We’ve admired The Shard from a distance for a long time now. We’ve seen her sparkle in summer sunshine, glisten in rain and glow in the Christmas lights of London. My kids have dreamed of going up the Shard for years, so I thought I’d better take them. Experiences and how to go up the shard, from a bad mother, acrophobe and travel blogger. Booking tickets for the Shard and what’s at the top.
Not going up The Shard has been a major oversight of mine as the mother of a devoted Whovian.
All Doctor Who loving little boys want to go up The Shard as their hero did in “The Bells of St. John”, where London’s tallest building became home to The Great Intelligence.
Bad Mummy has a terrible fear of heights and no anti-grav. I got a chance to put my terrible mothering right today.
How did the kids handle it and how did it go with my severe fear?
If you want more on my acrophobia you might want to see me cope with the terrifying bridges in the Everest region.
There are a lot of images in this post so load times may be slow, apologies, but they were worth sharing. Could you do us a favour and save a couple to Pinterest? It helps us a lot, just hover and click.
Some Facts About The Shard.
- The Shard observation area is on the 68th-72nd floors 800ft (244m) above the city.
- Visitors can see for 40 miles (64km) on a clear day.
- The Shard is in Southwark on the south bank of the Thames, not far from London Bridge, Borough Market, Tower Bridge and The Tower of London.
- The observation deck is privately operated and is what is called The View From The Shard.
- There is a hefty admission fee of between £25 and £29 per adult. Buying advanced tickets saves you money. Check View From the Shard prices here.
- Base Jumpers jumped from the Shard many times, with one jump being filmed from a helmet camera.
- In 2012, 40 people, including HRH Prince Andrew, rapelled from the tower’s 87th floor to raise funds for charities. I’d rather them than me!
- Topping 309.6768 metres (1,016ft) at its pinnacle, The Shard became the tallest building in the European Union in December 2011
- The Shard’s design is inspired by the railway tracks at nearby London Bridge station.
- The Shard is almost 200m taller than The London Eye, which stands at 135m.
How to Go Up The Shard, Stairs or Glass Elevators?
I’m very relieved that no climbing of stairs is required, neither were glass elevators.
Instead, we were transported to the top in two totally un-scary and fairly normal lifts. The ride was made more enjoyable by spectacular video screens in the ceilings.
The elevators climb rapidly, at 6m per second, but the ride is smooth, the only discomfort for us was a little ear popping.
What’s At The Top of The Shard?
There isn’t much at the top of The Shard, to be honest. There is a viewing gallery that runs right around the building and there were electronic zoom telescopes at the time of our visit.
The gallery is totally glassed-in and feels quite safe.
On the top viewing floor the glass rises to well above head level before ending jaggedly, this floor feels a little less sturdy with wooden floors and exposure to the elements.
There is a small gift shop below the 1st viewing gallery.
The Views From The Shard.
This is why they come. The views are spectacular.
The London Eye, one of my favourite attractions in London, looks tiny from The Shard.
I was actually shocked by how much taller The Shard is. It’s an incredible building.
You really can’t appreciate the vast height of The Shard without going up it.
The views from The Shard are incredible. You can see forever, all of London laid out before you.
It’s rather like being in a plane, the huge distance makes ground features tiny, even huge London landmarks are miniaturised by the incredible height.
Is Going Up The Shard Scary?
For me, going up The Shard was a little scary. I don’t like heights and my legs turned to jelly at first, solidifying more and more the longer we spent up there.
The kids weren’t bothered by the height in the slightest and rushed to press their noses up against the spotless glass of the outer walls.
There were no glass floors or other ultra-scary, nerve-testers on The View From The Shard observation decks.
Shard v London Eye
We have reviewed both London’s Shard and The London Eye. Both offer the visitor excellent views of London.
The Shard is significantly taller than The London Eye, but the London Eye has a better location, overlooking The River Thames almost opposite the Houses of Parliament with views towards Buckingham Palace.
The Shard is further east with views of Tower Bridge.
Check out our London Eye review here. See why we prefer this attraction.
How Did We Book Our Shard Tickets?
We enjoyed our Shard Experience as guests of Tinggly Experiences. We didn’t just go up The Shard, our experience included a 2-course lunch at a restaurant in nearby St. Katherine Dock, a lovely way to spend a morning.
Tinggly offers experiences like this all over the globe, a perfect gift for people like us who value experience over possessions (they say this is a key to happiness). Walk-in visitors were welcome at The Shard when we visited, but you should save money by booking in advance. Current regulations and opening times may have changed. We usually use this company to book tickets in advance, online, and are happy to recommend them.
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Monday 11th of May 2015
I agree that the views are fantastic and it's worth a visit, but it is so expensive, isn't it? However, there are often some good deals where kids go free, so always worth looking into those too. I work literally right opposite, so I see it every day!