Monday 21 September 2015

Check out this AMAZING view!

One day in rainy drizzly Cornwall, my partner and I had the passing conversation that it would be cool to go up the Shard in London. The shard is the newest building to adorn the London skyline and is currently the tallest building in Europe and has its very own viewing platform right at the top.

Thinking this would be a pretty cool thing to do and see but not really thinking that it would ever happen as London is nearly 300 miles away from us in Cornwall. However a few weeks ago I found myself standing at the bottom of The Shard looking up thinking 'Yes, Yes that is one MASSIVE building.
Standing at the bottom of the shard
After a few minutes standing at the base of this 87 storey skyscraper it wasn't long before we were being touted into a nice shiny entrance to 'The View'

It was a little strange, as you walked through to go into the underground station at London Tower Bridge you were in the old run down sections of the existing tower bridge train station. The main entrances to the shard were facing the road, glamorous entrances with expensive cars pulling up outside where people could stay in one of the £400 a night hotel rooms or dine in one of the several restaurants. Yet around the back of this rather elegant looking entrance and within the old train station underpass we were handed leaflets and ushered towards a brand new shiny glass door leading away from the dark and dingey old parts of the station.

With only a few minutes of shall we shan't we and a slight deliberation we were going through the glass doors to purchase our 'flight' tickets. It then suddenly dawned on me that I don't really like lifts!

This was actually going to be one pretty big journey in a lift. When I say I don't really like them, what I mean is that I actually hate them. If there are the options to take the stairs over using a lift then you will find me in the stairwell. It's not so much the claustrophobia of being in a small space it's the feeling of being launched up and the dizzy floating sensation you are left with even once the lift has stopped. The sensation similar to being on a boat, it's this that I don't like.

Suddenly I realise that we have paid our money, we have tickets in hand and we are being ushered to the departures security.

The whole experience of The View is pretty amazing and very well organised. Once you have your tickets you are sent through a departure style security area. Your bags are x-rayed and you go through a walk through metal detector as you would before boarding a plane.

Once you are through security you have your photograph taken and are given an iPod style device on a lanyard which acts as your audio guide for the experience. With lanyard and device hanging around our necks we are then enticed to the lift. This is where my heart skips several beats. It wasn't busy in the lift only myself, my partner and another couple. The member of staff explained that we would go up just 33 floors and then would change lifts and continue the rest of the journey in a separate lift.

The lift journey was over in a matter of seconds but I still hated it and the feeling of being launched up so high so fast made me feel pretty wobbly. When we arrived at the top we were 68 floors into the sky and a slight glimpse at the view confirmed just how high we were. I grabbed a seat and tuned into my headset to read about the building and watch videos on its construction and to be honest I felt as if I was completely ignoring the fact that I was actually in the building until my heart had stopped racing after being in the lift.

My partner was already up close to the glass, looking down at the roads below, using the digital viewing binoculars to learn about what's in the distance. I stood up to join him and finally started to enjoy the view. My hatred for lifts has always been there and on reflection this really wasn't a bad experience. A clean, modern, smooth, lift nothing at all like the dirty, run down, urine stained lifts of old multi story car parks that I'm quick to avoid.
Selfie at the top of The Shard London
These are the incredible views from the 68th floor of the shard. The thing I like most about the experience is that you aren't rushed through. It wasn't too busy and we were given as much time as we wanted to walk around and around the viewing platform. We were fascinated to stare into the distance from each angle. Looking east we could see in the distance the Queen Elizabeth the Second Bridge at Dartford. (I'm an ex Essex girl so this means Lakeside shopping centre!) On a clear day it is believed you can see 40 miles into the distance.

You could see the new Olympic park in Stratford, the London Eye, The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie. All the famous landmarks of the London skyline we could see all at the same time. 
The view from the Shard - London

The View from the roof garden at The Shard

The view from The Shard London

The view from The Shard London

The view from The Shard London

The view from The Shard London
Once we had a good look at the view we then started to look around more of the actual building itself. As my partner works at a building and architectural firm he was more interested in the construction and the building materials than I was but I was still intrigued about the building. How they constructed it in such a small space and how they have a team of window cleaners that go up and down the building every three months.
The framework of the building from the view from The Shard LondonThe view from The Shard London
From the top of The Shard they played calming music of bird song, it was a surreal experience to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the city of London one minute, then the next minute high above all the noise and energy in a really calm space.

The river thames from the shard

The river thames from the shard

The view from floor 72 at the shard - London

The view from floor 72 at the shard - London

Looking down from the top of the shard

The View, The Shard, London

Enjoying The View, The Shard, London
Once we had acclimatized to the view at level 68 we were then able to go up even higher via foot up to floor 72! This was an even more exhilarating experience as they called this the roof garden and it was quite literally that. With plants and greenery and the continuation of the bird song. The only difference up here was that we were actually in the open air!
The Roof Garden at The Shard London

The Roof Garden at The Shard London
The Shards of glass reach up into the sky at angles exposing open sections of the building. It was a surreal feeling to be so high up in the sky in the open air.
The Open Air Roof Garden at The Shard London

The view of London From The Shard
The best bit about the whole experience was the opportunity to have a drink 72 floors up into the London skyline in the open air. Although a little expensive it's the highest pint I've ever drunk!
Looking up to the top of The Shard LondonThe Bar at The Shard London

The Shard from the road

The whole experience was easy and enjoyable although expensive. It is definitely worth booking your tickets and time before you go as this saves £5 per person rather than paying on the day. The building and surrounding area still requires some work and there is extensive renovations going on at the bottom of The Shard which I would like to go back and see once complete.

I would highly recommend if you get the opportunity whilst in London to go up the Shard as the views really are simply stunning. I'd like to go again to watch the sunset and experience the night sky as feel this would be a completely different experience yet again.
The view across London from The Shard

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