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 a one-day trip to visit a few less-visited spots and round off our day on The Shard building in the evening. My fiancee’s plan stated, that we would 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 in height. The Shard is one of the most prominent skyscrapers in London. Learn more here.
We came to The Shard just before 5 p.m. That day in London was quite nervous, because of my broken phone, which made a difficult o navigate our route properly. We had an admission at 5 p.m. We couldn’t enter the building when late.
The highest floor on The Shard, accessible for visitors is 72th. It allows 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 to the 70th floor and go upstairs for the next 2 floors. There is a bar and other facilities on the very top.
Visiting The Shard was the best part of that trip. I very much like panoramic views from highly located places like mountain tops or skyscrapers. It was one of the best experiences to see remote places from the top of The Shard. I saw e.g. Stokenchurch BT Tower, Southend at Sea, and Stansted Airport. To identify some other places, I used the Heywhatsthat website, where I generated the panorama according to my position.
The Shard is a very high building, however, it rises above the London basin, which is around 150m-250m deep against the surrounding area from the north and south. The northwest horizon is determined by Chiltern Hills, which stretches from more or less from the Reading area through south Oxfordshire (Stokenchurch) to Bucks & Herts with the highest wale-looking Coombe Hill, which rises above Wendover. One prominent object, which can be seen (under fair weather conditions) beyond the Chiltern Hills is the Didcot powerplant chimney as high as 250m.a.g.l. in an 80 km distance (Pic. 7).
From the north, you can see also the hills, that enclose the horizon far beyond, however, they are not officially called. Chiltern Hills terminates on the Dunstable Downs. Towards the north, you can see a multitude of hills partially free of forest. The most remarkable place, covered by the Shard by myself is Stansted Airport.
I am not well with the Suffolk area, although I could see some hills far away, that I can classify as the Suffolk region.
In my opinion, the most interesting part of the horizon is east, where everyone can spot the Thames Estuary with the 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 visited 2 weeks earlier. There is the longest pier in the World, which was hard to cover by myself from the top of the Shard.
The Southeast part of the horizon is occupied by North Downs hills. There are twin highlands with South Downs, protected by national parks. The highlands, which consist of South Downs National Park are to be seen on the southern horizon.
Most of those pictures have been captured with Nikkor 300mm lenses. I can admit, that the conditions were very favorable that day. It freed 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 than you would be able to see.
I tried to avoid making pictures directly below the sun, because of the glass reflecting the light. It was hard to make clear pictures in these conditions, though I couldn’t stop due to the amazing view.
It was funny to see other visitors on the opposite side of the Thames River – on the Sky Garden located at the top of the Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) skyscraper. I have been there also and apply for more info soon.
I can recommend everyone to visit The Shard. You can experience the bird-eye view of central London and see the whole of Greater London literally from one place!