View of London from Shard Experience
View of London from Shard Experience
I decided to do something different this Valentine's day. After a bit of searching things to do on Valentine's day, I liked the option of viewing London from the top floor of the tallest building of western Europe! So, I booked the tickets about 5 days ago. There were some slots still left. It was a surprise for my Valentine. She thought I'd taken her to London Bridge for a walk and a dinner perhaps. We took the northern line to London Bridge and from the exit of the London bridge tube station it was just aout 5 minutes walk to Shard. I'd looked up again on the tickets website and I knew that the tickets were sold out. So, I purposely asked my Valnetine to check for tickets with the 2 ladies standing at the entrance of Shard to greet people.
They told her that the tickets were worth £25 and that it was all sold out except for a few tickets available for the 9 PM slot. She was a bit disapponted, which was when I showed her the printout of the pre booked tickets! She was quite surprised and happy. I handed over the printout to her, which she showed to one of the 2 ladies who was understandably puzzled. She let us in. After climbing a few stairs, we saw a big screen which was showing randon photos related to Shard. Just next to that screen was the 2nd entrance to the Shard. A couple greeted us and pointed to the tills where we could collect our main tickets by showing the printouts. There were about 4 tills. The background of the tills and the tills themselves were quite posh looking. The lady serving us at the till told us that our time slot to enter the Shard was between 7 and 7:30 pm. After entering we could stay inside till 00:00 midninght! That comforted us as we didn't have to hurry for anything, that way. There are male and female toilets next to ticket counter and also a small place to sit where people were waiting for theirslot to come. There is a shop next to the counter where all sorts of collectables and souveniers related to Shard were there. I thought they were a bit expensive. For example, a glass box or cuboid which had an image of Shard embedded in the centre of it costed £50 and an umbrella costed about £30. At about 7:05 we went to the turnstiles where a security guard was checking the bodies of all the people entering. Then there is airport style security check where our bags and jackets were checked via some sort of scanner and then a quick picture of I and my Valentine's was taken. Then we along with some more people in the queue were let into elevators which looked pretty cool. These elevators were quite fast. I don't quite remember the speed of them but the Elevator operator did tell us about the speed. There was a graphical display in the elevator which showed the floor numbers as we went up. The staff seemed friendly with smiley faces. We got off to some floor from where we took another elevator and Within no time we reached the 68th floor. There is a bar on that floor where you can buy Champaigne, drinks etc. There were glass walls from all sides along the perimeter. The view was just awesome! I could see many spots like tower bridge, London eye, canary wharf, st Paul's, Liverpool street, gherkin and many many more.
There were some cool telescope like devices which you could adjust to see see in various directions. Moreover, which you saw through them, the names of those places pop up on the electronic screen. The level of zoom and clarity was also very good. The view of London from the top was just amazing and breathtaking. From the 68th floor, we climbed up 3 sets of stairs which led us to the 72nd floor! There is a glass door to come out in almost open space area. This are was nothing but the terrace of Shard! It was very windy and you could hear the strong roaring wind. It felt as if the wind blow away the open flaky parts of Shard, But I think it is very safe up there. You can see the open top of shard which seems open from outside or broken. Official shard photographers approach you to ask if you want to take pictures. You may take pictures and then later decide whether you want to buy them or not. After viewing the top floor you can walk down to the 68th floor. From where you will be let to elevators to the ground floor. Here you you can skip the queue and take the exit directly or wait in the queue and buy the pictures of you taken by the official shard photographers. There are 2 sets of pics. One being the original pics taken on the 68th floor with original background and the others being the quick pics taken during the entering phase(mentioned in the beginning of this article), with a fake background. 2 pics embedded in a photo frame / album costs 30 pounds and if you want all pics along with the 2 page album in a CD, it should be £38 pounds. I bought all the pictures. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I went when it was dark and fully lit London looked just beautiful!