If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, or follow my Instagram feed, you will know that I have something of an obsession with the latest – and the tallest ever – skyscraper to adorn the London skyline. You can imagine how
overexcited delighted I was when I received an invitation to a pre-opening ‘View from The Shard’.
But as I walked from London Bridge tube station past the tallest building in Western Europe to the office this morning, on the day of the viewing, the weather didn’t seem to be suitable at all. I couldn’t even see the top of the Shard.
Luckily when I walked back towards London Bridge Station some eight hours later, the darkening skies were clear. I found the entrance with the help of some friendly men in fluorescent jackets (builders) and was welcomed to a waiting area. Then it was time for the (now) compulsory security check which was followed by a photographic session. I found out later this is a way to fleece you after the visit. The picture is turned into a tourist shot with London skyline in the background which will cost you £15-£20. Oh well, it is a tourist attraction after all.
|Just to prove it was the 68th floor…|
Only a few steps up and there it was – London at my feet.
It was fully dark now and the lights of all the famous buildings were twinkling. The first thing that I noticed was The London Eye, shining blue in the distance. Moving along the windows which cover all the walls, I saw The Tower Bridge, looking like a little Lego model from nearly 300 metres up. Thames with a barge going along it looked dark and fairy-like. Trains and cars were mere toys. It was just breathtaking.
|I was a happy bunny…|
|On the way up to the topmost floor you can see London afresh.|
But there was more to come: on the next – and top floor – where the shard-shaped roof (hence the name) is open to the elements, you really get the sense that you are up in the skies. I know there have been much criticism on the luxury aspect (and the source of its funding) of this building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, but it really is a very impressive project. I could have stayed up there all evening, admiring the amazing roof. When the friendly guide told me events could be organised on this floor with canapes and champagne, my mind went into overdrive. Now who could I convince to have a party at The Shard and invite me?
|The uppermost floor is open to the elements.|
|The view up to the jagged roof.|
|Another corner of the Shard.|
Finally, I had to check out the best loo in London. What a view!
|A loo with a view.|