The View from the Shard offers panoramic, 360-degree views across the capital and beyond (up to 64km or 40 miles on a clear day) from 244 metres (800 feet) up – almost twice the height of any other viewing point in London.
The attraction is a two-level deck (the first enclosed, the second open to the elements above head-height) on floors 68 to 72 of the skyscraper, to which visitors are whisked in two stages on supersmooth, high-speed lifts that take just 30 seconds to reach the 'View', accompanied by a soaring anthem recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Joyful Company of Singers – a decidely upmarket twist on elevator muzak. Tongue-in-cheek illustrations of famous Londoners past and present, including Margaret Thatcher and Karl Marx on a tandem, and Vidal Sassoon and Vivienne Westwood giving Charles I a makeover, and video screens and display panels with digital maps of London and archive footage of city life remind you of your surroundings.
In the viewing galleries themselves, digital 'Tell:scopes' update the coin-in-the-slot binoculars at traditonal viewpoints - touchscreens allow you to call up additional information on the buildings you're looking at, and help you locate the important landmarks, as well as allowing you to zoom in or see what the view is like at different times of day. There are no toilets or refreshments on the viewing levels.
See our guide to The Shard