London

The View from The Shard

5th January 2016

Until last month I was one of the few London bloggers left that had never been inside The Shard. Finally, after two and a half years of admiring the London’s landmark from afar and below, I had the chance to visit The View last month.

The View from The Shard, looking out towards Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. London, December 2015

For those of you who don’t live in London or have never heard about The Shard, it is 95-storey skyscraper located by London Bridge, on the south side of the river Thames. It is 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) high, and currently the tallest building in Western Europe. It was designed by a famous Italian architect, Renzo Piano, and the construction took three years. The Shard was inaugurated on 6th July 2012.

The View From The Shard was opened in February 2013 with two public platforms: a triple level indoor gallery (Levels 69-71) and a Skydeck on Level 72.

The View from the Shard, London

The View from The Shard offers a 360-degree view of London (up to 40 miles on a clear day).

The View from The Shard, LondonThe View from The Shard (east side, looking out to Canary Wharf). London

To the west you can see the London Eye, St Paul’s, the Millennium Bridge; to the north the Sky Garden and the Gherkin; to the east Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf.

The View from The Shard. London, December 2015 The View from The Shard. London, December 2015 The View from The Shard. London, December 2015

Look all the way down and you will see the railway lines and trains going through London Bridge station.

The View from The Shard, looking out towards Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. London, December 2015

I started my visit one hour before sunset so that I could stay inside long enough to see the view by day and by night.

I also chose the day carefully after consulting the weather forecast. It was meant to be sunny with a clear sky, but alas this is London and the weather can change quickly. That afternoon the sky was covered in grey clouds, without sun rays coming through and just a little bit of the sunset colours to be seen far away.

The View from The Shard, looking out towards Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. London, December 2015

The 72nd floor observation deck is in open-air, something you can definitely notice and feel on a cold and windy December day.

Obviously I knew that the top of the Shard was made of four planes of glass rising towards the top, never touching. I thought the viewing platform would still have a roof, but instead it is partially open.

The View from The Shard, London

I was slightly intimidated to be standing at 244 metres above the ground, feeling the wind blowing through the metal and glass structure of the Shard. Looking up, I could see the pinnacle of the building.

The View from The Shard, Level 72 observation deck. London, UK

My cold feeling was heightened by an art installation which has been at The View since November. The Height of Winter was designed by London studio Bompas & Parr to create a truly romantic winter experience, complete with super-scaled crystals, glowing crystal benches and a touch-responsive iridescent grotto.

The Height of Winter installation, The Shard, LondonThe Height of Winter installation, The Shard, LondonThe Height of Winter installation, The Shard, LondonThe View from the Shard, London

The play of lights, colours and sounds combined with the winter installations conveyed a winter feel to the Shard’s observation deck.

The View from The Shard, Level 72 observation deck. London, UK

I spent one and a half hours at the top of The Shard, most of the time on Level 72, just gazing out to London as night moved in and the city lights appeared.

It was incredible to see so much of London, an experience I can only compare to seeing the city from a plane.

The View from The Shard. London, December 2015The View From The Shard by Night, London, December 2015 The View from The Shard, looking out towards Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. London, December 2015 The View From The Shard by Night, London, December 2015

I would definitely recommend a visit to The View from The Shard (if you are not afraid of heights, of course)! ;) The Height of Winter installation will be running until 31st January 2016

Disclaimer: I received a press pass to visit the Shard. All opinions are my own.

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  • The slow pace

    What a view! The pictures are gorgeous, specially those in the dark!

    • Thank you! I didn’t bring my tripod and there are no flat areas to place the camera while shooting at low speed…but with high ISO the pictures turned out alright :)

  • Stunning photos! The view from The Shard is so lovely, great idea to go for sunset so you get the best of both.

    • Thank you. I will try to go back in summer and hopefully be there on a clear sky day! :)

  • I’m so pleased you got to visit finally :) It’s such an awesome view. It might not be *quite* as impressive as Top of the Rock but it’s nearly there! Next time we go I definitely want to go at night. Beautiful.

    • I hope my next visit will be on a sunny day…hard to get one for long enough in London though!

  • London is such a beautiful city, especially from above. It’s fun pick out all the landmarks you know and wander past every day and see them from a completely different angle.

  • Federica Carr

    The view is stunning but the building is such a sore sight! And now Mr Piano wants to build another one in West London, destroying a beautiful heritage building (post office sorting depo). Shame. London landscape is becoming so ugly. Rant over.

    • I actually like how The Shard fits into the London skyline…

  • Hi Giulia,

    What great views! And great photos. I’ve only been to The View once, which was in the summer of 2014. I really should go back at dusk like you did. Of all your photos, I think the night-time ones are the best. It reminds me of the time I went up the Top of Rock in Manhattan at dusk (which is, at the top, totally exposed to the elements!).

    Thanks,
    Brian.

    • I have never been on Top of the Rock, but I will go next time I’m in NYC. Sounds frightening but amazing!

  • Pingback: Buffet Breakfast at Ting, Shangri-La London's signature restaurant at Level 35 of The Shard()

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