We were fortunate to get preview tickets to see the Shard last week before the official opening this weekend. We have watched the Shard go up over the last few years always wondering what the views would be like and it was great to get the chance to finally see it. Our slot was 10am and we turned up 15 minutes before to be told to come back closer to the time. We decided to take the escalators up alongside the Shard where you get a better view of it from it’s base.. we also notice how cleaned up London Bridge station had become. I actually remember that the site of the Shard was the Price Waterhouse Coupers building where I actually did some temporary work there inputting data for a couple of weeks.
Anyway, once we got inside, we admired how good it looked inside.. dark colours and steel (like a smart bachelors pad) was the look and feel. The queue went along rather quickly, the airport type scanners also working efficiently (I guess thats because I didn’t have to take off my belt and shoes) and then we were quickly ushered up the first set of lifts to the 33rd floor. When you get off that floor to make your way up to the 68th floor where the viewing tower is you do see the lift murial which lights up showing where the lifts are within the building.. a nice touch.
The lifts zip up the floors so quickly that you actually don’t feel the motion.. you only know you’re going up by looking at the lift status screen and the sensation of your ears popping.
The views were pretty amazing. The 68th floor viewing platform had the computerised binocular viewers where you could zoom in and look at the views getting more information about the buildings where your cursor landed. There was a night and day view and the images look pretty good but they weren’t in realtime. Metok said that there was a realtime mode but I didn’t actually use it. It was a little warm on the 68th floor and some of the windows were a little steamy which obscured the views.
You can walk upstairs to the next viewing platform which is open air so you don’t get the condensation forming on the windows. The views here are clearer but you don’t get the viewing binoculars. Because it is open air, it’s exposed to the elements and if it were raining, I don’t suppose you’ll get a lot of people who would venture out here.
We noticed that there were a few more floors up from here but I don’t know if this would be available to the paying public. Certainly, there were still some workmen barriers signalling that work was not finished.
I am not sure if I would pay the £25 to see the view (that’s £25 if you prepay or £30 on the door). You would need to ensure that you come up on a clear day to get the maximum benefit but if you prepay then you can never tell what it’ll be like. Still, we made a video of our trip so if you’re not in London any time soon or have no intention to go up it.. you can still watch our video! Enjoy!