The View From The Shard: Now Open!
Published 3 February 2013
From February 1st, visitors will be able to view London from the Shard, Europe’s second tallest building.
Thanks to modern technology and ingenious engineering, city landscapes are changing beyond our wildest imaginations. London’s skyline is no exception, constantly evolving to new heights. Until recently, One Canada Square (colloquially known as Canary Wharf) was the tallest building in London – but it has been dwarfed by the Shard – a glistening, 1000-odd foot glass skyscraper.
The piercing building, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, is situated in the sprawling London Bridge area. And from February 1st, visitors will have the chance to see ‘The View From The Shard’ – one of London’s newest visitor attractions. The View from The Shard will feature the highest vantage point from any building in Western Europe – and excitingly, will be the only place where it is possible to see all of London at once. So whilst this is bound to be a huge tourist attraction, we suspect that it will also be a hit with Londoners themselves.
As well as being home to A View from The Shard, the skyscraper will be occupied by retail units, offices, restaurants, ten exclusive residences and the UK’s first Shangri-La Hotel & Spa.
Before making their journey up to the viewing galleries, visitors to The View from The Shard will walk through an interactive audio-visual exhibition offering many displays, such as ‘illustrations of famous Londoners in playful juxtapositions’, with Margaret Thatcher and Karl Marx pictured on a tandem bicycle together for example.
Visitors will then ascend from ground floor to the viewing galleries on levels 69 and 72 in an ear-popping 60 seconds. The triple-height level 69 is where the magic begins to unfold. Views from the galleries allow visitors to see up to 40 miles across London and beyond, with visible landmarks including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Canary Wharf, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Stadium to the east; St. Paul’s, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament to the west; Oval Cricket Ground and Battersea Power Station to the south and Alexandra Palace and Wembley Stadium to the north.
Visitors can use the 12 ‘Tell:scopes’ – revolutionary, digital telescopes with large touchscreens made available in Europe for the first time – to pinpoint and view information on such landmarks in real time or in pre-recorded day/night-time views.
With the corners of the skyscraper open and the glass ‘shards’ of the building not touching, level 72 is exposed to the elements, allowing visitors to experience not only the sights, but also the sounds of the city beneath. Being the highest public level of the Shard, level 72 is a staggering 244 metres (800 feet) above ground. The vantage point is almost twice as high as any other vantage point in London.
Other Shard facts from the TVFTS team:
- ‘The Shard is 309.6 metres tall (1016 feet).
- The Shard has an equivalent floor space of 31.4 acres.
- The Shard is 95 floors high with 78 habitable floors.
- Shard architect Renzo Piano designed the Shard to be a vertical town.
- The Shard has 11,000 glass panels over an area equivalent to 8 football pitches.
- The volume of concrete used is 54,000 metres cubed – equivalent to 22 Olympic swimming pools.
- The total piles supporting the Shard would measure 13.7km if laid end to end.
- The Shard has 306 flights of staircases and 44 lifts
- The Shard contains the highest residences in Europe and a swimming pool on level 52.
- The View from The Shard occupies the highest habitable floors in the Shard.
- The lifts travel at 6 metres per second.’
- Music to accompany visitors on their way around the exhibition and up to the viewing galleries is recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and features the Joyful Company of Singers.
Prices: £24.95 (adults), £18.95 (children 4 – 15 years old, must be accompanied by an adult aged 16+), free (infants aged 3 or under).
Closest Tube station: London Bridge