We visited The Shard on a sunny afternoon in April. As we wanted to make sure that we visited on a fine day to make the most of the views we waited until a couple of days before our trip to London to make the booking. We had not been sure if this relatively late booking was possible but there were tickets available for all the time periods – this may have been because it was for a Tuesday, I do not know how you would fare at weekends or bank holidays. We wished to book in advance as it was cheaper – £24.95 each rather than £29.95 if you just turn up. The website address for The View (the name given to the viewing platform etc part of The Shard) is www.theviewfromtheshard.com.
We arrived a few minutes early and were shown straight into the area where the shop, toilets etc are and, after going through a security check, were guided to the first of the two lifts. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and there were interesting scenes and facts to look at on the walls while we waited for just a few minutes. The lifts were very smooth and swift – taking us up many floors more efficiently than a normal lift does for just a couple of floors.
The views were stunning and we spent over an hour just looking around and identifying places we knew. There are telescopes available (£1 a time) which seemed very popular as they superimposed the names of the buildings as you focussed on them. We preferred just looking out of the huge windows. The views were great in all directions but, because of the position of the sun our best views were over the Tower of London and towards the Olympic Park. Another time of day would probably been better for The Eye etc. There is also another viewing deck up a couple of flights of stairs which is partially open but there is very little difference in the views – good, however, if you like fresh air.
All in all thoroughly recommended – even if a bit expensive.