I don’t even want to tell you when I visited The Shard, so instead I’ll say this post is long-overdue.
Lucky for me, this content is evergreen. Phew.
Anyhow, I was lucky enough to visit The Shard with a group of Google Local Londoners in exchange for writing several new reviews*. We got there for the 9am opening slot on a Saturday, which sounds terrible (who wants to be arriving anywhere at 9am on a Saturday? Unless it’s returning home to your bed, of course.) but it was actually a great idea because the gallery was empty. Hello, plenty of room to move about, talk, laugh, be silly and get right up to the windows without having to wait for someone to move or feel like you are disrupting someone else’s visit. So, excellent idea that 9am entry; the gallery was filling up by 10am.
SPOILER ALERT: The View from the Shard is seriously high up (I know, it’s a given…) so if you’re like me you’re really going to struggle with the heights. But it’s worth it. Oh man, it’s totally worth it. (Ok, so maybe this isn’t a spoiler – I just wanted you to pay attention!)
The views here are (obviously) breath-taking, and you can clearly see all the major landmarks. (If you’re in London for a long layover, might I suggest this and then a visit to the pub to save time and money on visiting each attraction individually?) My favourite part was seeing just how large London is, just how much it sprawls, with a clear idea of which areas used to be separate villages, towns, etc. and then merged together.
After that my favourite part was searching for where I work and where I live. Then where my friends work and where they live. Then where I catch the bus and the journey it takes. Essentially, I turned this visit into a giant Google Map where you take a look on the satellite view and see how much you can recognise. (If you haven’t done this, I highly recommend it as a fun-yet-educational way of killing time.)
It should go without saying that The View from the Shard is perfect for tourists. However, I argue that anyone who lives in London will enjoy it so much more because you’ll have a personal relationship with the city, and views from this height truly rekindles any London flames that might be burning low.
You can book tickets to The View from the Shard online here, and I suggest booking well in advance. (Top tip: if you wish for sunny weather when you book it may just happen! Proof: look at my pictures above.)
*This scheme is genius. Just create a Google Plus account and then get involved with the Google Local London community. They invite you to events and you get to go if you write enough new reviews. These reviews then show up in Google searches, which makes life better for everyone who uses Google to find restaurants, shops, etc. I’ve yet to find a downside.