The Shard, The View | London

The Shard observation tower

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.

The Shard Tower bridge and Canary wharf

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

Shard St Paul's Cathedral

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.

Shard lift entrance

The second lift arrives at level 69 and you follow the path around and up stairs to The View.

Shard opbservation tower level 69

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.

Shard looking up

Here is my favourite view of The City

The Shard - view of the city

This is the Tower of London zoomed from level 71.

Shard tower of London

Tower Bridge which we visited back in the summer, another great place to visit.

Shard view of Tower Bridge

The London Eye, which is another great observation point of London

Shard London eye

HMS Belfast from above

Shard view of HMS Belfast

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

Shard level 72 open air


Disclosure: I received a ticket to visit The Shard for the purpose of this reveiw


  1. February 10, 2015 / 2:18 PM

    I loved the Shard when I visted with Superlucky Di recently. We never made it higher than the cocktail bar on the 32nd floor, choosing to spend our money on drinks rather than the entrance fee, but it was still awesome and I feel a real love for the building now. Lovely review :)

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:00 PM

      Thank you Anya, I had an amazing day but am determined to go back one day for a meal or cocktails, either will do

  2. February 10, 2015 / 4:29 PM

    Wow wow wow. Amazing views and great shots. Makes me want to visit London!

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:01 PM

      Thanks Kate, it was an amazing experience and one I’d thoroughly recommend – meet you there ;)

  3. February 10, 2015 / 5:38 PM

    wow! I was in two minds as to whether to take a trip up the Shard – but it looks AMAZING!!

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:02 PM

      It is Ali, it’s a superb view of London, one you won’t forget in a hurry x

  4. February 10, 2015 / 7:45 PM

    Fab photo Mari – I was following your trip on instagram and marvelling at the sights. The Shard is somewhere I wouldn’t have though of going until I saw your pics!

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:02 PM

      I loved it Annie, I’d definitely return with the girls once they know a few of London’s landmarks and can pick them out.

  5. February 10, 2015 / 8:03 PM

    I’ve seen the Shard so many times and was amazed at its architecture, but I never knew that there’s a bar up there and that you can actually go in there. Look at the fantastic views I’ve missed out on. Must-see for my next London trip x

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:04 PM

      Add it to your list Carolin and you won’t be disappointed I promise x

  6. February 10, 2015 / 9:13 PM

    The views areally are something special, you’d just want to make sure you were there ona clear day, wouldn’t you? Mich x

    • February 10, 2015 / 10:05 PM

      Yes, a clear day would be perfect, my day wasn’t cloudless but at least I was able to see for a long way. Only I didn’t manage to find HRH Buck Palace amongst the buildings.

  7. February 11, 2015 / 8:22 PM

    Such a striking building…and champagne at the top sounds good! *STARES AT MR B* I actually had no idea you could visit it, I had thought it was all offices.

  8. February 13, 2015 / 9:00 AM

    oh wow… what an amazing place

  9. February 13, 2015 / 9:04 AM

    ooooh, it looks AMAZING!! I’ve never been in the Shard. x

  10. February 24, 2015 / 5:23 PM

    Oh wow, looks amazing up there! I am also drawn to the building, haven’t even thought about venturing up it – think I might be quite terrified though :) Wonderful views!

  11. May 27, 2015 / 11:11 AM

    Lovely views. You can see basically the same from the sky garden at 20 fenchurch St but its free to get in. That’s the walkie talkie building you can see in your fav view pic :)

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