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The Shard, London

The Shard (also referred as the Shard of Glass and Shard London Bridge) is currently the tallest building in the UK and the fourth tallest in Europe. The 95-storey spire-like skyscraper stands at 310 metres (1,016 ft) and located in Southwalk (near London Bridge) in Central London. At its height, the Shard is a recognisable landmark and dominates London’s skyline.

The Shard is the work of Italian architect Renzo Piano. The skyscraper’s construction began in March 2009 and inaugurated on July 2012. The glass-clad pyramidal tower comprises of 11,000 glass panels, equivalent to the size of 10 football fields. The Shard earned first place in the Emporis Skyscraper Award, hailed by judges as an immediately recognisable skyscraper and considered as London's new emblem.

The Shard by Alvesgaspar


The Shard features 72 habitable floors including an Indoor Viewing Gallery on the 69th floor and an Outdoor Viewing Gallery on the 72nd floor. A spire extends from the 72nd floor for another 65 metres (215 feet). Entrance to the Shard is on the ground floor while the retail and office reception area occupy the first and second floors. Offices, residences, restaurants and a hotel occupy the Shard from the 4th to 65th floors. The observation decks offer the highest views of London and up to 65 km (40 miles) on a clear day.

See & Do

To get to the observation decks, enter the Shard from Joiner Street and then pass through security. Reaching the top requires taking a lift (elevator) and than transferring to another lift on the 33rd floor. The high-speed lifts take about a minute to reach the top but the ride is very smooth and you can hardly feel that you are moving. The lifts use multimedia innovatively to create the visual effect of ascending when the lifts are going up and descending when the lifts are going down.

Observation deck on the 69th floor by Smuconlaw

Get off the lift on the 68th floor and then walk up to the 69th floor to the Indoor Viewing Gallery, a huge enclosed space surrounded by glass windows. Further up on the 72nd floor is the Outdoor Viewing Gallery, an open-air observation deck offering a more thrilling experience with the wind blowing above you and exposed to the weather. Being the tallest building in London, the observation decks offers the best views of London from all four angles. The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf are clearly visible from the observation decks.

View from the Shard by Smuconlaw

The ‘tell:scope’ on the 69th floor observation deck allows users to see in greater detail than the standard binoculars or telescope found at other observation towers. The ‘tell:scope’ is interactive and can identify over 200 landmarks and places of interests on the HD display screen. It is also able to provide information in 10 different languages. You can stay as long as you like on the decks during opening hours but there are no toilets at the top. So be sure to answer the call of nature before going to the decks.

Visiting the Shard

The observation decks at the Shard open daily throughout the year starting at 10 a.m. However, the closing time varies between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., closing later at night from mid-March to October and earlier from November to mid-March. The closing time also depends on special events taking place at the decks. You can purchase tickets on the day or in advance from the ticket desk or online from official View from the Shard website. There is a 15% discount for purchasing in advance.

London Bridge Station serves the Northern and Jubilee Lines and is the nearest London Underground station from the Shard. Borough (Underground) Station serves the Northern Line but slightly further about 500 meters (550 yards) away. Monument Station is about the same distance but across the River Thames, which you have to walk across Tower Bridge to the Shard. The station serves the District and Circle, Waterloo and City, Northern and Central Lines as well as the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

The Shard on the Map

32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK

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