London’s skyline has, in recent years, become two-faced. Not in the villainous Batman sense of the word, but in the way it is has fast become a mixture of old and new architecture. The stalwarts of London’s cityscape now share the same silhouette at dusk as those of the Millennium Projects of the year 2000 and beyond. And with the dawn of 2013 there’s even newer competition in town in the form of The Shard.
Rising from ground zero like a malevolent splinter, The Shard will remind you of one of the many modern skyscrapers adorning Dubai’s ever changing skyline. No matter which way you choose to interpret this architectural glass masterpiece, The Shard is a permanent fixture on the changing face of the Old Smoke offering new vantage points of London from above.
The Shard is Western Europe’s highest skyscraper
and Europe’s second, after Moscow’s Mercury City Tower, and was designed by the legendary Italian architect Renzo Piano. Built in Southwark and occupying the same precinct as Borough Market
called London Bridge Quarter, this amazing crystal pyramid is covered in thin glass that changes colour according to the sun light, is 310 metres
tall, has 87 floors
, and offers a completely new perspective on London’s skyline! Watching it from the bottom you cannot really see the top, having the feeling that the glass spike-like top bites at the sky.
View from The Shard
Before The Shard, tourists were offered amazing London views by the London Eye, Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, MI5 (the UK's Secret Service), among others. Seeing Tower Bridge and its waterfront today has a different effect compared to the views from the London Eye. The Shard gives you a splendid view on St. Paul’s Cathedral, the calm waters of the Thames, the City with its famous scrapers, the new skyscraper of Elephant & Castle, and a magnificent perspective over Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
The Shard, which stands close to the Tate Modern Gallery on the South Bank, is a vertical micro-universe in itself, including the luxurious 5 star Shangri-La Hotel, high standard offices, top restaurants and cafeterias, amazing (and mind blowing expensive) residential apartments, shops, spas and the View from The Shard - London’s tallest viewing gallery which boasts a 360° panoramic view from the 69th floor.
Possibly the best London view is to be found on the 72nd floor of The Shard. At 244m (twice as high than any other observation point in London), you will have a great feeling looking up at this modern ‘Mordor’ made of glass shards that seem to disappear into the clouds. And the unique experience of the high-speed elevators which reach the 68th floor in 30 seconds is already an impressive start!
Whether you love or hate this glass pyramid tower that Prince Charles called ‘an enormous salt shaker’, the truth is it has quickly become one of London’s main and most modern attractions that people from all over the world want to see when visiting the British capital. The mix of traditional and extravagant modernity makes London one of the most charismatic capitals in the world, and The Shard is surely helping this image.
The skyscraper has green gardens in winter, but only 50 parking spaces. So whoever wants to visit it will have to use alternative means of transportation like the underground (London Bridge station), the 6 trains or one of the 14 buses the building is connected to.
The View is open to guests daily, from 09.00 am to 10.00 pm
, so the cityscapes can be seen in all their splendour, both day and night. A good idea would be to pre-book tickets online
, in order to avoid queuing. There is no time restriction to your visit, so you can enjoy the view for as long as you want. The visit is spectacular, but not cheap. An adult ticket is £29.95
, while children between 4 and 15 pay £23.95
. The admission is free for kids under 4. If pre-booked, there is a £5 discount
on the tickets. For more information, visit: www.the-shard.com
Don’t miss a visit to the Shard and the chance to greet London from its highest point! Book the best airfare
Share the news