The View from the Shard opens in London

The View from the Shard, (photo by James Macdonald)
The View from the Shard

On 1 February, the View from the Shard will open to the public. This week the press were given a sneak preview and Insight Guides were lucky enough to go along. We've been watching the building grow from our office window so it's great to be allowed to see inside.

The View from the Shard is the visitor experience to the public viewing galleries and is operated separately to the rest of the building. Eventually there will be offices, bars, restaurants and 10 apartments with 360 degree views, but these are not complete just yet.

The mission statement of the View from the Shard is to show Londoners their city from a unique standpoint and to give London a high viewing gallery comparable to those in other cities such as Sydney and Toronto. The first sight awaiting visitors is a humorous montage of well known Londoners in unusual situations - HM The Queen and one of her corgis riding a scooter, for example. Then we were whisked up in the first lift to the 33rd floor at a rate of 6 metres per second. This brief ride will just give visitors time to view a simulation of their ascent into the London skyline on screens in the lift roof. Fascinating facts about London in general and Southwark and London Bridge in particular are all around you - on screens, floors and ceilings.



After another high-speed ascent in a lift, we emerged onto the 68th floor viewing gallery. Prepare yourself for a jaw-dropping view of the whole of London. It gets even better on the 72nd floor, which is over 800 meters high and open to the elements. As well as being able to see as far as Wembley Stadium with the Chilterns beyond, what is striking is how you see the city functioning - the railway tracks snaking out to Kent and into Waterloo and Charing Cross, the endless movement of buses and cars, and the Thames twisting through the city carrying yet more traffic.



Will it be worth the entry fee? Well, I would say Yes. On a clear day it’s spectacular. It’s twice as high as the London Eye and you can stay up there as long as you like. You’re guaranteed no queues or crowds, and the view from the toilets is something to behold.

Tickets cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children.  The View from the Shard will be open from 09.00am to 22.00pm daily.

Rachel F @ Insight








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Insight Select Guide LondonFor more top attractions, take a look at our online guides to London and the South Bank.

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