on it’s way to City Airport and i felt it was so close. and if you look up, this is what you see… isn’t it beautiful?
When to Visit The Shard?
- Valentine’s day with champagne at the top and maybe dinner after?
- A family day out with a good cultural, historical and architectural foundation.
- A special birthday or occasion treat.
Here is my favourite view of The City
This is the Tower of London zoomed from level 71.
Tower Bridge which we visited back in the summer, another great place to visit.
The London Eye, which is another great observation point of London
HMS Belfast from above
The view from the Shangri La restaurant will look like the one Jen has photographed, equally stunning and she tells us excellent food too!
Renzo Piano – the architect
The Shard was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced the previous occupant Southward Towers, a 24 storey office block built in 1975.
Renzo Piano designed the Shard as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. He was inspired by the railway lines next to the site, the London spires depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto and the masts of sailing ships. Piano’s design met criticism from English Heritage, who claimed the building would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London“, giving the building its name, The Shard.
Piano considered the slender, spire-like form of the tower a positive addition to the London skyline, recalling the church steeples featured in historic engravings of the city, and believed that its presence would be far more delicate than opponents of the project alleged. He proposed a sophisticated use of glazing, with expressive façades of angled glass panes intended to reflect sunlight and the sky above, so that the appearance of the building will change according to the weather and seasons. The building features 11,000 panes of glass, with a total surface area of 56,000 square metres (600,000 sq ft). Wikipedia
Disclosure: I received a ticket to visit The Shard for the purpose of this reveiw