London from above

The tallest building in Western Europe, The Shard was designed by architect Renzo Piano as a 'vertical city', with a plan to house offices, shops and the Shangri-La hotel. With the location at London Bridge, it would also be right in the centre of one of London's busiest transport hubs. Opened in 2012, it's a relatively new addition to the 'to do' list of attractions in London, but one of the best. In fact, you could effectively do London and its surrounding areas, just by spending some time staring down at it, up on the viewing platform on the 72nd floor.

The View from the Shard, Summer Garden, Shard Garden, Shard Viewing

Here, you're level with the clouds and can see up to 40 miles on a clear day. The platform allows for a full 360 degree view, and the floor-to-ceiling glass is a stunning opportunity for any photographers. You could easily spend a fair bit of time taking it all in, as helicopters and aircraft bob around the sky at your level, and while away some time watching London tick below you. It's the most elaborate game of I Spy too, as you try and spot some of London's landmarks dwarfed into the skyline.

There's always something going on, and during our visit the floor was taken over by the Pimms Sky Garden, where you could neck fine cocktails while relaxing on a deckchair watching someone play croquet on some astroturf.  With the blazing sunshine we had on our visit, it made for a quirky English picnic in the sky type day out.

The View from the Shard, Summer Garden, Shard Garden, Shard Viewing

When you've done your viewing, there's the souvenir option of photos of your experience available to purchase, and all manner of bits and bobs in the gift shop.

If you fancy a nibble, there's a range of six food solutions, catering to all purses and tastes. From afternoon tea on the 32nd floor or cocktails up on the 52nd, you can also book a package that incorporates the dining option of choice.

The View from The Shard is open daily from 9am to 10pm. Winter hours, starting in October, are Sunday to Wednesday, 10am to 7pm; and Thursday to Saturday, 10am-10pm. Last viewings start one hour before closing. 

Buy your attraction tickets here

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