London

The Ultimate Guide to visiting the view from The Shard

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Open: Everyday: 10:00AM to 10:00PM

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Price: £24.95

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Time Needed: 1,5 hours

When looking across the London skyline, it’s pretty hard to miss The Shard; (it is 306-metres high and the second tallest free-standing structure in the UK, after all). The Shard, (also known as “The Shard of Glass” or “The London Bridge Tower”), boasts 87 stories, 12 floors of residence, three restaurants, an open-air observation deck, and a viewing gallery. But for visitors and tourists, The Shard offers an amazing viewing experience of the London skyline that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the city – or even the world.

The Shard was built to resemble “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London;” (hence the name) and was first constructed in 2009. The building contains facades of angled glass planes which reflect both the sunlight and the sky, and in doing so its appearance miraculously changes with the weather and seasons. The Shard was also built to maintain stability under “onerous” conditions thanks to its post-tensioned concrete floors, load-bearing pillars, and a tapering shape which allows it to sway to a maximum of 400 millimeters.

Because of its unique and ground-breaking design, The Shard won first place at the 2014 Emporis Skyscraper Awards, which recognizes buildings over 100 metres completed in the previous year. The judges of the competition decided to award The Shard with the winning prize because of its immediately recognizable construction and its representation as “London’s new emblem.”

The Shard has appeared in several different movies, films and TV shows since its completion, such as The Snowman And The Snowdog, in a 2013 Doctor Who episode “The Bells of Saint John” and even a 2014 episode of The Simpsons titled “Treehouse of Horror.”

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The View from the Shard Highlights

The View From The Shard (or The Shard’s main viewing gallery) is The Shard’s primary highlight that shouldn’t be missed by any visitor.

The View From The Shard is located at level 69 (spanning three levels of decks up to level 72) and it allows visitors to view a spectacular 360-degree view of the London skyline. On a clear day visitors can easily see up to 40 miles (or 64 km) of London’s skyline, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge station and even the Houses of Parliament.

Visitors can also use The Shard’s digital telescopes (or “tell:scopes”) which have touch screens so you can zoom in on each tourist attraction, and read more on over 200 different tourist attractions in London. You can also view some pre-recorded time views of the city, so you can see what the tourist attractions look like during different times of the day or night.

At level 72, where the two separate panels of The Shard taper together, visitors can view the sky through the slanted glance and open-air tip, which provides a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience.

On the ground-floor of The Shard, visitors can watch a screen play footage of London’s various attractions (like the Canary Wharf, London Eye and Mudchute Park and Farm), and view a panel illustrating some of the most recognizable faces of London (like The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Spice Girls, and many more).

Even taking the lift is a tourist activity in itself, thanks to a lightning speed which can take you up the higher levels of the building within seconds.

Special Tips

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Dress warmly (even during the summer months) as you will be “exposed to the elements” when standing outside on the viewing platform

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If you can, try and visit The Shard during sunrise or sunset; (you can view the sunrise and sunset times on The Shard's official website)

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Be sure to make a pit stop at the toilets on the 68th floor!

Getting There

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Address

Railway Approach, London SE1 9SG, United Kingdom (See map).

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By Tube

The nearest station is London Bridge (a two-minute walk away)

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By Train

The nearest station is London Bridge (a two-minute walk away).

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By Bus

You can reach The Shard via routes 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 141, 149, 343, 381, 521 and RV1.

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By car

The nearest car park is a five-minute walk away; (there are no parking or drop-off facilities at The Shard).

Visiting The View from the Shard

Be prepared to schedule at least 45 to 60 minutes if you want to visit The Shard’s viewing gallery, and you will also need to pass through an airport-style security scanner once you enter the building.

Hand-held electronic guides with headphones are available for all visitors, which give detailed information on the different landmarks you can see from the viewing platforms during your visit.

If you happen to visit The Shard on a rainy or foggy day, you will be issued a free ticket so you can return to The Shard within three months. If during your visit you miss out on seeing at least three major London landmarks (The London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge or One Canada Square), you can speak to a member of staff at the ticket desk on the first level for your free return ticket.

Ticket prices and Opening Hours

Unfortunately the admission prices of The Shard are as steep as its height, but don’t let that deter you from visiting this fantastic tourist attraction in London.

You can save money by purchasing pre-booked tickets (which cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children), and there are also a limited amount of “walk-up” tickets available each day (£29.95 for adults and £23.95 for children) if you don’t mind waiting for the next available session. Otherwise, you could pay as much £100 (per adult or per child) if you want to go up to The Shard’s viewing gallery immediately.

Children under the age of four can get into The Shard for free, however their tickets need to be booked beforehand through The Shard’s official website.

The Shard’s viewing platform (The View From The Shard) is open every day (except December 25th) from:

  • 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (with last entry at 9:30 p.m.) from April 1st to October 24th
  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entry at 6 p.m.) Sunday to Wednesday from October 25th to March 31st
  • 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last entry at 9 p.m.) Thursday to Saturday from October 25th to March 31st

Because The Shard also hosts numerous events throughout the year, opening times may vary. Be sure to check out the official website before you visit

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