The View from the Shard – London’s Skyline At Its Best

If you’re looking for London’s ultimate awe-inspiring view you need to look up, 310m up to be exact. The great glass spire of the Shard, London’s newest top travel experience, has split public opinion as much as it has split the city skyline. Some love it, and some hate it, but few would deny it boasts the best view in town to complete your perfect vacation.

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Designed by master architect Renzo Piano, the Shard’s gleaming exterior is made up of 11,000 glass panels that taper into pointed spires at its top. At over 95 storeys the Shard is the second tallest tower in Western Europe, having been knocked off the top spot in 2011 by Moscow’s Mercury Tower. However, it retains it fame as the highest viewing platform in London.

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The View from the Shard hosts over a million visitors each year. While the view is the main attraction, the Shard experience starts from the moment you board one of the 44 high-speed lifts. These ‘kaleidoscopic’ capsules race to the first of two viewing platforms at an ear-popping speed of six meters per second. When the doors slide open at the 69th floor, you’re meet by a breathtaking view.

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With the whole of London spread out below, you could spend hours spotting the countless landmarks. The interactive touch screen telescopes let you do just that. Pinpointing over 200 sights between the scores of historic buildings – including the London Eye, the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral – the telescopes provide details on each attraction, while expert guides are on hand to answer any questions you may have.

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A few storeys higher, you get to taste the crisp air on the 72nd floor. With the tower’s glass spikes ending above your head, you can hear the city as well as see it. The sound of car engines punctuated with the occasional blaring of a horn mixes with the roaring wind while the view stretching up to 40 miles in each direction is truly unforgettable.

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Of course, this is London so there’s always a chance the weather might not play ball. If you’re unlucky enough to visit on a day then the tower’s pinnacle is enveloped by so many grey clouds you can’t even spy Tower Bridge, you can return free of charge anytime over the next three months.

Charlotte Claxton

Charlie is a freelance writer who specialises in travel, luxury and food. Having earned her chops as a staff writer for international travel brands and digital marketing companies, she now writes for freelance clients and runs her own travel blog. Charlie grew up in London and has since lived in Canada and Australia. She currently writes from various cafés, hammocks and beaches as she travels the world, bringing LuxeInACity readers first-hand insight into the best luxury experiences worldwide. Get to know Charlie better at www.charlieclaxtonwrites.com