Being at the top of The Shard building was a part of my 29th birthday surprise prepared by my fiancee. We went that day to London for one-day trip to visit a few less visited spots and round off our day on The Shard building on the evening. My fiancee’s plan stated, that we will stay on the top until sunset and next back to Cambridge from Liverpool Street station.

The Shard has been finished in 2009. Actually this is the highest building in Europe with 309.6m height. The Shard is one of the most prominent skyscrapers in London. Learn more here.

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Pic. 1 The Shard seen from St. Thomas street. Being close is hard to  cover whole building from bottom to the top.

We came to The Shard just before 5pm. That day in London was quite nervous, because of my broken phone, that made a difficult o navigate our route properly. We had admission at 5pm. We couldn’t enter to the building when late.

The highest floor on The Shard, accessible for visitors is 72th. It allowes you to reach slightly more than 270 m.a.g.l height. Still remains nearly 40 m to the very top of the building. Using the lift you can get into 70 floor and go upstairs for next 2 floors. There is the bar and another facilities on the very top.

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Pic. 2 The 70th floor of The Shard.
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Pic. 3 The interior the top of The Shard. View from 72th on 70th floor, where the virtual tour guide facilities are located.
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Pic. 4 Upper parts of the Shard are open. There are a few upper floors I think, but visitors are not allowed to go there.

Visiting The Shard was the best part of that trip. I very like panoramic views from high located places like mountain top or skyscrapers. It was one of the best experience to see remote places from the top of The Shard. I saw e.g Stokenchurch BT Tower, Southend at Sea and Stansted Airport. To identificate some another places I used the heywhatsthat website, where I have generated the panorama according to my position.

Panorama1
Pic. 5 Possible far up view from the Shard (close-up) (heywhatsthat.com).
Panorama2
Pic. 6 The far up view from The Shard with places captured on 11th September 2016, during my staying (heywhatsthat.com).

The Shard is a very high building, however it rises above London basin, which is around 150m-250m deep against surrounding area from the north and south. The north-west horizon is determined by Chiltern Hills, that stretches from more or less from Reading area through the south Oxfordshire (Stokenchurch) to Bucks & Herts with the highest wale-looking Coombe Hill, that rises above Wendover.

Stokenchurch
Pic. 7 The Stokenchurch BT Tower seen from The Shard (distance 60 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.
Coombe Hill
Pic. 8 View towards the highest part of Chiltern Hills, that encloses the north-west horizon. The highest Coombe Hill (262m.a.s.l.) beyond (distance 54 km), see in original size.

From the north you can see also that hills, that encloses the horizon far beyond, however there are not officially called. Chiltern Hills terminates on the Dunstable Downs. Towards north you can see multitude of hills partially free of forest. The most remarkable place, covered from the Shard by myself is Stansted Airport.

Royston
Pic. 9 View on Therfield Heath with telecomms transmitter towering above Royston (distance 57 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.
Stansted
Pic. 10 The Stansted Airport seen from The Shard (distance 49 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.

I am not well with Suffolk area, although I could see some hills far away, that I can classify to the Suffolk region.
In my opinion the most interesting part of the horizon is east, where everyone can spot the Thames Estuary with North Sea beyond. This area is to be seen Just right of the Canary Wharf skyscrapers. On the left the Southend bank is to be seen. This is the same place, that I have visited 2 weeks earlier. There is the longest pier in the World, that was hard to cover by myself from top of the Shard.

Southend
Pic. 11 The Southend-on-Sea bank, where the longest pier in the World is located (distance 57 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.
Thames estuary
Pic. 12 Thames Estuary seen from The Shard (distance 50-60 km). Picture cropped, see it in original size.
Grain Power Station
Pic. 13 The Grain Power Station – the tallest construction in Kent (244m)(57 km distance), cropped picture.
Dover transmitter
Pic. 14 Dover Transmitter mast barely visible (distance 97 km), 130mm.
Wrotham
Pic. 15 Wrotham Transmitter mast (distance 37 km). Cropped image, see in original size.

South east part of the horizon is occupied by North Downs hills. There are twin highlands with South Downs, protected by national park. The highlands, that consist South Downs National Park are to be seen on the south horizon.

Croydon transmitter
Pic. 16 The Crystal Palace Transmitter towering above south London (distance 10 km). See it in original size.
Croydon
Pic. 17 The Croydon city centre panorama with towering Saffron Square (colorful tower)(distance 15 km). Cropped image, see in original size.
South Downs1
Pic. 18 Remote South Downs region seen from The Shard (distance 60-80 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.
South Downs2
Pic. 19 Western part of the South Downs seen from the Shard (distance 80 km).
Richmond
Pic. 20 View on the Richmond Park and remote Farleigh Wallop hill near Basingtoke (distance 78 km). Picture cropped, see in original size.

Most of those pictures has been captured with Nikkor 300mm lenses. I can admit, that the conditions were very favourable that day. It fred me to enjoy the furthest views, that are possible to make from the top of the highest skyscraper in Europe.
Now take a look for closer objects, that are situated in London. See the photos below, and try to recognize those places on your own. I mean many interesting spots in Greater London, that you will able to see, when you get on top of the Shard. I described a few, however some wide-angle photos may show much more objects, that you would be able to see.

Wembley
Pic. 21 The Wembley stadium seen from The Shard, see in original size.
BT tower
Pic. 22 The BT Tower seen from The Shard, see in original size.
Canary wharf
Pic. 23 The Canary Wharf seen from The Shard, see in original size.
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Pic. 24. The Strata residential building seen from The Shard.
St gregor
Pic. 25 St. George Tower with St. George Wharf seen from The Shard.
Olympics
Pic. 26 The Olympics Stadium with ArcelorMittal Orbit on the right, see in original size.
Greenwich University
Pic. 27 The Greenwich University.
Canary2
Pic. 28. The Shard’s shadow casting on Thames and Canary Wharf beyond, see in original size.
St Paul Cathedral
Pic. 29 The St. Paul Cathedral seen from The Shard.
Skyline
Pic. 30 The north bank skyline seen from The Shard, see in original size.
Jajo
Pic. 31 The Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street), The Gherkin (30st St. Mary’s Axe) and 122 Leadenhall Street skyscraper seen from The Shard, see in original size.
Monument
Pic. 32 The Monument seen from The Shard.
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Pic. 33 The Stratford panorama with Olympic Stadium.
Tower Bridge
Pic. 34 The Greater London panorama with Tower Bridge, City Hall and Canary Wharf beyond, see in original size.
Tower Bridge2
Pic. 35 The Tower Bridge and City Hall seen from The Shard, see in original size.
London Castle
Pic. 36 The London Castle seen from The Shard.
Crystal Palace
Pic. 37 The Alexandra Palace seen from The Shard, see in oroginal size.
water tower
Pic. 38 View on Shooters Hill with old water tower, see in original image.

I tried to avoid making pictures directly below the sun, because of the glass reflecting the light. It was hard to make a clear pictures in this conditions, though I couldn’t stop due to amazing view.

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Pic. 39. London Eye seen from The Shard. Unfortunately the solar rays interrupted in making a good picture, see in original size.

It was funny to see another visitors on the opposite side of Thames River – on the Sky Garden located at the top of Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) skyscraper. I have been there also and apply more info soon.

Walkie Talkie
Pic. 40 The Sky Garden located at the top of Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) on the opposite side of Thames river, see in original size.

I can recommend everyone to visit The Shard. You can experience the bird-eye view of central London and see a whole Greater London literally from one place!

Mariusz Krukar

Links:

The Shard – Live view towards north-west, refresh every 5 mins.

The Shard – Live view towards east, refresh every 5 mins.

The Shard – offical site

The Shard.com main page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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