The Shard guide

However impressive it is from the outside, there's nothing like the view from the inside. Get the most out of your visit with our guide to a trip up The Shard

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© The View from The Shard
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James Bedford
Time out shangri-la hotel in the shard london www.jamesbedford.com
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© The View from The Shard

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).

Buy The View from The Shard tickets

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.

Eating and drinking at The Shard

Restaurants Book online

Aqua Shard

'The appeal of drinking while on high is eternal and even a bit inexplicable, but there's no denying it,' said our reviewer. 'Aqua Shard is not the sort of place you'll want to visit every week. But to remind yourself how glorious our city can look while getting pissed, go vertical.'

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Oblix

'A starter of tataki-style beef (£12) was a few tasty morsels while the main course of halibut (£28) was perfectly cooked, though rather oddly served with something resembling a dollop of lemon curd. Pork belly (£16) was perhaps the best dish – the meat pink and tender, the skin nicely crisped, served with a piquant apple chutney. Desserts consisted mainly of ice-cream combinations, though New York cheesecake (£9) was exemplary.'

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Hutong

'Hutong does credit to the growing trend for offbeat Chinese dishes. The service was good, the prices high, but then this is The Shard, not Chinatown.'

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Ting

What’s this, a new Tellytubby? Actually, Ting is the Shangri-La hotel’s dining space on the thirty-fifth floor of the glistening Shard, but unless you’re blessed with a Tinky Winky-bellied bank account, we’d give the £18-a-starter ‘restaurant’ bit a swerve. Instead, book Ting’s more affordable neighbouring ‘lounge’. This shares its stunning views and statement toilets, which boast glass-walled cubicles, heated seats and buttons offering a choice of bottom sprays including ‘oscillating’ and ‘power deodorizer’. The Shangri-La Group is based in Hong Kong but was founded in Singapore, so it’s nice to find Southeast Asian and regional Chinese street food dishes alongside the oil-money-courting meze and room-service usual suspects (club sandwich, lobster bisque). An £18 chicken and prawn laksa (a thin curry noodle soup) was perfectly adequate, but the moutabal (a chargrilled aubergine dip) lacked smokiness. Most frustratingly, our £18 burger, ordered medium rare, arrived medium well, and when we requested ketchup and mustard they took a full 15 minutes to arrive. You don’t come here for the food, but Ting’s vistas are superb and the loos are a laugh. Where else could you expose yourself to the whole of London without getting arrested? Eh-oh! By Tania Ballantine

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Where to eat near The Shard

Restaurants

Tapas Brindisa

The upsurge in Spanish food quality in London since the 1990s can in part be dated from the arrival in Borough Market of food importers Brindisa, bringing first-rate Iberian hams, cheeses and other essentials to the city almost for the first time. The firm’s showcase tapas restaurants are equally a benchmark. In early 2011, star chef José Pizarro left to start José, but we haven’t noticed any drop in standards, so you’ll still find an ideal blend of superb ingredients and refined cooking (the latter normally confined to larger dishes). At the original Brindisa in Borough Market, ‘black rice’ (cooked with squid in its ink, with unusually fragrant aïoli) had a superbly smooth flavour, without any acridity; ham croquettes gained extra depth from the quality of the meat. Padrón peppers (Galician peppers simply fried and salted) exemplified wonderful produce being allowed to shine. The style is easy going, prices very reasonable – though inescapably higher for delicacies such as the finest Ibérico meats. Wines are sophisticated and priced accordingly. The only drawback is that it’s often impossible to get a seat at the Borough and Soho branches, as there’s no booking; fortunately, South Ken’s Casa Brindisa does now take reservations.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Elliot's

Light and airy, with stripped brick walls and a contemporary feel, Elliot’s is a busy little spot full of tourists, dates and business people; in the evenings it can get noisy. Sit out front and watch the world go by, perch at the bar or take a seat in the bright back area with a glass roof above your head. The seasonal, ever-changing menu is small but innovative, and carefully sourced (they deal directly with growers and producers); bread is excellent. Smaller plates such as crab on toast or buffalo mozzarella and polenta are listed alongside larger plates including the ever-popular (but weekday lunchtime only) burger. Served in a toasted sesame seed bun, with fried maris potatoes, a pile of pickles, ketchup and mustard, the burger was too juicy to pick up, and oozed with cheese and fried onions. The meat was tender, delicious and still a little pink in the middle. At dinner, lemon sole, wild garlic and fino (a large plate) was good, but there were no more than a few slivers of wild garlic in the sherry-based sauce, making a side dish a must. Jersey royals with bacon and shallots went nicely with both this and a (small) plate of three scallops with herb butter. Well-mannered, very engaged service is on the evangelical side when it comes to the natural wines (orange wines are listed alongside the expected white, red and rosé).

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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fish!

On weekday lunchtimes, this swanky glass pavilion overlooking Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market is full of suits and well-heeled tourists. The interior is all hard surfaces under a tall ceiling, so business secrets can be shouted aloud in safety, barely heard even by the ears for which they were intended. It’s noisy, but staff are friendly, the views are pretty, and sitting at the long bar overlooking the open kitchen is fun. The restaurant prides itself on using sustainable raw ingredients from trusted suppliers like its own fishmonger, Jarvis, in Surrey. At the core of the menu is a long list of fish – organic salmon, skate, tuna, lemon sole, Icelandic cod, plaice, and more, with seasonal specials too – which you can have steamed or grilled and served with a choice of dressing. Or there’s great old-fashioned fish and chips (at modern prices). The mushy peas are among the finest we’ve tasted. We were surprised to find mushrooms in the ‘Classic Fish Pie’, but were satisfied nonetheless with its rich flavour and buttery mash crust. Takeaway fish and chips can be bought from the kiosk to the side of the restaurant for half the price.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Tas

The Borough branch of Tas neatly embodies the traits that make this Anatolian chain so popular. The pillared white interior is simply decorated – a wall mosaic here, a framed painting of Turkish women there – but with its artful spot-lighting and liberal arrangement of potted plants, it offers a Mediterranean ambience that on our last visit was bolstered by an elderly guitarist plucking away in the background. The menu lists more than 40 starters alongside a huge range of grills, casseroles and fish dishes, but our selections varied from delicious to disappointing. A hot starter of patlıcan-biber kizartma featured generous chunks of aubergine in a fresh-tasting tomato and yoghurt sauce, but was served lukewarm; better was a cold confection of zeytinli ahtapot salatasi (marinated baby octopus in a salad of red onions, olives and coriander). A main of slow-cooked íncik lamb shank was tender enough to fall off the bone, and came in a rich tomato sauce, but a vegetarian kabak stew of courgettes with tomatoes, chickpeas and potatoes was watery and under-seasoned. As a window into the breadth of Anatolian cuisine, Tas does a commendable job; as a mainstream chain, it might benefit from a less ambitious menu.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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Comments

1 comments
Phillip W
Phillip W

"The appeal of drinking while on high is eternal and even a bit inexplicable"


The only thing inexplicable is that daft comment