Everyone knows what the shard is but The View at the Shard specifically is an attraction taking up the top few floors of London’s tallest building allowing visitors to take in some breathtaking views of London and it’s surroundings.
At the start of last year I won a competition on the lovely Angie Silverspoon’s blog for two tickets to take a trip up and so with the expiry date of the experience looming I finally went with my friend Jen at the tail end of last year. (She’d been before but didn’t know about the incredible view you can get from the loo – more on this in a bit.)
It’s location in London Bridge means that you have pretty fantastic views of the Tower of London, HMS Belfast and the city as well as most of South London. If you’re more interested in views over Westminster and Buckingham Palace however I’d recommend taking a trip around the London Eye instead.
There are two floors to The View, the first is totally enclosed so you’re protected from the elements and the second is right at the tip of the Shard which doesn’t have a fully covered roof. It gets mighty cold up there so be sure to wrap up well. I believe you can take part in yoga very early on a Saturday morning – that’s certainly a unique way to wake yourself up for the weekend ahead!
Then there are the loos. These are definitely the star attraction at The View with their floor to ceiling windows allowing for some epic views while you do your business! There are even electronic blinds you can put down just in case you’re worried about someone across the river whipping their binoculars out.
You get an interactive audio guide included in the price of ticket which has some interesting facts and there are a few interactive telescopes dotted about the place too but to be honest I was very underwhelmed by the experience. Maybe it’s just because I’ve lived in the city so long though as it’s a very similar experience to Top of the Rock in NYC and I adored that!
We timed our visit for sunset so we could take advantage of both the daylight and the dawn(?) for our photographs. It’s always a pleasure watching London light up at night. Of course almost everyone else had the same idea so it became pretty busy – luckily we managed to stake out a spot at a window overlooking the London Eye and Westminster.
I’m glad that I’ve visited though, I’ve wanted to take a trip up for years but the cost always put me off. At £xx per adult and £xx for a child’s ticket it’s one of the pricier tourist attractions in London and to be honest, probably not worth it for that price. There are several bars and restaurants located just a few floors lower than The View itself and, while I haven’t yet been to any of these, I’ve been told that the views are just as incredible. Yes the drinks are expensive but so is The View and at least you can get a delicious cocktail thrown in for your money!
Of course if you’ve got the money to shell out you could always stay at the Shangri-La and wake up to those glorious views every morning of your visit!