Price:£24.95 pp (Correct as of 21/08/2013)
[error]Highest Point in London Town…[/error]
BT Tower used to be one of the tallest structures in London with a viewing platform, until it was closed to the public in the 1980’s for security reasons. Not only did it have a public viewing gallery, but a revolving restaurant, the only one ever in London.
The BT tower was only suppose to be 111 metres tall, but with the additional sections and aerials, it topped out at 191 metres with its aerials. It used microwave dishes to send telecommunications signals to places like London Air Traffic Control Centre. It was the tallest in London town, until the Natwest Tower was completed in 1980.
Every city around the worls wants the tallest building, at one point in London, it was Canary Wharf, then along came the Shard.
The Shard’s construction started in March 2009 and completed in November 2012. It has 72 floors, with a fantastic viewing gallery and open air observation deck at the impressive height of 244.3 metres, for those still in imperial measurements thats 802ft!
Designed by Renzo Piano it was developed by Sellar Property Group, with this company part owning the whole complex with the State of Qatar. The viewing deck is privately owed and when booking tickets, it can be quite difficult to get the times you want.
I love high places, I try and get up every tall building or structure I can around the world, from the TV Tower in Berlin to Hancock Tower in Chicago.
I pre-booked the tickets via their website. There was 4 of us in total going up and I paid just under £100 for all of us. I booked the time of 6pm, it would still be light and we could watch the sun setting over the city.
When you first go in, you go through security and have your photo taken on a green screen, this is normal for a tourist attraction. The lift takes you up to the first section, the internal viewing area. It was lovely to see London, with people as big as ants and the cars (slowly) moving in the London traffic. More amzingly the planes that were lining up to Heathrow airport, felt so big and close. It was scary.
After spending a good 15 minutes on this level, we ventured to the top. The outside viewing platform was noisy, listening to the hum of London day to day life! The horns blaring, the planes overhead the general tinitus that is London.
The outside viewing platform was great, and as per my previous comment, the sun setting over London was quite special. We eventually made our way back down to the shop.
Within the shop, they let us view our photographs. It has got to be the most expensive tourist photograph ever at £50! However, that was the only poor bit of the experience.
Book early, especially at the weekend. Time slots get taken up really quickly! You can also buy packages that include meals within the Shard. If you want some luxury shops to look at, then have a look in the Shard Arcade. The Shard is easy to get to, we headed for London Bridge train station from St Pancras and walked the rest. Uber is available in London, just don’t request one in front of the Black Cab’s!
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Easy on this section, you want to get yourself a good Camera. Something like the Panasonic Lumix with the 30x Optical Zoom. These can be picked up from Currys/PC World for around £259 and it even tags the GPS location. Also, someone to share the experience with! I took my beautiful girlfriend and my two good friends. Fantastic experience