The Shard

Things to do London Bridge
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The content on this page is provided by a Time Out partner.

The very public progress of this mammoth building (just how do you keep a skyscraper under wraps?) ensured that, by the time of its completion in 2012, the Shard was a familiar part of London's skyline, visible from all over the city – contentiously so in the case of London's many protected views. Visitors are now flocking to Renzo Piano's tripod-shaped, glass-clad building at London Bridge. At 1,017 feet high, it's the EU's tallest, containing offices, apartments, a hotel and, most excitingly, 'The View from the Shard' , a four-storey observatory deck on floors 68 to 72. The development also coincides with a new public plaza, bus terminal and a long-awaited revamp of London Bridge station.

Venue name: The Shard
Contact:
Address: 30
London Bridge Street
London
SE1 9SG
Transport: Rail/Tube: London Bridge
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Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|22
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Kritt N
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

The Shard is a pretty cool place to be and I enjoyed going to the top. But to say I was blown away by the experience would be pushing it.


Easily reachable by tube and minutes away from London Bridge tube station, the Shard, at 1,017 feet high, is the EU's tallest, containing offices, apartments, a hotel and an observatory deck, aptly called View From The Shard. It's swanky from the minute you walk in and you can expect security to be airport-style tight.


It’s cool to see London stretch out below you. But what’s not cool is the £30 ticket. It’s a bit too much just to wander around an observation deck. For that price, I’d like to see more forms of attraction/activity once upstairs. In most instances, you’re so high up it can be tough to make out London’s many iconic landmarks.


If a good view is what you're after, I'm more inclined to suggest heading to the Sky Garden on top the Walkie Talkie. It’s free, has a garden and offers great views too. Another good bet is Monument, which again, is close by.


If you’re still keen on going, that’s cool – you’ll have a good time once above. But I personally think the £30 is a bit too much.


Top tip: make sure you use the toilet - there’s not many toilets in London that can rival the view offered by The Shard ;)

Simon Powell
1 of 1 found helpful

I was surprised by the Shard. I wasn't expecting much - it's just a viewing platform, after all - but being able to see so much is mesmerising. If you can, look up when the sun will set and get there 20mins before that; half the fun was watching the sky change colour and the twinkling lights switch on over in the City. It's very expensive for what it is, so remember to book - it's 4x more costly to walk-up and buy tickets than if you book just 1 day in advance

Toni
1 of 1 found helpful

When you go up there on a sunny day, you can the EVERYTHING! It was just stunning! But unfortunately, it was really expensive... (£30 per person)

Parklife

I finally managed to visit the Shard viewing gallery yesterday afternoon. Having been to Sky Garden, Tower 42, One Canada Square and the Millennium Eye (which each have their own unique perspectives), the 360 degree offered viewpoint here is simply captivating and allows you to see how the Thames snakes through this great city. 


The staff are all very attentive and the artificial grass on floor 72 allows one to sit down (with a drink of your choice) and take in the views.


As has been mentioned before, the main downside is the cost. I also think the interactive guide could have been a bit more comprehensive or imaginative.  

Matilda Egere-Cooper

I finally made it to the Viewing Platform this morning for a launch event - and man, if you're lucky enough to get clear skies and a sunny day, you're in for a real stunning view of the capital. Not sure I'd be totally happy shelling out on £30 for the experience though - and it wasn't so much an experience as it was a really nice perspective of the city that got me loads of Instagram likes  - but if you're not too precious about the budget and have the spare cash, then why not? It won't hurt as a one-off.

Jane G.
Tastemaker

Feels like you're on top of the world! I was lucky to get a Love London pass and can go whenever I want. I made my third trip last week to do the Where's Wally event. Honestly, had I paid £70 to take my family I would have been upset, but for free it was ok and I had fun hunting for the characters. The views are breathtaking, you shouldn't miss this! The next best thing is the staff! I felt faint the visit before and had to ask for help. The staff were amazing in how caring and helpful they were! I was so impressed I even wrote to customer service. If you are visiting London it is really a must!

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

This spectacular building, visible from pretty much any location across the city, offers very nice 360° views of London. You can see for miles on a clear day and having the outdoor viewing platform is a nice touch. BUT.. It is very expensive for what it is. Having been to quite a few viewing towers around the world, this is by far the most expensive, yet probably one of the least interesting. For around £30 a ticket I would expect more of an experience. The high price must surely put people off of returning, as it has with us.


If you are planning a trip for a special occasion, be sure to combine it with a visit to any one of the spectacularly extravagant restaurants to make it more of an experience. I can highly recommend the breakfast at Aqua Shard. Huge portions and absolutely delicious!

Naomi
Tastemaker

I didn't expect too much from a trip to the top of the Shard, I'd put it off for a good two years just because I didn't think anything could justify splashing out on such an expensive ticket especially as I'd heard mixed reviews. However a couple of months back I queued from 5am to purchase an annual pass at the discounted rate of £20.16 (cheaper than a one time ticket in fact!) to celebrate the new year, it took me a while to get round to using the ticket but when I eventually did I was absolutely blown away. I think it's very important to pick the time of day and weather forecast carefully as if it's likely to be your only trip up you don't want the view obliterated by clouds. I've since been up in the middle of the day (too busy) and at night (incredible) but I'm dying to time it perfectly over a sunset. There are alternative viewing points in London which come without the price tag (Sky Garden for example is free) but there is something exhilarating about the upper decks where you are exposed to the elements from above. Honestly feels like you are on top of the world and opens up a new found lease of love for this beautiful city. 

Carmen
Staff Writer

I was surprised with my visit to the Shard. I thought its just another skyscraper in London's skyline...The architecture is amazing and the view on the top floor terrace is breathtaking. It really is worth a visit and enjoying a glass of champagne at their roof top champagne bar. Perfect for a romantic evening or meeting with friends at sunset!

Tom Bruce
Tastemaker

The Shard is the least offensive of the wonky phallic monstrosities that are springing up to penetrate the skies all over our beautiful capital. Although it shouldn't really exist - it's just some flash architects bashing off into the faces of an entire city, with the aid of some very wealthy corporate backers - most of the ground dwelling population have come to accept it. We have to. It looms above us in crystalline majesty, a wonder of modern engineering victories over gravity and impracticability. The Shard is now a part of the skyline for good. But despite being a cut above (or, like, several hundred feet above, from its peak) the other janky steel-and glass skyscrapers in central London, it still represents everything that is wrong with the changing landscape and culture of the city. 'Out with the old, in with the new' seems to be the town planning agenda - from many angles around central you can't even see our most iconic landmarks for the reflective eye sores that are blocking the way. Parisians would never stand for this.


In the past decade these grotesque towers have started to crop up like a breakout of stalky grey fungi around a dying potted plant located in a damp hallway in a council block in London Fields. Not a nice image, is it? There's no stopping it now. The infection will spread.


Since everyone always takes photos of the Shard from on top of the Shard, I thought I'd not do that, because I'm terrified of snapping images that are identical to the pictures thousands of other people have got on their phones too. Something caught my eye after I left , though. While waiting for a train at London Bridge station, I spotted a window cleaning team undertaking the mammoth job of polishing the 11,000 panes of glass that comprise the Shard's surface. Now, they probably didn't do them all in one go; it looked a slow process, as a troika of men only got two panels done in ten minutes. Cleaning windows on The Shard necessitates walkie talkies, and a belayer on top and another on ground level, just to safely adjust the man in the middle, who is strapped into a full body harness. See my photos below: just another day on the outside of the office...



Julie R
Tastemaker

What an amazing view.  The Shard is quite pricey at £25 a visit, but it is worth it for the amazing views that you see.  The viewing platform is across 2 levels and you can see 360 views from each.

It makes the streets below look like a model village and I enjoyed watching the trains go by as if they were tiny Hornby sets.  Although there was quite a few people around, most people don't tend to hog the best views, so you get opportunities to take pictures from all angles.  The upper platform is partially open at the top so can get a bit chilly and you can get drinks on each of the platforms.

As far as I know, you can stay as long as you like, so compared to the 30 minute London Eye, this definitely provides better value for money.

The only criticism that I have is that they need to clean the windows more often as I found streaks on the photographs from where the windows were a bit grubby.

Towers

I splashed out and took my parents and hubbie up the Shard with the champagne experience just before xmas and dinner at Gaucho.After many complaints that we were in a rush, it’s too cold and going up the wrong set of lifts we eventually got up and were WOWED – such amazing panoramic views of London & super high up.We had a glass of champers and were pointing out different landmarks whilst taking the obligatory pics and listening to the audio guide.Definitely worth the experience!

Rosie T
Staff Writer

For me, going to The Shard is not just about the view but also the experience. The staff are friendly, the journey getting to the top just feels good and when you are there the views are something else. I have been to the top of the Shard twice now, once on a snowy day and the second time was last week just before dark, seeing London all lit always captures me, we live in such an amazing city and the Shard allows you to see it all!  

Katriona Music
Tastemaker

The first thing anyone ever thinks about when hearing about The Shard is the AMAZING VIEW! The views are absolutely fantastic. Completely breathtaking. Not only that, the atmosphere in the Shard is very relaxed - especially during the day. Combining that with the gorgeous view makes The Shard a great place to visit regularly. It does get very busy during the late afternoon / evening, especially on a Friday, so it's beneficial to book a window seat ahead of time.


I really like the mocktails available there. I'm not a drinker so the mocktails are my drink of choice. One of my favourite foods there is the vegetable spring rolls. They are very delicious and the presentation of the food is great, which is to be expected in an upscale place like this.


The fact that the staff are very pleasant and attentive is a big plus. So the views + the lovely drinks and snacks + the great staff = makes this a great place to visit. 


Isabelly
Tastemaker

My advice is save yourself a few dollar and book yourself a weekday breakfast at Aqua Shard. Although you don't get the complete view, you only have to pay for your breakfast (the porridge is delish and less than £4!) to get a view from Level 31 - where you're just high enough not to have your view obscured by the clouds anyway. 

Jan McConkey

To get the best from this experience visit at 9am on a Sunday. We did and were the only people in the building for at least 30 mins and when we left at 11.30am there was still loads of space. The sights are spectacular. The viewfinders amazing and being the only ones there you can use them all!!!! Never has London looked this amazing, even the Olympic stadium looks like an inverted drum.

Tricia Wood

The Oblix Bar. The Shard Great bar, fantastic atmosphere. Went here on a Wednesday evening with our three teenagers for after dinner drinks for a family birthday. The bar was buzzing, arrived about 10pm, there was a singer accompanied by a pianist . It wasn't too loud and you could still have a conversation. The staff were really helpful land sat us near the window. The views are incredible, lots of twinkling lights from the city and lovely low level lighting in the room, made for a great atmosphere. We had a couple of cocktails, which I felt ere a bit small and not too impressive, however, the non alcoholic cocktails are delicious though. Also the beers are not too badly priced considering the venue. We even had a cup of tea! Go for a special occasion, I'd rather spend money on drinks than paying to go up the Shard, I know it's at a lower level, but believe me you won't be disappointed with the view.

Caroline

Views were beautiful but not a unique experience in London. I was there before there was a bar/restaurant and felt that the experience was lacking something as it is over once you've walked round in about 5 minutes. The gift shop left a lot to be desired. There should be more information around and the offer of drinks I think

Damian B

Am I the only person to think that the Shard doesn't look/feel that tall? It's an optical illusion, perhaps. It looks... dainty. In contrast, when I stood under the WTC towers in the 90s they looked astonishingly tall: huge, blunt and wonderful. Just saying.

Lou

Im terrified of heights so when my 15 years old son asked to go to the Shard, I expected it to be an awful experience but I was amazed to find I actually wasnt as scared as Id imagined! We spent about an hour and a half up there and it was fantastic. The only down fall is the expense!