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 will 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 height. The Shard is one of the most prominent skyscrapers in London. Learn more here.
We came to The Shard just before 5pm. That day in London was quite nervous, because of my broken phone, that made a difficult o navigate our route properly. We had an admission at 5pm. 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 into the 70th floor and go upstairs for the next 2 floors. There is the bar and other facilities on the very top.
Visiting The Shard was the best part of that trip. I very like panoramic views from high located places like mountain top or skyscrapers. It was one of the best experience to see remote places from the top of The Shard. I saw e.g Stokenchurch BT Tower, Southend at Sea and Stansted Airport. To identification some other places, I used the Heywhatsthat website, where I have 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 surrounding area from the north and south. The north-west horizon is determined by Chiltern Hills, that stretches from more or less from Reading area through the south Oxfordshire (Stokenchurch) to Bucks & Herts with the highest wale-looking Coombe Hill, that 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 that hills, that encloses the horizon far beyond, however, there 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 from the Shard by myself is Stansted Airport.
I am not well with Suffolk area, although I could see some hills far away, that I can classify to 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 have visited 2 weeks earlier. There is the longest pier in the World, that was hard to cover by myself from the top of the Shard.
Southeast part of the horizon is occupied by North Downs hills. There are twin highlands with South Downs, protected by national park. The highlands, that 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 favourable 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, that 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 an amazing view.
It was funny to see other visitors on the opposite side of Thames River – on the Sky Garden located at the top of Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) skyscraper. I have been there also and apply more info soon.
I can recommend everyone to visit The Shard. You can experience the bird-eye view of central London and see a whole Greater London literally from one place!