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The Shard

Shard in front of bright sunset
Click on images for slideshow © The View from The Shard.

Rising above the spires of London that are said to have inspired its design, the Shard opened to the public in 2013.

On completion, it was Europe's tallest building and the UK's second tallest free-standing structure. The record for the tallest building in Europe has since been taken by the 339-metre (1,112-foot) high Mercury City Tower in Moscow.

Distant view including The Shard and Tower Bridge
© The View from The Shard.

Where Did the Name Come From?

The name "Shard" was unintentionally provided by English Heritage, who criticized the intended plans as being like "a shard of glass through the heart of historic London". The name stuck.

Sunset view of Thames Bridges and The Shard
© The View from The Shard.

It is indeed a modern spire-like tower of glass. It reaches 72 floors into the sky above the more historic buildings of the 1000-year-old Tower of London and the historic St-Mary-at-Hill and St Margaret Pattens churches.

Interior Display of London Landmarks
© The View from The Shard.

Facts and Figures

The Shard stands 309.6 metres (1,016 feet) high at its highest point and the exterior of this contemporary building has 11,000 glass panes.

It was designed as a vertical city with high profile office space, the Shangri-La five-star hotel (floors 34-52), luxury apartments (floors 53-65), and several bars and restaurants (floors 31-33).

Couple looking out at view at night
© The View from The Shard.

At the very pinnacle, between the 68th and 72nd floors, are the stunning public viewing galleries with 360° views of the London Bridge to Tower Bridge area of London and far beyond.

Night Shot of Exterior from helicopter
© The View from The Shard.

Architecture and Investment

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Shard replaces the former Southwark Towers building which was demolished in 2008-9.

The Shard was constructed by Mace building contractors at an estimated cost of £435 million. However, it may turn out to be a very shrewd investment for its consortium of Qatari backers, as once fully leased its value will be in the region of £2.5 billion.

Fisheye view of thames during day
© Julian Shoquette

The Shard was officially opened with a stunning laser light show on 5 July 2012 by the Qatari Prime Minster and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

The View From The Shard

Visitors to the observation deck of London’s newest and most dynamic building will enjoy views in a 40 mile radius across London and beyond.

The Fašade
© Sellar
Looking down at men cleaning windows
© The View from The Shard.

The River Thames with its ferries, warships and pleasure boats, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the City of London, the London Eye and the walled Tower of London complex can all clearly be seen in the panoramic views as well as many more famous London landmarks.

Daytime view of Shard with river in background
© The View from The Shard.

Even the considerable admission fee will not deter an estimated 2 million visitors a year from visiting the five-storey observation gallery which is 245 metres (804 feet) above ground.

As well as the indoor viewing gallery on level 68, there is an open-air viewing gallery on level 72, which allows visitors to view inside the top of the building, including the "shards" disappearing into the sky.

Daytime view of Shard and Tower Bridge with blue sky
© The View from The Shard.

Although high, The View From The Shard still falls short of the Empire State Building observatory in New York City which is 373m (1224 feet) high.


People who have enjoyed the spectacular views from the Shard include the 40 people, along with the Duke of York, who abseiled down the structure to raise funds for charity.

Using telescope in View From The Shard
© The View from The Shard.

Other visitors include a number of uninvited "urban explorers" who trespassed to climb the metal structure during its construction and several BASE jumpers who illegally parachuted from the building.

Cleaning The Shard Windows on Ropes
© The View from The Shard.

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By Underground / Train

The entrance is on Joiner Street, which is easily accessible from London Bridge Underground Station (Northern and Jubilee line services), London Bridge Main Line Station (Via The Vaults), Tooley St and St Thomas St.

By Car

Unfortunately there are no parking or drop-off facilities.

By Bus

There is a bus station outside the main entrance to London Bridge Station. The buses that stop here include: 43, 48, 141, 149, 521

The Shard Postcode for SatNav: SE1 9SG


+44 (0) 844 499 7111 (Booking Line)
+44 (0) 344 499 7222

Joiner Street

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