My husband Peter has been fascinated by the construction of The Shard since the beginning and took his first photo of it in 2010. Yesterday we excitedly travelled by train to London Bridge Station for our long-awaited visit to it. We arrived when it first opened at 10am so were able to buy our tickets without queueing and were then directed by friendly and helpful guides, to the lift where we zoomed up to floor 33. There we changed into another lift which rapidly took us up to floor 68. Just a few steps later we entered the amazingly light and spacious viewing gallery. That’s what it’s called but that term might worry anyone who doesn’t like heights. Actually it’s just like a spacious and airy room with floor-length windows from which you look out all over London and into the distance.
You can walk right round so see out in every direction and there are excellent state-of-the-art touchscreens that are easy to use and they identify lots of the buildings and landmarks. We had taken our grandsons to London Bridge and HMS Belfast recently so it was wonderful to be able to see and photograph them now from right up here. Though it was a bit misty in the distance, we could easily pick out the Thames Barrier and even the Wembley Arch. Peering down on the trains running along the tracks, the people crossing the bridges and the boats on the Thames, it seemed as if we were looking at a miniature layout.
There is no restriction on the time one can spend up there – just as well, as we kept walking round on this floor for well over an hour, before going up to Level 72 which is the open-air viewing gallery. It was decidedly chiller out here and we even had a few spots of rain to add to the atmosphere! We stood transfixed gazing up skywards at the shards of glass that form the spire and give the building its name. As we slowly made our way around the windows up here we kept spotting other buildings that we recognised and many more that we didn’t. It was interesting to see the number with roof gardens.
It really was an awesome experience – Peter even commenting “I could live up here!” but eventually we decided that it was time to come back down to earth. We both needed to go to the toilet before we descended, and were so glad we did! Talk about a loo with a view!
A wonderful day and we'd encourage anyone to make the trip.