Yesterday I finally took advantage of my Christmas present from my mum and went to the Shard with my dad and step mum. I remember mum asking me if I was interested in the Shard and I said I was but wouldn’t likely go as the tickets were expensive so I think thats what made her think to get me the tickets in the first place.
I was a bit surprised that the security was equivalent to airport standards making you go through a metal detector and scan your bags although it’s sort of understandable in retrospect after all this is a tourist attraction and probably a likely target for terrorism like the o2 and apparently Ravensbourne.
To get to the viewing gallery you have to get two elevators up the building although at speeds of 6 meters per second it barely takes any time and their is quite a bit of history, interesting information and above your head videos to fascinate you while making your ascent to the top.
When you finally get up to the viewing gallery you have free range to look down on any part of London and there are special machines that have live feeds as well as pre-recorded sunrise, day and night view of the city. If you aim the device at a building of interest you can select it and get a brief history on it although it should be noted some buildings don’t exist in the pre-recorded demos such as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.
There are actually two floors to view from and each one has the viewing machines pointing at different parts of London. One thing I would have loved is if there was the ability to send the pictures you took with the viewing machines to your phone via bluetooth or email them to yourself as the glass while necessary does reduce the quality of pictures you can take. That being said nothing can beat seeing these view with your own eyes and it’s fun to try and find places you know unfortunately the o2 was hidden behind Canary Wharf’s big buildings but my favourite view was perhaps the one of four tall buildings all very close together including the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie.
On the second floor it is even possible to find sections where there is no glass making for perfect picture opportunities and being able to feel the cold but not too cold atmosphere that is at the 69th floor. I only just found out while doing some research on the Shard that there is actually a 72nd floor the public can visit but we didn’t know about it as there were barriers around the stairs going up so maybe it was closed or maybe we were just stupid either way the experience was amazing and definitely better than other views I have seen before.
The views from the Emirates cable cars, Millennium Wheel and the Twin Towers were no match against the ones from the Shard. Yes I went up the twin towers before 9/11, a few months before it happened interestingly and while that view was amazing and not one I can ever see again the Shard beats it by miles.