If you're a thrill-seeker and not afraid of vertigo, on your next trip to London you can't miss out on what has become the city's latest tourist attraction: the panoramic viewpoint The View.
Located in The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, it is, along with the famous London Eye, the best place to see London from above. Want to know how to get tickets? Read on!
The most convenient way to enjoy the best view of London.
If you are planning your trip to London and want to make sure you have time to enjoy the most spectacular viewpoint in Europe, the best thing to do is to book your ticket online at the best price.
As this is a very popular viewing platform in London, the best option to guarantee access on the day you want is to buy tickets for The Shard online in advance from €39. This way, you'll have direct access and make sure you don't miss out on your visit.
An ideal way to enjoy the best panoramic views of the city from a height of 244 metres and a distance of 64 kilometres. You can also have the option of enjoying a premium experience by adding a glass of champagne.
Why I like this option: I'm not exaggerating if I say that The Shard observation deck is the one with the most amazing views of the British capital, even more than the London Eye, as its height is almost double that of the famous Ferris wheel.
Recommended if... you fancy visiting this architectural marvel without having to queue for tickets at the door.
How to buy tickets
At Hellotickets you can buy tickets for The Shard's The View in advance at a price of £39. To do so, you will have to choose the exact time of your visit. The intervals are every 15 minutes. This way, you will have the possibility to cancel for free.
You also have the option to buy them on the skyscraper's website but you have to do it well in advance. Note that along with the London Eye, The Shard is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of London and receives many visitors.
Prices for The Shard
Entry to The Shard skyscraper is not discounted on any day of the week and there are no concessions for any groups, except for children under 3 years old who get in free. You can buy them for a price from 39 € in Hellotickets. Also, if you want to enjoy a superior experience you can enjoy a glass of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut champagne for a price starting from 57 €. Read the following article if you want more details about the prices of The Shard.
However, if you are looking to save a few pounds, you can always buy the London Explorer Pass from 57 € and you will benefit from a series of discounts both in The Shard and in the main attractions of the city. See below for all the information on the London Explorer Pass.
Opening times for The Shard
The Shard observation deck is open from Wednesday to Sunday, during the summer months from 10am to 10pm continuously and in the winter months from 10am to 8pm. However, opening hours may vary due to special events. So I recommend that you visit the official website to confirm the opening and closing times before your visit.
Also, please note that the last entrance is one hour before the official closing time and the restaurants close approximately 30 minutes before closing time.
How long does it take to see The Shard?
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour. You can use the first 45 minutes to enjoy the view from the observation deck and then spend the remaining time relaxing in The View bar with a glass of champagne.
Isabel's Traveler Tip
Saturdays and Sundays are when The Shard receives the most visitors so if you want to visit at the weekend, I recommend you go early to confirm your preferred time of visit.
What is The View from The Shard like?
If I had to describe it in a few words, this viewpoint is a must-see and absolutely thrilling experience. To be up there looking down over London and the Thames from the highest observatory in Western Europe is just amazing. You get the impression that time and the city stand still before your eyes.
It all starts when you arrive at the entrance to The Shard, in the London Bridge district. When you look up from the ground, you feel like an ant as you see how this colossus seems to have no end.
It gives you an idea of the magnificent views that await you at the top and the excitement builds. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, little by little.
The ultra-fast lifts at The Shards
When you enter The Shard with your ticket, you go through an airport-style security check and within minutes you are guided by the skyscraper's staff to the lift you need to take to The View. The complex has 44 lifts in total, but there are 2 that lead to the spectacular views from the top.
As in other famous observatories such as Top of the Rock or The Edge in New York, the lifts in The Shard are also interactive, as panoramic images of London are projected on their walls as a foretaste of what you will see at the observation deck. With these ultra-fast lifts , in less than a minute I climbed 68 floors without even realising it. Wow!
Entering The View
As the highest observatory in the city, The View offers arguably the best aerial view of London.
It is divided into three floors, two of which are enclosed and an open terrace. Number 69 is a glassed-in floor offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the British capital. At such a height, everything can be seen as if it were a toy model: St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the River Thames, the Town Hall, the Gherkin, the London Eye and many other sites.
The truth is that here you spend a very entertaining time scanning the city's landscape to identify its tourist attractions one by one. Also, on this floor you will find the digital telescopes with touch screens "tell:scopes" that allow you to see the city both day and night, zooming in and out and receiving real-time information about London's main attractions to understand its past and present.
The pinnacle of The View
But, if you ask me, for me the experience takes it up a notch when you reach the top of The View on the 72nd floor of the skyscraper. After climbing a short flight of stairs you'll reach The Shard's uncovered observation deck from where on a clear day you'll have stunning panoramic views of up to 40 miles around.
The feeling you get here is that of standing on the edge of a cliff as you feel the impact of the air on your face. Everything seems small and immense at the same time! Your adrenaline is pumping and your skin will inevitably crawl if you have any respect for heights. The occasion is worth it, so make the most of the moment to take all the videos and selfies you want of the visit.
If you like thrills, I promise you that seeing London at your feet from The Shard, hundreds of metres up in the air, is a thrilling sensation you won't forget.
The perfect finale to a visit to The View
As it's not every day you get to see a place as spectacular as this, we wanted to spend more time in The Shard enjoying the atmosphere and we took advantage of the visit to have a drink at the observation deck bar (there is a bar on the 69th and 72nd floors) as the entrance fee includes a glass of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut champagne if you select this option when booking.
As the prices on the menu are not very cheap, I recommend you choose this option if you don't want to pay too much for a drink. Having a drink up there with those wonderful views is a great way to round off a visit, isn't it?
When is the best time of day to visit The Shard?
I would almost say that the experience at The Shard depends more on the weather in London than the time of day, as on a sunny day you'll see more of the city than on a rainy one, but really the views at The View are amazing at any time of the day.
However, my favourite time is at sunset. Watching the sun set over London and the River Thames as the lights of the city slowly illuminate is unparalleled - it's a magical feeling!
One of the most beautiful experiences you'll have on your trip and one that I highly recommend.
Isabel's Traveler Tip
On a clear day you can see for 40 miles around. Look closely and you'll even see the Houses of Parliament.
How to get to The Shard?
The Shard is located in the historic district of London Bridge, close to such interesting places as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the modern Town Hall, The Borough Market and HMS Belfast. Nearby you will also find many trendy restaurants and bars to stop off at after your visit to the skyscraper.
There are several ways to get to The Shard:
- Underground: Northern and Jubilee lines from London Bridge Underground Station.
- Bus: Buses 43, 48, 141, 149 and 521.
- Train: Southern and South Eastern trains from London Bridge Station.
Getting to know The Shard: a bit of history
In 2012, the modern architecture of the prestigious Renzo Piano changed the London skyline forever and in just a few years it has become one of the icons of the British capital. The Shard was born with the idea of being a vertical city where "people could work, live and relax".
This 87-storey skyscraper has offices (floors 3-28), restaurants (31-33), the Shangri-La hotel (34-52), several private flats (53-65), The View observation deck (68-72) and the spire (73-87), open at the top through which the building "breathes" and releases the heat generated inside. The Shard was built with an ecological vocation. No less than 95% of the materials used in its construction are recycled and the huge glass window that covers the entire skyscraper was designed with photovoltaic panels.
But Renzo Piano's project not only sought to erect the tallest skyscraper in Western Europe but also to regenerate the London Bridge area, one of the busiest railway stations in the city. Its entrance was renovated and it now houses a shopping ar cade called The Retail Arcade managed by The Shard. You can take advantage of your visit to wander around the shopping centre and do some shopping.
Did you know...?
Before Moscow's Mercury City Tower (339 metres) was built, The Shard skyscraper (310 metres) held the record for the tallest building in Europe.
Other breathtaking views in London
If you are one of those travellers who love to enjoy London from above, another must-see is The London Eye, which was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at the beginning of the 21st century until it was overtaken by the Nachang Star (China) and the Singapore Flyer (Singapore) later.
The London Eye is a panoramic rotating observatory (360º) and an icon of the British capital. You'll find it right in the centre of London, in the Riverside Building in County Hall Westminster Bridge Road.
Be prepared with your camera because from here you'll get some spectacular photos of Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace that you can add to your collection of the London skyline starting at The Shard.
If you want to know how to get on the world's most famous Ferris wheel, I recommend you take a look at the article London Eye tickets where you'll learn how to get the cheapest tickets with priority access.