The View from The Shard – part 2 – Trip to the Top

The lifts comfortably fit 10-12 people and on my preview day each lift was full – but not uncomfotably so. Each lift has an attendant who is very happy to explain about the experience and to discuss what will happen when the lift arrives at it’s destination.

The lifts have panels in the ceiling which display images to keep your attention in the short journey from the ground to the 33rd floor.

The video roof of the lift helps you pass the few moments on the way to 33

At the 33rd Floor you change lift, and as the door opened we were welcomed by a member of staff to the lift lobby – decorated with facts and quotes about London on the floor, walls and ceiling. There is a waiting area there but we had not waiting time.

The second lift has the same panels in the ceiling. In no time we arrived at our destination – Floor 68

On exiting the lift another member of staff directed us up a short set of stairs to the viewing gallery.
My first sight was a spectacular view of South West London – looking towards Vauxhall:
Firts View, South London - in the snow

Even on a cloudy day the viewing gallery had a light and airy feel – large multi-floor windows opened up the sky to us:
Internal views

Walking around the full 360 degree view, it felt that the gallery had been thought about for a visitor standpoint. Jagged glass wall extended your view out over the streets of London – Mary Poppins would have been envious – able to look at dozens of sights at the same time.

A view down towards the train tracks heading in to London Bridge, shows bright orange railway workers walking in the snow:

The building extends beyond the viewing gallery – creating an inside whilst outside feel:

The viewing gallery windows extend over several floors:
View of viewing gallery from stairways up to 72

The view to the East, with the Tower Blocks of Canary Wharf in the distance:

The Tower of London – dwarfed by the The Shard:

Dotted around the gallery are series of digital viewers, operated by visitors:
Viewing Unit

The enable the visitor to point the viewer in the direction of a point of interest using the big screen in the centre. As you move the view around it identifies what building is being displayed:
Live display - showing London Bridge and City Hall. The system automatically marks locations it 'knows'
You can switch the viewer to show you what the view would look like on a sunny day (or at night):
Stored image from viewer
The actual view from the window was: (Showing Tower Bridge and City Hall)
Actual view from Window

The floor was wood, but the walls were decorated in a lovely coloured wood which made the area feel very calm, natural and modern:

How brave was I?
Well the wall does extend right up to the window glass so it is possible to stand right above the streets below and look down:
You can stand right up to the edge.

Aircraft landing at London City Airport come close to The Shard:

Tomorrow – Part 3 – Outside at the Tip Top


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