London's tallest building has not been universally well received. For every fan of architect Renzo Piano's crystalline, church steeple-inspired skyscraper – rescued from the jaws of recession by Qatari investors in 2008 and topped off just four years later – there's at least one detractor, angry the 1,016-foot-tall hulk was ever allowed to bully its way into sightline omnipresence. But if views of The Shard are controversial, the views from it are not. At 800 feet, the building's ticketed viewing platform The View from The Shard is nearly double the height of its closest competitor, the London Eye. From that high up London is Lego, the Thames a blue shoelace. Even the peaks of the City, immediately north, appear suddenly quaint. Here's Time Out's guide to a trip up The Shard.
The View from The Shard opening times and ticketing information
Unless you're there to eat or drink (more on that later), chances are your trip up western Europe's tallest building is for The View from The Shard, a ticketed viewing platform with 360-degree views across the capital and beyond (up to 40 miles on a clear day). The attraction spans three levels of decks (the bottom two enclosed, the third open to the elements above) on floors 68 to 72 of the skyscraper, reached by two super-smooth, high-speed lifts taking just 30 seconds each. Up top, Digital 'Tell:scopes' update the coin-in-the-slot binoculars at traditional viewpoints: touchscreens locate and provide information about important landmarks, zoom in, and toggle between views from different times of day.
The View from The Shard is open daily from 9am to 10pm. Winter hours, starting in October, are Sunday to Wednesday, 10am to 7pm; and Thursday to Saturday, 10am-10pm. Last viewings start one hour before closing. Tickets are timed and available through Time Out, costing £29.95 for adults and £23.95 for children (ages 4 to 15).
Where is The Shard?
Up. More specifically, The Shard is in Southwark, just two minutes from London Bridge station (accessible by both rail and tube, the latter on the Northern and Jubilee lines) and five minutes from the Thames' South Bank. If you've got 10 minutes to spare, alight at Monument tube station (on the Circle and District lines) and behold The Shard's towering majesty as you cross London Bridge. The site can also be reach by more than a dozen buses: the 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 141, 149, 343, 381, 521 and RV1.